Apart from feeding, clothing, and comfort that any mom can provide for her baby, one important factor that should never be overlooked is the issue of safety.
To be honest, one of the scariest things to hear as a mother is the news that your baby fell off the stairs, almost drowned in the pool, or crawled out of the house into the street. You might brush it off and say, “it will never happen to me”, or “I have a nanny to keep watch over my baby”.
The fact is that babies can be a handful, especially when you have so much to do. You can also get distracted while you or the nanny are keeping watch over them.
The question then becomes “How can I ensure my child’s safety while at home?”
A baby gate is your answer.
What Is a Baby Gate?
A baby gate is a protective barrier designed to prevent babies and toddlers from moving to areas of the house where they might be unsafe, such as stairways and kitchens. It is also known as a child safety gate. Additionally, a baby gate can be constructed with metal, plastic, and/or wood, which can be expanded to fit in doorway widths. Also, it can either be hardware or pressure mounted.
Why Do You Need a Baby Gate?
You need a baby gate because kids are overly active. They get into everything and everywhere out of curiosity. They also want to follow you everywhere you go, and this can be a bit overwhelming. Your babies also need protection from pets (that’s if you let pets roam around the house). Additionally, they need safety and protection during vacations. This also applies to places that cannot be termed home, such as the office (that is if your workplace lets you bring your kids to work).
What Are the Structural Factors To Consider When Choosing a Baby Gate?
The structural factors to consider when choosing a baby gate include:
1. The location of the baby gate
2. The texture and structure of walls in your house
3. The length of space you want cordoned off
The Location of the Baby Gate
Locations such as the top of the stairs or the entrance to the kitchen can be quite dangerous for your toddler to play around in. In that case, you can consider buying the hardware mounted gates.
What Are Hardware Mounted Gates?
Hardware mounted gates are baby gates that are really sturdy in nature. You are expected to screw the hardware into a stud in the wall or use anchors for the screws to make the gates stay put. They are best fitted in dangerous places of the house, such as the top of the stairs, before the fireplace, and entrance to the work shade.
You can move them and reinstall, but they will definitely leave holes in your walls or wood works. Ensure that you know where you want to fix the gates before installing them. Also, removing the installations frequently will make them really loose. As a result, they will pose a risk to your baby’s safety if you decide to put it at the top of the stairs.
What Are the Things To Consider Before Installing Hardware Mounted Gates?
Before installing hardware mounted gates, consider the following:
1. If you have baseboards at doorways in your house, make sure you thoroughly go through the installation requirements before you buy hardware mounted gates. This is to ensure that you are not forced to install the gates away from the stairway space.
2. Avoid creating a space larger than 3″ after the gate has been installed. Any space above 3″ can be hazardous as your baby can get trapped.
3. Use a level to see if you have any bumps or slopes on your floors or walls.
Armed with this information, consult your gate manufacturer to understand if you need to change your mode of installation. Never wing it because it could pose a threat to your baby’s safety in the future.
If you live in a rented apartment, reach an agreement with your Landlord. Some house owners may not be happy to see damage on their walls. However, careful explanation of your baby’s safety needs can help you both come to a compromise.
The Texture and Structure of Walls In Your House
If you have woodwork walls and you don’t want to damage them by using screws, the pressure mounted gate will be your best option.
What Are Pressure Mounted Gates?
Pressure mounted gates are temporary gates that do not require drilling. They are sturdy in nature and work best for doorways and hallways, but not top of the stairs. If you choose the less expensive gates, you will have to slide open or remove them whenever you need to pass.
The most expensive gates stay in place with a door that is within the gates for you to walk through. Another beautiful feature of the pressure mounted gates is that you can carry them while on a vacation where you need to cordon your baby off certain areas in the hotel room or resort.
What Are the Things To Consider Before Installing Pressure Mounted Gates?
Consider the following before installing pressure mounted gates:
1. Pressure mounted gates require flat surfaces across each other and cannot be mounted on an angle.
2. They cannot be mounted on a hollow wall. The pressure pads can damage the wall when so much pressure is applied on them.
3. Some pressure mounted gates come with bars at the bottom. Most parents do not like the bars because they can trip or stub their toes. This can be painful but the bars are important because they create tension between two flat surfaces. The best way out is to look for gates with low bars.
Oh, and one more thing…
While using hardware mounted gate at the top of the stairs, you can complement it with pressure mounted gates at the bottom.
