Do you remember the days when your baby slept in your arms or in their crib? Maybe they were content enough on a playmat or in a bouncer, and you could get on with other things.
Suddenly, they begin crawling.
Next comes pulling themselves up on furniture. Before you know it, they’re toddling around on unsteady little legs. This is when things get interesting.
There are so many hazards around the home, particularly when you consider today’s trend for open plan living. I know there were times when I wished my little ninja was stationary again.
One minute they’re playing at your feet and in the blink of an eye, gone out of the family room door. For me, using one of the best baby gates to keep my little rogue corralled in one space was a lifesaver. Here’s how you can do the same.
Choosing a Baby Gate
Once your little treasure has attained that kitten-like agility, they move across a room at the speed of light. But their explorations bring them into danger zones, such as the stairs and kitchen. Now’s the time to consider a baby gate, to keep them safely contained.
Gates placed in strategic positions should keep your young adventurer safe from hazards. You can also use them to keep your pets and toddler apart.
A baby safety gate is generally intended for children between six months and two years old. It’s no longer safe once they can climb over or open it.
Types of Baby Gates
There are several different types of baby gate; take your time shopping around so you can make an informed choice on which will best suit your needs.
1. Hardware Mounted Gates
When it comes to baby gates, these are generally the sturdiest option. They’re screwed into walls, door frames or banisters, which hold them securely in place. If you need a gate for the top of the stairs this would be the best type.
Hardware mounted gates may be more difficult to fit, though — careful, precise measurement is required. They don’t usually have a base bar, which means less chance of tripping up or stubbing your toes, both of which I’ve done, and definitely don’t recommend.
When fitting a gate at the top of the stairs, remember to make sure they open toward the landing, and not the stairs.
- Sturdy, robust option.
- Reduced trip hazard.
- Once removed, you’ll need to repair the holes left in the wood frame.
- Not portable.
2. Pressure Mounted Gates
As the name suggests, a pressure-mounted gate uses tension on each end to keep it firmly in place. These come in many different materials and widths, often with extension kits for wider spaces.
While being an easier option to fit and move around the home, or even for traveling, they do have a base bar, which poses a trip hazard.
If you want to avoid any falling accidents, pressure mounted gates are better suited to areas like the bottom of the stairs, or on level surfaces, away from any steps.
Although there’s no need to drill holes to fit this type of gate, the pressure points could still leave marks where they make contact.
- Quick and easy to install.
- Won’t leave holes behind when removed.
- The base bar could cause tripping accidents.
- Not as sturdy as the hardware option for the top of a staircase.
- Tension has to be accurate so they can’t be pushed over.
3. Freestanding Gates
These require zero fitting and can be moved around with ease. They’re great for wider openings or weird-shaped areas.
Rubber feet and wider side panels hold them in place. They aren’t as sturdy as hardware or pressure fitted gates. However, they should be heavy enough that the average toddler won’t be able to move them.
- Easy to move to spaces where they’re needed.
- Good for unconventional spaces, like kitchen islands, or wide doorways.
- Less sturdy than fixed options.
- Can be cumbersome and difficult to store when not in use.
4. Retractable Gates
These gates work on a similar principle as a roller blind. They’re fitted to one side of a wall or doorway, then extend and attach to hooks on the other side. If you don’t want a permanent fixture or have unusual angles to cover, this might be something to consider.
- Unobtrusive when not in use.
- Good for wide spaces and odd angles.
- Generally made from fabric so not as strong as other options.
Things You Need to Know Before Buying
Choosing a gate for your baby is not as simple as picking one that’s pleasing to the eye and will go with your decor. Although aesthetics might come into it, there are some other things you should think about first.
1. Where Will You Use it?
Preventing your precious little one from tumbling down the stairs requires a sturdy gate that won’t budge. A hardware-mounted gate, or one designed for the top of stairs, is your best option. You definitely don’t want this to fall down on the job.
Just need to keep baby in one area of the home, such as out of the kitchen or away from the bottom of the stairs? A pressure mounted gate works great in these situations.
Finally, a freestanding or expandable gate can be used for setting up a barrier in an instant, as and when you need it. Some can even be configured as playpens, to create a safe baby play room outdoors, or in a large family room.
