Choosing the Right Baby Gate

Choosing and using a baby gate might seem simple and easy to do, but a baby gate is a safety product, so special care must be taken when selecting and using a baby gate. Using the wrong baby gate for your needs could create safety hazards for your child.

Choose the Correct Gate
There are many different types of baby gates and different ones are meant for different uses. It is very important for parents and caregivers to select the correct gate for their needs. Before choosing a gate, measure the area that you intend to use the gate on. This will help prevent any unexpected surprises when it’s time to install the gate. Always read the information on the box before selecting a gate to help you determine if that gate is right for your needs.

Stair-Specific Gates
Never use a baby gate at the top of the stairs unless the gates instructions specifically say that the gate is suitable to be used at the top of the stairs. Using the wrong type of gate at the top of the stairs could cause your child to fall down the stairs and may even lead to serious injury. Gates located at the top of the stairs should always be hardware-mounted gates and should never be held in place by pressure.

Check Your Gate’s Age & Model
Preferably, you should buy a new baby gate rather than a used one in order to make sure the gate is compliant with all current safety standards. Many older gates do not meet safety standards and could pose a risk to your child. If you do choose to use an older or second-hand gate, make sure you find out the brand and model of the gate and look to see if it’s been recalled.

Check Your Child’s Height
A baby gate should never be less than 3/4 of your child’s height. If the gate is less than 3/4 of the child’s height, they may be able to climb over it. Even worse, the child could attempt to climb over it and injure themselves.

Bars and Slats
Bars and slats on the gate should be vertical. If the bars or slats are horizontal, the child could be able to use the bars slats to climb over the gate. These bars or slats should also be no more than three inches apart to prevent the child from getting their head or other body parts stuck between the bars or slats. Gates with less than two inches are even better because the child will be unable to put their foot between the bars or slats to stand on the gate.

Baby gates are usually made of wood, metal or plastic. Wood and metal gates seem to last the longest. Should you choose a wood gate, be sure to select one with a splinter free finish.

Gate Corners
When selecting a baby gate, regardless of whether it’s metal or wood, choose a gate with rounded, smooth corners. This will help prevent injuries from sharp, pointed corners should your child run into the gate.

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