The Length of Space You Want Cordoned Off
Considering the length of the room or the outdoor area (for example the swimming pool area), the extra wide baby gate will be your best buy.
The major focus of this article, however, is on the extra wide baby gates.
Majority of baby gates are designed to cover 48 inches of space length. On rare occasions, however, the location for a baby gate may be wider.
What Are Extra Wide Baby Gates?
Extra wide baby gates are baby gates that allow you to purchase extenders to add to their width. Some baby gates come with the extra width in the package. They can be swing, retractable, or just plain and can be configured as hardware mounted gates or pressure mounted gates.
Retractable Extra Wide Baby Gates
What Are Retractable Extra Wide Baby Gates?
Retractable extra wide baby gates are usually hardware mounted gates. They are mounted with brackets to door posts or posts at the head of the stairs. These brackets are nearly invisible, strong, and durable. When opening the gates, they roll into the hinge at the wall, almost the way sliding doors work. This feature makes them close to invisible. They are perfect for areas with high traffic in your house.
Some retractable extra wide baby gates need to be manually rewound, while some are easy and automated. You will not face the cumbersome stress of pushing open jammed gates when walking through because they simply roll into the bracket in the wall. They are usually strong as they are made of light metal. They are also simple and quick to install.
Swing Type Extra Wide Baby Gates
What Are Swing Extra Wide Baby Gates?
Swing extra wide baby gates are usually pressure-mounted gates and can be used for the top of the stairs. They have to be installed in such a way that they don’t swing out towards the stairs, rather they should swing back away from the stairs. This is to prevent days when you will forget to lock the gates and your baby leans on them. The best spot for swing extra wide baby gates is actually the entrance of rooms or kitchens.
Plain Type Extra Wide Baby Gates
What Are Plain Extra Wide Baby Gates?
Plain extra wide baby gates are gates that have no door option and can be taken down easily. The fixture is temporary and uses tension mounting to stay in place. They could have wooden frames and cloth-like meshes in the middle. To cross over the barrier, you are required to step over it. This is a good thing because they are usually 27-28 inches tall.
These gates are good when your little ones are around 6 to 9 months of age. They can be taken out and washed when they get dirty. However, it is not advisable to have such baby gates when there are dogs or cats in the home because they can chew them open.
Other points to note when choosing extra wide baby gates include:
- When looking for a gate, ensure that you take accurate measurements of the areas you want cordoned off. This will enable you buy a gate that is wide enough to block the space.
- For extra wide baby gates at the top of the stairs, get a hardware mounted gate that is firmly attached to the door frame. It should not have openings to trap fingers or necks.
- A spacing of not more than 1 to 2 inches should be left between the floor and the gate bottom. This is to prevent your baby from slipping out.
- Do a thorough inspection of sharp edges and pieces that can injure a toddler’s hands especially if they are made of metal and wood.
- Most importantly, ensure that the gate is not less than three-quarters of your baby’s height.
- The moment you notice that your little one can climb over a gate, take it down and replace with a higher one. Never stack two baby gates on top of each other because they can fall over your baby. But if the extra wide baby gates were manufactured with this feature, then you can stack them.
Check out these detailed articles:
- Baby Trainers: Questions Parents Ask Before Buying One
- Baby Furniture: What You Need To Know
- Baby Crib Set: What You Must Know Before Buying a Set
- Baby Safety Equipment: What Baby Needs To Stay Safe
- Baby Stroller:Why You Should Get One
- Baby Nursery Furniture: What You Need
Safety Tips on Baby Gates
Here are safety tips on baby gates:
- Some parents may decide to use dog gates as baby gates. This is not advisable for ensuring your baby’s safety.
- Never use accordion-style baby gates. They may look sturdy and traditional but the gaps give an invitation to your little ones to improve their climbing skills. If you would like to use baby gates with horizontal bars, use the ones that are 2-3 inches apart. With such gates, they cannot climb or get their heads stuck between the bars.
- It is not advisable to use old baby gates. The texture and structure of these gates would have become too weak to really provide protection for your baby.
- No matter how attractive a “do-it-yourself” baby gate sounds, never make yours. Manufacturers of these gates understand your child-safety needs and have put all these things into consideration during production.
- Ensure you employ the services of an expert in installing baby gates. It is not advisable to do installations you are not so sure of.