2. Measure Your Gap
Gates come in many widths, ranging from narrow to extra wide. Some areas might require extension panels to be added. Carefully measure the gap where you intend to place your gate —there’s nothing more frustrating than finding your perfect gate doesn’t quite fit.
Got a small, narrow opening or awkward angle? A retractable gate might be your best option.
3. Baby and Pet Barriers
If you’re like me, and you have fur babies and a toddler who hasn’t yet got the hang of handle with care, you might have to think about how to keep little hands away from little paws.
If your pet can’t jump over the gate or squeeze through the bars, then a gate with a pet door could work for you. Just make sure it’s small enough to contain a budding contortionist so they can’t follow the family pet through. Little ones love sharing the biscuits you put down for your furry family.
4. How Tall is Your Child?
Regarding height, most safety gates are around the 30-inch mark, which should be enough to stop most kiddies up to 2 years old from climbing over. However, not all little ones grow at the same rate, and if your toddler has had a growth spurt and is above average, there are gates available which are taller.
If you happen to be tall parents, they might help you too — you won’t have to bend as much to open them.
5. Moving Your Gate Around
While the home has many potential hazards, gates at every doorway is overkill. A gate which has flexible installation allows you to move it around with you, to put where you need it at any given time.
Pressure mounted or travel gates aren’t permanently fixed, so they can be easily moved from one room to another.
Some gates come with additional mounts. You can easily unclip them from one location and place them in a different fixing point.
6. Safety Certification
This is one of the most important features you should look for. Safety standards specify the main qualities, such as height, durability, and reliability of locks.
The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) is one body which makes sure the standards set are being adhered to (1).
Looking for a gate which carries their seal of approval, which guarantees that (2):
- They’ve been made ensuring gaps cannot trap little fingers.
- Locking mechanisms will be effective and the height acceptable.
- The distance between the floor and the base of the gate will measure less than three inches — making sure baby can’t play limbo and get stuck under it.
Products manufactured outside the US may be certified by other bodies, like the CE markings in Europe. This again indicates that essential safety standards have been met (3).
7. Can You Open and Close the Gate Easily?
While putting a barrier up to contain your child is a good idea, you don’t want to be penned in as well.
Look at consumer reviews to see how easy a gate is to operate, not only by you but also by your baby. Some kiddies don’t take long to catch on to how to escape, and the last thing you need is a baby on the loose in the danger zone.
Some gates have a one-handed system which should be easy for you to manage but not for your two-year-old. Others take on a hands-free approach by using a foot pedal to unlock them.
Some swing open while others slide. There are even gates with a stay-open feature for when you need it.
Also, consider how securely they shut. There are gates with indicators to let you know they’re properly locked, while others have an auto-close function. Some need to be locked manually once you have passed through.
8. Will the Gate Match Your Decor?
We know safety comes first, but baby gates aren’t always the most attractive addition to home decor. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from, so you can channel your inner interior designer.
They can be made of wood, metal, fabric or perspex, and come in a host of colors and finishes.
The Best Baby Gate Reviews of 2020
Now you know what to look for in a baby gate, here are our favorites to suit moms in every situation. We’ve even categorized them to make your life easier.
1. North States 3-in-1 Metal Superyard
When my little one was growing up we lived in a small, two-storey home. All I had to think about was popping a gate on the doorway or the stairs. Now, it’s more common to have rooms which don’t meet the traditional criteria like my old home did — open plan, with fireplaces or islands in the kitchen for example. If this is your situation, you’ll need a very wide, adjustable gate.
I love how versatile this gate is. Panels can be removed or added to fit the space you have. Each one measures 25½ inches wide and 30 inches high, and you get six of them, which covers a total of 12 feet.
Need more width? Extra panels can be purchased and easily added to extend this even further. It’s made from heavy-duty metal, and each end can be secured with hardware mounted to a wall, keeping it steady.
The base has rubber pads which should protect your floors, meaning the only damage you have to worry about is your toddler racing his toy cars along.
A walk-through swinging door panel has a kiddie-safe double locking system. What’s really neat is the door can be placed wherever you want it within the gate.
I think this is an excellent option if you have irregularly shaped rooms, a fireplace, or you don’t want to move everything out of baby’s reach.
- Super wide and adjustable, to section off large spaces.
- Can be extended if you live in a home with big rooms.
- Doubles as a freestanding playpen.
