How to Choose a Baby Gate
It’s been said that in parenting, the days are long but the years are short. You’ll experience that firsthand when you turn around and the little baby you always counted on to stay in one place is suddenly across the room discovering new frontiers. Once your baby has the ability to crawl, stand, and grab, you will want to make sure your home is safe for exploration. One of the most effective pieces of baby-proofing equipment is a gate, which will keep curious toddlers away from stairs or rooms with potential dangers, such as the kitchen. Here are the things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for baby gates.
- The two main types of gates are hardware-mounted and pressure-mounted. Hardware-mounted gates are held in place with screws that are secured to the wall. Pressure-mounted gates work like a tension rod, with the gate squeezed between walls, columns, or posts.
- Pressure-mounted gates are easy to install and work well in a standard, doorway-width opening between rooms. It doesn’t take long to set them up, take them down, and move them from place to place.
- Hardware-mounted gates are more secure and should be used in places like the top of the stairs, where you’ll want to be 100 percent sure that the gate is sturdy. While a hardware-mounted gate requires more work to install, you won’t have to worry about it falling over with a strong push. That peace of mind is worth the extra effort if you live in a larger house or apartment and can’t be all places at all times.
- If you want to prevent your baby from turning the living room into an obstacle course, consider freestanding gates. These barriers can be effectively used to create a more confined space within a room. This way you can be sure that your baby is playing with her toys and not your vases.
- Look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) label. That is your assurance that the gate adheres to a high level of safety standards.
- Once the gate is installed, use it properly. For example, always walk through the gate door instead of climbing over it. Not only will this prevent you from taking a tumble, it will discourage your child from picking up on unsafe habits that she may try to mimic.
- To find out which gates are right for you, check out our detailed gate guide (coming soon).