Did you know that every six minutes a child in the U.S. (under age 5) is treated in the ER with a stair-related injury? During a recent study, over 90,000 children were sent to the ER each year due to stairway accidents. I’m not sharing these statistics to alarm you, but want to stress the importance of safety with young children in the house. It’s so important to take the time to properly baby-proof your home. This includes staircases, as soon as your baby is mobile. Read on for some great baby gate options to keep your child safe.
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Before we get into all the different types of gates out there, it’s important to know that not ALL of these stair-related injuries are due to babies or children falling down the stairs. Many come from caregivers falling with children, improperly installed gates, or children who are old enough to climb over gates that are in fact installed properly. Additionally, stair injuries have declined recently due to the lapse in use of baby walkers. Although ensuring gates are installed is step one – it’s also important to make sure that the safest baby gates are used in each location to ensure they aren’t actually contributing to the problem.
TOP OF THE STAIRS
At the top of the stairs, it is important to use a wall mounted baby gate versus a pressure mounted gate. Pressure mounted gates can come loose over time. Eventually, if your child tries to climb on the gate he may end up going flying down the stairs. With the gate in tow. I’m sure this isn’t what you envisioned when setting up your “safety gate.” Please make sure you’re using an appropriate gate for the top of the stairs. I’ve shown a couple of options, as well as an adapter kit you can use if you don’t want to drill into your wall or banister.
Banister Protector- EZ Fit Baby Gate Walk Through Adapter Kit for Stairs
BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS (OR ANY OTHER AREA)
We chose the North States – Easy Close Gate because of its awesome features and the price was right. It is pressure mounted and has an auto-close function. At less than $60 it is one of the more affordable gates out there, and with only one area to close off it suited our needs fantastically. To note, we didn’t have an extra wide opening or need a super tall gate, and this option won’t work for people looking for those features, but it was a great general baby gate option, with full details below. Gate is 29” high and fits openings 28”-31.5” wide. It also comes with two extenders to fit openings as wide as 38.”
- Easy to install pressure mounted gate was up in less than an hour
- Double locking system was easy for adults to maneuver and can be opened with one hand
- The latch is difficult for babies to figure out, and was very sturdy. Even with repeated shaking it never popped open
- Super affordable at less than $60
- The gate has an “easy close” feature that means it will stay open when pushed a certain amount, or will auto close behind you when you’re walking through if you don’t push it all the way open. The easy-close function doesn’t latch so you still need to fully close it, but if one parent leaves the room with hands full it does ensure that the gate isn’t left wide open in the interim
- Gate opens both ways
- You can buy additional extenders if necessary to fit a space that is even wider than 38”
- There is a “base” to the gate that you need to step over. When carrying a baby and a million other things it is just something else to watch out for
- The gate is white metal and while clean looking is clearly a safety gate. If you’re looking for something sleek or to blend in with your decor, this probably isn’t your gate
Other options for those needing a taller gate, or one that is more integrated into your home decor:
Although they won’t prevent every type of stair accident, installing baby gates at the top and bottom of your stairs (and in other non-baby proof locations) is an important step to ensuring that your house is safe for baby to grow and play. Do some research and choose the best option for your space if one isn’t listed here, and rest easier at night knowing you did what you could to protect your little one.
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