- Additional hardware might be needed when you change the panel configuration.
- Due to the length, a strong toddler might be able to move individual panels.
2. Regalo Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate
Open plan living might mean it’s tougher to contain your lively little one. Before you have kids, studio lofts and free-form spaces are wonderful; afterward, not so much. You might be wishing you had more walls and doors to keep your toddler where you left them. If you’re looking to keep your little Usain Bolt in one place, a wide gate could be beneficial.
If your home doesn’t conform to the norm, this super wide gate could be a good choice for you. It’s also handy if you want to close off a particular area. You can use it to keep your toddler away from the fireplace or out of the kitchen, or configure it as a 19 square feet playpen.
Comprising eight 24-inch by 28-inch panels, the gate can be arranged to fit widths up to 16 feet. They can also be removed to change the length or shape if you want, and each can be locked in place.
The walk-through opening has a safety lock, easily opened by grown-ups with one touch. This should keep it fuss-free for you, and keep baby where you want them.
Wall mounts secure the gate in place when in use, and it can easily be removed whenever suits you. Considering the size, it folds away neatly , which also makes storage less of a hassle.
- Meets APSM and JPMA safety standards.
- Easy to move and reconfigure.
- Portable for visiting grandparents to use as a playpen.
- Vertical bars, with 2.25-inch spacing.
- Made from steel for strength and durability.
- The opening panel might be a bit on the small side for some.
- Removing panels has to be done in twos.
3. Richell Freestanding Pet Gate with Door
Does the thought of home improvements send shivers down your spine? Are you concerned over the wall damage that fitting a baby gate might make? Maybe you have wider door openings, as many homes do now, and a standard baby gate just won’t fit. This is where a freestanding gate could step in to save you.
Even though this happens to be a pet gate, it’s still a freestanding option which is perfect for keeping kiddies corralled.
We were loathing to install a baby gate in their home, so they bought this. It stops our mischievous little human escaping from their family room and into the kitchen. The great thing is that when baby isn’t making use of it, it also keeps their pooches out of the way.
It’s capable of fitting doorways or other openings, from 61.8 inches to 90.2 inches wide and stands 28.5 inches high. There’s a panel at either end to prevent tipping, and rubber feet to stop it damaging or sliding on floors.
The lockable walk-through gate opens in either direction. As long as you don’t open it beyond 90 degrees, it will self-close.
- Hardwood surround could match home decor.
- Can be moved and placed anywhere in the home with ease.
- Automatic locking after gate panel closes.
- It’s bulky to store when not in use.
4. Munchkin Loft Aluminum Baby Gate
While functional, baby gates don’t often win prizes for style. Generally, they’re white, beige or brown and might not match your color scheme. If you want yours to make a statement, a contemporary design could be an option.
When Munchkin designed this baby gate, they thought outside the box. It’s made from aluminum and the brushed silver finish has a really clean look to it.
Standing 30.5 inches high, it will fit stairs, doors or hallways measuring between 26.5 inches and 40 inches wide.
I particularly like how, even though the gate is hardware mounted, it has a quick release feature. If you love to host dinner parties, the quick release allows the gate to be removed and placed out of the way for the evening.
The double locking door swings either way, and opens with a handle integrated into the design.
Another favorite is that this door opens it’s full width rather than just a section. This makes it much easier to walk through, even when carrying bulky items, like a vacuum. Finally, there’s no base bar, so zero chance of tripping… unless it’s over your own feet.
- Preset index positions to adjust the width.
- Integrated tuning to adjust the fit vertically on uneven walls.
- Sleek and stylish.
- Needs two to three feet of clearance for installation above the side rails.
- Reviews suggest it can be tricky to install.
5. QDOS Crystal Baby Safety Gate
We generally think of baby gates as looking like they’re bars to keep our little humans in their baby jail. While a necessity, they aren’t always the most attractive items to place in your modern home. A clear perspex gate might be easier on the eye, while still safely keeping little ones out of trouble.
This innovative gate is made with a piece of clear, strong, commercial-grade perspex, with slate-colored sides. If you’re looking for both safety and style, this modern and contemporary gate just might fit the bill.
It can be mounted and used anywhere in the home where you need a gate measuring between 29.2 inches and 39 inches. The gate is 30 inches high and you can choose from hardware and pressure-mounted options.
