Every parent will agree with the fact that a child’s safety and protection is the priority number one in their life. However, even if you feel your home is the best place to protect your baby from any danger. It all can change when your newborn starts exploring the world around. At this point getting a child safety gates or fences can make your home a safe environment for your little one to grow.
An adequately secured child fence or gates is one of the top choices while babyproofing. It can give you peace of mind allowing you not to stand by your baby 24/7. It can also help to strengthen a kid’s muscles if he or she is in a phase of pulling himself/herself up to a standing position. The vital thing to know is that child safety gates are usually suitable for children between 6 months and 2 years of age. Once your child learns how to escape it (open it or climb over it) – it should no longer be used as a safety device. The other safety recommendation is to get the right type of safety gates for each location in your home. By installing them, you also need to consider a secure gate lock system. So that your kid could not open it, height/length proportions and the material. You should make sure a gate is at least three-fourths of your child’s height and avoid any additional entrapment hazards. Growing kids are curious and so they can quickly put their fingers into the fence. Or try to stick their heads between a gate bars. They can also lick, chew or scratch the isolation. So you need to make sure your gates or fence can survive it and, most important, don’t harm your baby.
Primary considerations when choosing a baby gate
When selecting a baby gate for your home, you need to consider these main factors to make the best decision.
Where is the gate for?
It is crucial to find the ideal place for your baby gates in your home. You need to be aware that not all of them are suitable for different areas. So, there are two main types of gates to serve your needs – pressure-mounted and hardware mounted gates. Generally speaking, pressure-mounted gates work best for doorways, hallways and as temporary gates. It’s also the right choice for anybody, who doesn’t want to damage their walls by screwing them. Hardware mounted gates can be used in dangerous places. For example at the top of the stairs where you need extra protection. It’s an ideal option to make sure they will stick to the initial position. Here I give you a couple of examples that you need to know about installing gates in different home locations.
- Standard Spaces. While babyproofing your living room, bedroom or other living areas you need to make sure any sharp and fragile items are kept out of reach for your kid. For situations like this, you can choose portable and easy to fold baby fences and pressure-mounted gates.
- Wide Spaces. If you need to block off a section of a room or between rooms, or you do have an extra-wide hallway, you will have to take care of an extra-wide baby gate. Make sure to measure the space before you purchase a barrier because most of them are designed to extend to around 4 feet width (1,2 meters). Other than that, some of the hardware-mounted baby gates can be accompanied by individual extenders to add to their width.
- Staircase Spaces. One of the babies initial instinct is to climb. And they are especially attracted to the stairways. This is why you need to block access by putting gates at the top and bottom of a staircase. If you can’t have them both, install it by prioritizing the area where they spend most of their time. You also want to make sure it’s as secure as possible. So the best solution here can be hardware-mounted gates with a walk-through gate option.
- Narrow Space. If you have a tight entrance to the room or a small hallway where you want to install baby safety gates. You need to look for expandable ones. Scalable design is coupled with pressure- mounted gates so this can be your best option.
- No Walls. Modern houses are usually now built with a lot of space. You might be wondering how to limit your baby access to certain areas if there are no walls to install the gates to. For large openings, you can choose an open-ended accordion fold gate, which is expandable and portable. You can form the exact form of barrier and be sure your baby is safe within these gates limits.
- Sliding Doors. It’s not so easy to protect sliding doors, especially if those are the entry to the outside world. Yet one of the solutions can be getting a gate that has multiple panels. It can be fixed on both sides of the door frame and create a bay window shaped barrier. Besides, you can find many different child safety locks to install on the doors. But in this case, you won’t be able to keep the balcony or terrace doors wide open
Do you have a pet?
If you are a pet owner, you need to consider your pet’s movement options before installing baby safety gates in your home. What is best for your baby can’t be a real struggle for the cat or dog you keep inside and vice versa.
- Climbers & Jumping Dogs. If you have a dog that can jump or climb, you need a baby gate with a bit of extra height. Another detail is to make sure your gates are physically strong to hold the pressure when your dog tries to get it trough. Finally, your dog needs some training to understand he can’t go further if you don’t let him.
- Let Your Cat Through. One of the best options for the cats is a pet door. In most cases, they are more flexible than dogs and can find their way to bypass the obstacle. But if they can’t squeeze through the gate bars, push the swing gates doors or are just unwilling to jump over, go ahead and consider a pet door. Note that pet doors are only available in swing gates.
Sooner or later sitting at home with your baby born can get overwhelming. And you might want to change the place for a couple of days. A lot of parents are traveling with their kids from a very early age. However, traveling with babies can be stressful for both parents and infants. So if you want to skip the worrying part, think about light portable travel gates. They are usually made out of mesh or soft fabric and are easy to carry around. They also do not have a door, so you will have to step over it, which is pretty common to all portable gates. Check pressure-mounted gates or barriers – they can really help you here.
Do you need a gate for outdoor use?
Not all gates are suitable for outside. You need to pay attention to its material so that they couldn’t rot or rust. Secondly, you can check for special play yards, barriers and deck netting that are great for ensuring your baby’s safety while playing outside.
Easy to use?
Baby safety gates are supposed to keep your baby safe but don’t have to be a tough task for you to go through.