- Considering the fact that babies can be hyperactive, do not drop large toys and other objects within their reach. This will stop them from using those objects as support to climb over.
- Ensure you do not expose your extra wide baby gates to rainfall all the time. If they are metallic in nature, they are prone to get rusted and broken. This may become harmful to your baby later. If the gates are the wooden type, the wood may get soft and fall apart.
We won’t end this guide without telling you this – do not overly depend on the baby gate(whether normal or extra wide baby gates) for your baby’s safety. If you have your hands full with chores, consider seeking the services of a babysitter. After all, there can’t be excess safety when it comes to your little one. Right?
Phew! Was it such a long read? Well, you know what? You are the real MVP to have read this guide to this point. We trust that you have gathered enough information that will help you make the best decision while choosing your extra wide baby gates.
Remember, your child’s safety is priceless; that is all that matters.
Extra Wide Baby Gates Buyer’s Guide — Related FAQs
What Is the Widest Baby Gate Available?
Here’s a list of the widest baby gates available:
- Toddleroo by North States 198″ long extra wide baby gate, barrier, or play yard
- Regalo 192” super wide adjustable baby gate and play yard
- Toddleroo by North States 151″ long extra wide baby gate, barrier, or play yard
- Toddleroo 144″ long extra wide baby gate
- Summer metal expansion 72” wide, baby and pet gate for extra wide doorways
- Toddleroo by North States 72” wide deluxe décor baby gate
- Retract-A-Gate 72″ wide safety gate
- Evenflo 60” Wide soft gate
- Regalo 56” extra widespan walk through baby gate
- Momcozy 55” wide mesh safety gate for babies and pets
- Toddleroo by North States 47.85″ wide tall easy swing and lock gate
Are Pressure Mounted Baby Gates Safe for Top of Stairs?
Pressure mounted baby gates are not safe for top of stairs. This is due to the fact that they can fall over or collapse, especially when they are not properly secured. The gates are fixed to walls or door frames by applying pressure on the pressure pads. In addition, they are temporary gates and can be fixed without drilling holes on walls or frames.
However, you can fix your pressure mounted baby gates at the bottom of the stairs. You can also place them in doorways that separate two sections of the house having the same level of flooring.
At What Age Do You Stop Using Baby Gates?
You can stop using baby gates as soon as your baby’s chin can reach the top of the gates. You should also consider removing them when your child can safely climb down the stairs. Some children can climb down the stairs at the age of two but every child is unique. So, we cannot use age as a rule of thumb.
Furthermore, when you realize that your child can climb over the gates or has discovered how to open them, then it is time to stop using them. At that point, the aim of using baby gates will be defeated. There is a great chance that your child will sustain injuries from toppling over.
What Is the Best Retractable Baby Gate?
Here is a list of the best retractable baby gate:
- Retract-A-Gate 72″ safety gate
- Babepai Retractable 52″ extra wide baby gate for indoor and outdoor
- Gaterol Active Lite White – 55″ wide retractable safety gate
- Retractable Baby Gate 54” wide retractable gate
- Perma outdoor retractable baby gate 33″ tall, and extends to 71″ wide
- Lascal KiddyGuard Avant 48” wide retractable baby gate. It has a simple one-hand operated child proof locking mechanism, and an elegant brushed aluminum design that fits any décor.
How Do You Secure a Baby Gate to the Wall?
Here is how you can secure a baby gate to the wall:
- Carefully detach the wall fixing template and cut in half.
- Place template A on the latch side and B for the hinge side.
- Carefully mark the fixing points.
- Remove the templates and screw the fixings to the points you have marked.
- If you are fixing a gate with extension, align both sides, leaving a maximum of 58 mm gap at each end.
- Secure the panels with the screws provided.
- Add the spindles to both ends.
- Hang the gates on the hinges and adjust the spindles until they line up with the latch.
- Insert the safety-release safety cap over the top hinge to keep the gate in position.
How Should You Choose a Baby Safety Gate?
When choosing a baby safety gate, look out for the following:
- Ensure that it is certified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
- Choose a hardware-mounted gate for the top of stairs. This type of gate does not have openings that can trap your baby’s head or fingers.
- Choose a pressure-mounted gate for the bottom of stairs and doorways separating rooms on the same floor level.
- The gap between the floor and bottom of the gate should not be more than 2”. This is important as your child can slide under the gate if the gap is wide enough.
- Buy a gate that is more than ¾ of your child’s height.