Got a wider space? Extensions can be added to the pressure-mounted version, which takes it to 48 inches. This version also has a glow-strip, so you can see the base bar at night.
Both options have a magnetic lock, with an at-a-glance indicator that shows green when the gate is shut.
- Minimal damage to walls, with only four screws to mount.
- Kit available for use with banisters.
- Hardware option can be mounted at an angle.
- Little ones may not realize it’s there — so you might require a decal on the perspex to prevent accidents.
- Could harbor grubby finger marks and may need more cleaning in the long run.
6. Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Gate
Has your mini-Houdini learned how to climb out of the cot yet? The next thing you know, they’re padding along the landing and climbing into your bed. Along the way, they might have safely passed that danger zone, the staircase. A sturdy gate placed in this strategic position will make sure your little wanderer doesn’t fall down and injure themselves.
The top of the stairs is one place where you need a sturdy hardware fitted gate. This gate is excellent for most standard stairways. It measures 30 inches tall and is expandable to cover widths between 29 inches and 42 inches.
While you can raise it off the floor a further three inches, this might leave a gap, which could lead to your tiny tot launching small toys down the stairs. However, at least the vertical bars should prevent the little monkey using it as a ladder.
The easy-glide handle can be opened with one hand and has a red/green indicator lock, so you can know at a glance if it’s secured. The walk-through gate can be set to open in either direction.
This gate can be used in other places in the home as well; it will fit doorways, hallways, kitchens or playrooms.
- Four-point hardware fitting.
- Neutral gray or beige color to blend in with home decor.
- No base bar to create a trip hazard.
- Doesn’t auto-lock when closing.
7. North States Easy-Close Gate
Climbing a set of stairs might look like a great adventure for a fledgling explorer. They won’t recognize the danger in that what goes up has to come down, and could take a painful tumble. Either a pressure mounted or hardware mounted stair gate at the bottom of the stairs will create an impassable barrier and keep your wannabe Indiana Jones on terra firma.
Constructed from white painted steel, this gate pressure mounts at the base of your stairs, or in doorways. Measuring 29 inches high and from 28 inches to 38.5 inches wide, it should fit the bottom of most stairs.
What I particularly like about this gate is the hold-open feature. With my little one, I inevitably travel up and down the stairs several times a night. At least with this, you would only have to open and close one gate, not two.
The triple-locking safety system ensures it also stays closed when you want it to. Add to that a gentle push to close and auto-lock, and you have a very easy gate for adults to use.
It also opens both ways. Two different extension panels (additional purchase) take the width to either 45.5 inches or 53.5 inches.
- Easy installation.
- One-handed opening.
- Nice sturdy gate.
- Opening mechanism can take a bit of getting used to.
- Metal bar at the bottom could be a trip hazard.
8. Munchkin Auto Close Pressure Mount Baby Gate
Don’t like the idea of drilling holes into your walls, sides of door frames, or your banister? Then a pressure-mounted gate is for you. Although they may still leave marks, they can be painted over. These gates can be adjusted easily to fit the opening you intend to use them for.
At 29.5 inches tall and 29.5 inches to 37.8 inches wide, this gate will fit most doors or stairs. If not, then extensions can be purchased, extending the width to 54 inches.
The opening between the vertical bars is 2.5 inches, ensuring your little one can’t get stuck in them. After all, once penned in, you can guarantee they’ll want to escape.
Made from steel for strength and durability, the gate should be able to withstand the bashing most toddlers will throw at it.
The gate has a dual locking handle which you have to pull and then lift to open. It also has a specific type of hinge which works to close the gate automatically once you let go.
This is a nice idea for forgetful moms (myself included), ensuring you don’t leave it open by mistake and end up with a little one on the loose.
The walk-through gate on this model is nice and wide and can be set to open in either direction.
- Easily adjusted pressure fittings.
- Hardware included for fixing if you prefer that option.
- Secure locking system.
- Some moms find the auto-close mechanism is quite loud.
9. KidCo Safeway Gate
A hardware-mounted gate is a secure option, especially for places like the top of the stairs, where you wouldn’t want a gate to move. It should contain your little one on the landing and prevent nasty falls. Some of these gates allow you to remove them completely at times when they aren't in use.