- Hands-Free Baby Gate. This kind of gate is designed to let you open a gate either with one hand or with no hands at all. The best option is to choose a gate with a foot pedal as you need to press on the pedal and walk through. Then there are dual swings and self-closing gates to let you pass through easily and make sure they are closing after you.
- How Does it Look? After choosing the safest and the most suitable baby gates type for your home, you can start thinking about the look. Baby gates or fences come in a wide range of colors and materials depending on your needs and taste. The manufacturers do not only offer traditional metal or wood but also mesh or plastic.
Types of baby gates
Let’s dive in the world of the baby gates and find out the pros and cons of each of them. Here are the main baby gates types.
Swing gates are also known as side opening gates and are one of the most popular baby safety gates. They can be set up to open one or both ways.
- Swing gates are available with hardware mounts or pressure fit
- Comes in different materials (metal, plastic or wood)
- Provides one hand operation – easy walkthrough
- Installed in narrow spaces can block the entrance
- Usually comes with a tight doorway space
- If it swings both ways – can be locked up
Also known as expandable gates and work in a similar way to a roller blind. Best works for those who don’t want to keep a specific area always closed.
- Can be used in different spaces in your home – doorway, stairway, or hallway
- Can fit non-standard openings as you can control the length
- Easy installation
- It coils up and fits nicely against the wall
- No easy to walk through
- Has some safety limitations – lack of strength
Pressure-fit stair gates
Gates are held in place by pressure pads at each of the four corners and usually installed in a doorway. They can be made from both wood or metal and are quite easy to install as you don’t need to drill your walls.
- Easy to install – no drilling or screwing
- Portable – easy to change the location
- It can include extra features such as alarms to signal that they haven’t been shut.
- Suitable for staircase protection
- Optional swinging setting and other extensions
- Potential trip hazard
- Not recommended to use at the top of the stairs
- Not very stylish
Screw-fit stair gates
These are also called hardware-mounted gates and are fixed to the wall with metal screws. Usually, they tend to be chosen for their capability to withstand physical pressure.
- Durability: very robust and strong
- No trip hazard
- Extra protection for more substantial or bigger dogs
- Leaves holes behind once they’re removed
- Not portable
Mesh safety roller gates
The key feature of these gates is a soft fabric or mesh they are being made of. As they are built in the same pattern as retractable gates, they can be easily retracted when not in use.
- Can be suitable for wide openings
- Good looking design
- They can tuck away to become barely noticeable
- Because of the material softness, it is almost impossible for your kid to get injured when bumped
- They need to be screwed into the wall
- More expensive than standard gates options
- It can often get dirty as it features a mesh/fabric panel
- Easier to wear out
Wooden stair gates
If you have a house with a wood interior at your home, you might want to consider getting wooden stair gates to match the decor. They can be either screw-fit or pressure-fit.
- Aesthetic look.
- Wood is cheaper than fabric when used for expandable or retractable baby gates.
- Might be safer than metal if you are afraid of bruises when baby knocks ahead into it.
- Provides a strength against leaning
- Not foldable
- Not easy portable or suitable for traveling
Travel safety gates
These gates are designed to be light and easy to carry on. Usually, they are made of mesh, plastic or a combination of both.
- Foldable and small.
- Light to carry or be transported.
- No difficult installation required.
- No easy walk-through (need to hold up and put down every time you go through them).
- Lack of safety features.
- Can’t resist pets invasion.
Alternatives for baby gates
The list of baby safety gates and fences can be continued adding a few more options. That is popular for people looking for a simpler and lower budget solution.
One of them is a stair barrier which is specifically designed to protect your kid (or your pet) from getting through. Stair Barrier’s gates do not need two flat surfaces for installation. Also can come with of all shapes and sizes banisters.
There also ones called fabric gates which are made from elastic and soft fabric. When strained well they can serve as good as stair gates while blocking the entrance through the door or staircase. You can also choose any color or ornaments by making to look more attractive.
Another surprising alternative came to me very unexpectedly – I saw it on Pinterest (the land of craftsmen). People tend to use curtains rods as baby safety gates! They just simply put a curtain or other fabric on shower curtain rods and place them on the staircase. Amazing solution! Sadly, it doesn’t provide much safety – just a barrier from going through.
Baby play fences
Baby play fences can be handy if you don’t want to invest in baby safety gates. Which often requires some adjustments in your house, but you still want to keep your child in a safe restricted zone. They come in different styles and shapes and are easy to assemble and move around. It can also be used to protect your kid from sharp furniture edges, fragile items or falling objects. In addition, while choosing indoor play fences make sure it’ has all the safety requirements – primarily to protect him/her from flipping it over.
Gates for dogs and puppies
Sometimes choosing the best option for both your kid and your dog can be difficult. Especially if your dog is young and curious – he might not understand and obey your rules regarding new home installations. That is why you need to check your options before purchasing. Bear in mind the strength and durability of the gates’ construction, the quality of the materials, and the ease installation process. There are a bunch of options suitable for dogs and friendly for kids.
When there is a newborn in your family, you not only need to adjust (or sometimes drastically change your lifestyle) but also make the entire home a safe environment for your baby to grow. Babyproofing is very important and choosing the right baby safety gates or fences can be a solution number one. I hope my insights can help you make your mind!