Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest joys, but it’s no secret that this incredible experience comes with its fair share of stress. Of course, the biggest priority for any parent is keeping their child safe, but as your baby begins to crawl and walk after the age of 6 months, this can be easier said than done.
Even within the home, structures like stairs, as well as rooms containing dangerous appliances, such as the kitchen, can pose a risk to your child’s safety. This can be a scary thought. Thankfully, there’s a simple and relatively inexpensive solution: a baby gate.
A baby gate is essentially a barrier that you can install in your home to fence off dangerous areas. It’s an easy and practical way to ensure your child’s safety and grant yourself a little extra peace of mind. If a baby gate sounds like the solution to your worries, look no further!
We’ve put together a list of the 5 best baby gates on the market, including a buyers guide and FAQ section to help you make the best choice for both yourself and your child.
In a rush? We understand that there’s no time to waste when it comes to ensuring your child’s safety. To get the best baby gate as quickly as possible, have a look at our top pick:
|Regalo Easy Step 38.5-Inch Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate, Includes 6-Inch Extension Kit, Pressure Mount...||$34.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Summer Infant Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Safety Pet and Baby Gate, 28.5'-48' Wide, 36'...||$69.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Regalo 56-Inch Extra WideSpan Walk Through Baby Gate, Includes 4-Inch, 8-Inch and 12-Inch Extension,...||$49.43||Buy on Amazon|
|Toddleroo by North States 47.85" Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate - Series 1: Ideal for Wider Areas...||$98.96||Buy on Amazon|
|Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate and Play Yard, 4-In-1, Bonus Kit, 4 Count (Pack of 1||$89.99||Buy on Amazon|
As you can see from the above reviews, a lot goes into choosing the perfect baby gate for both your own and your child’s requirements.
If you’re still not sure which baby gate is right for you, don’t worry – this buyers guide will break down everything you need to consider and help you make the right choice.
First and foremost, you’ll need to consider the measurements of your baby gate. Baby gates come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so it’s important to know that the one you’re purchasing will fit perfectly in your home.
The first step is to work out where you will be positioning your baby gate. You’ll then need to measure the width of this area so you know what size gate you’re looking for.
Height measurements are also important. The US safe height requirement for baby gates is a minimum of 22 inches, so you shouldn’t find any baby gates on the market under this height. All the same, you may wish to consider a taller gate if you feel this will protect your child more effectively and give you greater peace of mind.
Additionally, if you are using a baby gate for a slightly older child, a taller gate may be required.
Because the primary purpose of any baby gate is safety, it’s important to consider the safety features included in a gate before you purchase it. The most important safety feature you will need is a lock. It is standard for baby gates to be fitted with at least one child-safe lock, but for added security and peace of mind, you may wish to consider a baby gate with multiple safety locking features.
This way, if your child does somehow manage to open one lock themselves, they still won’t be able to exit the enclosed area.
If the idea of your baby gate swinging open over the stairs is a concern for you, a one-way opening door will alleviate your worries. Additionally, if you’re worried about the gate posing a tripping hazard, consider a gate with no threshold to reduce this risk.
The structure and material of a baby gate also contribute to its overall safety and stability. All-steel designs tend to be best for durability and sturdiness, reducing the risk of bending or breakages.
An adaptable gate can be useful if you have a variety of different sized openings in your home. Extendability also means you don’t have to scour the internet for a baby gate that matches the exact measurements of your doorway.
Many baby gates also offer the option of wall cups or hardware mounting, giving you greater flexibility in where you position your gate.
Some baby gates are even configurable into playpens, providing a safe space for your child to play in. Whatever your individual requirements, you should be able to find an adaptable gate that meets them.
Remember, if you’re choosing an adaptable gate because you want it to fit multiple openings in your home, make sure that it comes with wall cups rather than hardware mounting for easy removal and installation.
If you travel between houses a lot or plan to take your baby gate with you on vacation, you’ll need to ensure that your chosen baby gate is portable. Your best option for portability will be a free-standing baby gate that turns into a pen.
Not only do these gates offer the greatest flexibility in terms of placement, but they are also most likely to be foldable due to the segmented way in which they are designed. A free-standing gate has the added benefit of being suitable for use outside.
Before you purchase your baby gate, it’s worth checking the assembly procedure so you can ensure you have everything you need to assemble and install it (eg. tools) before it arrives.
Alternatively, if you’re in a hurry to get your baby gate set up, or don’t feel comfortable with a complex assembly procedure, you might want to consider opting for a baby gate advertised as no-tools-required or which can be installed using wall cups.
It is also important to weigh up the pros and cons of pressure mounting versus hardware mounting. Whilst hardware mounting may be the more difficult and time-consuming option when it comes to installing your baby gate, it is also often the most durable.
Pressure mounting may save time during the initial installation, but may also require adjusting occasionally, especially if your child likes to pull on or hang off the gate, causing it to shift slightly.
However, good-quality pressure mounts should not be easily dislodged, so as long as you purchase your baby gate from a reputable company, assemble carefully according to the instructions and combine your baby gate with appropriate supervision, you should not need to worry too about the gate coming away under pressure.
If your child is between the ages of 6 and 24 months, purchasing a baby gate is advisable. This is because these are the ages at which infants typically learn to crawl and walk. The toddler years are also when an infant’s curiosity begins to develop in earnest, leading them to start trying to figure out how things work and manipulate objects around them.
These are wonderful developments to watch happen in your child, but they can also lead to dangerous situations. Accidents can and do happen to anyone. A baby gate will provide you with the added peace of mind of knowing that your child’s movements can easily be restricted to a safe area when needed.
As stated above, most baby gates tend to be designed for infants between the ages of 6 and 24 months. However, it is important to remember that every child is unique, and the decision of when to install or remove a baby gate is ultimately yours to make.
If you think you may need to use your baby gate for a longer period of time, though, you should consider purchasing a taller gate, as once your child’s chin becomes level with the top of the gate, it ceases to be an effective method of protection.
You know your own home better than anyone, including where the most potentially dangerous areas are.
That being said, the most dangerous areas for young children within the home tend to be stairways, kitchens, and bathrooms, so these are the most likely areas to consider positioning your baby gate.
The primary function of a baby gate is the safety of children, so these gates tend to be designed specifically with safety in mind, and therefore, are generally safe for use. However, it is natural to be concerned about the safety of any piece of equipment your child will come into contact with, including baby gates.
In order to ensure that the baby gate you are purchasing is as safe as possible, make sure to only purchase from reputable manufacturers, such as those featured in this article. Once you’ve made your purchase, be sure to follow the assembly instructions carefully and test the strength of the locks and structure before giving your child access to it.
Whilst baby gates are primarily designed for toddlers, many people also use them to keep their pets away from certain areas of the home. Whether or not this will be suitable for you will depend on what kind of pet you own.
All except extra-tall baby gates tend to be unsuitable for larger dogs, for example, as they can easily jump over. Baby gates may also be ineffective for particularly small pets, as they may be able to slip through bars and escape.
The best way to determine whether you can use a baby gate for your pet is to consider the size and capabilities of your pet and check the measurements of the gate before purchase.