While this gate is designed for staircase summits, it can also be used elsewhere in the home. It’s suitable for any opening with a width range of 25.75 inches to 42.5 inches. Fitted, the 30.5-inch gate is actually 33.5 inches high, this takes into account the height required to fit the hardware.
Usually, your hands are full when you open a baby gate, whether it’s carrying your little one, the laundry or something else. Being an octopus would be great, but failing that, this gate has an easy one-handed operation to open and close.
The hardware has a quick release feature, to take it on and off.
Another highlight is that the hinge side can be mounted at an angle. This is perfect if your walls are uneven.
- Made from steel for durability.
- Written instructions for fitting are easy to follow.
- The performance of the gate isn’t compromised by the quick-release removal feature.
- It has a pin to stop gate opening over stairs.
- Anchors aren’t included for fitting to drywall.
10. Dreambaby Auto Close Security Gate
Not all staircases are made equal; some have walls, others a wall and a banister, and there are those with two banisters. You might feel the latter isn’t strong enough to hold a baby gate, but have no fear, there are gates which can fit this situation. Pressure mounting is more than likely the best choice and causes minimal damage.
One thing I really like about these gates is the range of size options. They cover three widths, with a minimum of 28 inches, extending to a maximum of 39 inches, and the gate is 29.5 inches high.
If you do decide you want to use it somewhere else, you can buy extensions to take it up to a massive 188 inches wide. However, when it comes to banisters, the pressure mounting is quick and easy to install, with no screws to damage the wood.
With the single-handed opening and auto-close features, moving through the gate with baby in your arms should be a breeze. It also double locks, preventing even budding Einsteins from figuring out how to open it.
- Stay-open feature, when you don’t want the gate closed.
- Color options of white or black.
- The choice to fit most banister widths.
- It might take more than one person to fit properly in a wider area.
11. Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate
On the other hand, not all the spaces you might want to place a baby gate are wide. Sometimes doorways to basements or other areas of your home are narrower than most will fit. This is where a retractable gate could be your savior. It should fit any small opening to keep your little one out, or in.
This is another versatile gate, and not just for narrow spaces. It’s available in two widths, 52 inches and 72 inches, and it’s 34 inches high. Additional mounting brackets can be purchased, allowing you to move this around your home easily.
It’s made from a see-through mesh fabric which, thankfully, is washable. This might leave you wondering whether it’s strong enough to withstand the barrage of abuse from a toddler. My friend’s twins lean on it while watching her in the kitchen, and it holds up just fine.
It comes with a childproof lock that operates in an open or closed position. One-hand can be used to release the gate, which automatically rolls up.
If you own a motorhome or boat, this gate is ideal for preventing your toddler from getting into places they shouldn’t. It will also work on stairs on a deck, or across a porch.
- 100 percent made in the USA.
- Can be used with banisters via an adapter kit.
- Quick and easy to install.
- Available in three versatile colors: black, beige, and white.
- Two-step closure so you need to remember to lock it.
- Additional hardware might need to be purchased for installation.
12. Regalo Extra Tall Walk Thru Gate
Maybe you have a toddler who is taller than others, or who thinks they can climb a mountain. An extra tall baby gate will help prevent them reaching the giddy heights they might be trying to attain. It could be that you’re the tall one and find bending down to open a gate with a babe-in-arms is straining your back. An extra tall gate might be just the trick.
Capable of fitting openings between 29 inches and 38.5 inches, this gate from Regalo is an ample 41 inches high. It comes supplied with fittings for pressure or hardware mounting, and a six-inch extension kit.
I like that you can easily open the one-touch release lever without having to bend. The gate opening is, however, only 16 inches: fine for me but not so for my slightly wider partner. He has to turn sideways to get through, but this is not a deal breaker.
While some clever little mites manage to work out how to get baby gates open, because of the height, it’s unlikely a child will be able to crack this one.
- Wall protectors included for pressure mounting.
- Easy to install.
- Made from steel, making it strong and long-lasting.
- The narrow opening means having to lift items like a baby carrier over the top.
- The lower bar could cause you to trip.
13. Summer Infant Step to Open Gate
Not all baby gates are easy to open. They have release and lift fittings that sometimes require two hands to navigate. Luckily, there are gates available which use foot pedals to open them. These are designed to allow your weight to open them, but not the weight of a toddler or baby.
