Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.

Don’t be confused by the term baby proofing – it’s as much about toddlers who are tearing around the house as it is about crawlers.  And securing your staircases and kitchen by installing a baby safety gate is the number one consideration when preventing accidents in your home.  There are many different types of baby gates out there so be sure to learn which type is best in each location.

Hardware-mounted gates are the best and most commonly used.  They are the only gates that should be used at the top of the stairs. A gate at the top of a staircase is the most critical one that you will install and must be hardware mounted. It needs to be drilled and attached to both sides of the gate location. Here are a few things to look for:

  • A gate that’s easy to use with one-handed operation.
  • A safety mechanism that prevents it from opening out over the stairs and will only allow it to open toward you.
  • A gate that automatically locks when you shut it to reduce the chance of “user error.”
  • Some of these gates are self-latching, which means you will not have to turn around to close the gate. Simply swing the gate behind you until it hits the latch, and it will lock itself.

Gates installed at the top of the stairs should have a special safety bracket or mechanism that prevents them from opening out over the stairs. Most often, stairway gates are attached with the hinged side to the wall and the latch side to the post.

The pressure-mounted walk-through gate is an extremely popular style of gate because it can be installed in a few minutes without the use of special tools. As its name implies, it adjusts to the width of the opening to tighten against two solid wall surfaces. These gates should never be used at the top of the stairs. They are generally used in low traffic areas that aren’t often entered. While they are easy to install and relatively convenient to use, these gates do have drawbacks. Each time you walk through the gate, you will need to turn around and realign it to lock it. If you have a baby or packages in your arms, this may not be easy to do. All pressure-mounted gates will loosen over time, depending upon how frequently they are used, so they need to be checked often and adjusted as necessary. Also, the bar under the portion of the gate that opens to maintain the pressure can be a tripping hazard.

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