If you don’t have a spare hand to open this gate, it doesn’t matter. It has a dual-sided foot pedal, and even closes behind you. This makes it easy to use when carrying your little one, the groceries or the laundry.
It measures 32 inches tall and will fit openings between 30 inches and 45 inches wide. You could easily use this gate in doorways, hallways or on stairs.
Featuring a pressure mounted installation method, it’s quick and easy to fit.
Some moms find that the closure is a little too quick when passing through. Be prepared to use your butt, knee or foot, once you have released the foot pedal.
- Stylish black and silver design.
- Opening in the gate swings both ways.
- Foot pedal needs some weight to open the gate so little ones won’t be able to operate it.
- No stay-open option.
- Can be noisy when closing.
14. Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Wood Gate
A metal painted gate might not suit everyone’s taste. When you have natural wood skirtings and a hardwood floor it could look out of place. You may prefer a more traditional looking wooden gate. However, you still want it to be as durable and strong as its metal counterparts.
This gate from Summer Infant has a nice mid-color antique oak finish, so it should blend well with different wood tones.
It’s hardware mounted, giving it the strength you need when your toddler decides to take out their tantrum on it.
At 32 inches tall, it will fit any opening from 30 inches to 48 inches. The vertical wooden slats are 2.75 inches apart, making it difficult for a little one to put things through. It also has a comfort grip handle, which releases the gate with the use of only one hand.
It also comes with a handy template, to enable accurate and easy fitting without having to measure.
- Walk-through gate opens completely.
- No base bar, eliminating a trip hazard.
- Can be locked to open one way only.
- Instructions for installation can be hard to follow.
15. North States Easy Swing & Lock Gate
A safety gate can be a costly investment. There are, however, fantastic budget options on the market. They might not be as stylish or have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive versions, but they should still do the job. They keep your little one away from danger and penned in where you want them, and that’s all you really need.
A secure hardware mounted gate might not be what you’d expect from an inexpensive gate. However, this one from North States has many features you’d associate with a model at the top end of the price range.
It’s adjustable to fit widths of between 26.68 inches to 48.75 inches, and has a height of 31 inches. It comes in an attractive bronze-colored finish, which should blend in well with most decors.
The gate swing opens fully, so when you’re walking through, you won’t need to worry about what you’re carrying. It also swings closed and self-locks.
- No bar at the bottom to trip over.
- One-handed operation to open.
- Made from durable steel.
- Installation might be a little tricky.
- Attaching to a drywall will require anchors.
16. Cardinal Gates Outdoor Child Safety Gate
When the weather allows, it’s nice to get outside in the yard with the little ones. When they’re toddling and crawling, stairs on decks and patios can be hazardous places for kids. Any outdoor gate you get in this case needs to stand up to the elements.
This is a hardware-mounted gate that’s been specifically designed for outdoor use. I really like that it has been manufactured using materials which deter rust: it’s made from strong aluminum, with stainless steel hardware. A brown powder-coated finish reinforces the rust-free materials.
I found my deck was a difficult place to find a suitable gate for. Whenever I wanted to go outside to hang laundry or just sit and have some coffee, I either needed eyes in the back of my head or someone else around to watch the little one.
At 29.5 inches tall and widths between 27 inches and 42.5 inches, this gate will fit many openings. There are additional extensions of 10.5 inches or 21.75 inches, which can take it to a maximum of 64.25 inches. It can even be mounted at angles, up to 30 degrees.
The one-handed, latch-operated opening system also stops little foragers from being able to open it.
This video on the manufacturer’s website shows you how to install the gate.
- Optional one-way opening.
- Easy to install.
- Some users found the latch can be difficult to open.
- It can be hot to the touch on a sunny day.
17. Carlson Extra Wide Pet Gate
What can I say, some parents are masochists and love a house filled with animals and children. Having a gate with a pet door is a necessity when you’ve got both fur babies and human babies to manage. Once they become mobile, most little ones like nothing more than chasing your pet around and grabbing a handful of fur. A pet door fitted into a baby gate lets your furry friend escape their grasp while keeping their tormenter contained.
Standing 30 inches tall, this gate can expand to cover widths from 29 inches to 37 inches. It also includes a six-inch extension kit and is good for hallways, doors or the bottom of the stairs.
The pressure mounting is very easy to fit and requires no tools. This is also kind to your walls and door frames, with no drilling or screwing required. Wall mounts are included, should you want extra security for the installation.
Your smaller pets should be able to pass through this gate when it’s closed. There is a 10 inch by 7-inch door, which can open in either direction. However, make sure your little one can’t get through it too — a smaller crawling contortionist might be able to.
- Steel construction for durability.
- Locking feature on gate opening.
- Pet door can be opened or locked.
- Larger animals might not fit through the pet door.
18. North States Portable Traveler Gate
Going on vacation or visiting family and friends? You might still want to create a kiddie jail to contain your roving rug rat. Moms say there’s nothing worse than having to hold onto a little one when they want to explore their new surroundings. Taking a safety gate with you means you can restrict their movements.
At just four pounds in weight, with its own drawstring bag, this gate is certainly portable. It will even fit into a suitcase if you’re traveling somewhere by airplane.
It’s capable of securing a little one behind openings from 25.2 inches to 42.6 inches wide. This should cover your needs for most doorways, hallways or other spaces.
It fits via pressure mounting and generally leaves no marks, but if this is a concern, you can buy protectors. Installation is painless and, once in place, there are release mechanisms top and bottom to remove and replace it.
Full specifications, instruction manuals, and extra parts are found on the manufacturer’s website.
- It comes with tension knobs for a secure fit.
- Durable neutral-colored fabric.
- 28 inches high, to contain your little cherub.
- Fabric can bunch up if not fully extended.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Baby Gate Necessary?
It’s really a matter for you to decide. However, without a baby gate, at least at the top of the staircase, you need to watch your munchkin a lot more closely. A baby gate will give them more freedom for solo play, and give you peace of mind knowing they’re safe.
How Many Do I Need?
Again, this is a matter of choice: a pressure-mounted or portable gate could be moved around the home. If you want permanent fixtures then consider danger areas like stairs, bathrooms, kitchens, and open fires.
When Should I Start Using Them?
Once your little one starts to find their own legs, whether crawling or walking, they can quickly move out of your sight. This is generally from about 6 months onwards.
When Should I Stop Using Them?
Most baby gates are recommended for up to two years old. It depends on your individual child, but once they can open, climb over or move the gate, it’s no longer effective.
Can I Put My Baby Gate Outside on the Deck?
Indoor gates aren’t going to withstand the elements of being outdoors. They could rust and this will affect their integrity. Choose one specifically made for outdoor use.
Some Do’s and Don’ts
The International Association for Child Safety makes some recommendations for baby gates (4).
- Use a hardware-mounted gate to keep little ones contained at the top of the stairs. Make sure the gate opens over the landing.
- Make sure it’s well secured, even if this means replacing the screws which are supplied with the gate.
- Put a gate at the bottom of the stairs. Toddlers are tempted to climb them and they could fall and hurt themselves.
- Make sure the gates are closed and locked to keep intrepid explorers where they should be.
- Take care you have the right tools for the job and read the instructions. Gates can be a challenge to install. If in doubt, check the manufacturer’s website for videos to help.
- Place a pressure-mounted gate at the top of staircases. They aren’t installed permanently and could work loose, and the base bar is a trip hazard.
- Use a hinge or latch hardware installation on a banister post which is uneven or circular. Your gate might not fasten properly.
- Install your gate with a gap of more than 3 inches at the bottom. Any more can risk your cherub getting trapped underneath it.
- Be tempted to step over your baby gate; always use the opening. Children watch what we do, and your toddler might try to copy you. You could also loosen or dislodge the gate accidentally.
- Become complacent: remember your little one still needs supervision. Just because there’s a gate in place doesn’t mean they are 100 percent safe.
Closing the Gate
With so many gates to choose from, it’s quite hard to pick a favorite. They each have their merits, depending on where you want to place them and what you need from them.
My top pick as the best baby gate is the North States 3-in-1 Metal Superyard. Its hardware mounting and versatility means that it can be used just about anywhere. Easy to move or reconfigure, it also opens easily with one hand, and has a safety lock.
I really like being able to use this to create an enclosed area, where your little one can play contentedly with their toys. Once they’re safely tucked up in bed, it folds away. You can even take it with you when visiting family and friends.
We hope you found this guide to the best baby gates useful, and would love to hear your comments down below.