Any Recommendations for Safety Gates

Updated on September 15, 2006
T. asks from Naperville, IL
10 answers

I have a ten month old baby girl and she will be crawling around a lot faster - any day now. I live in a split level home and wondering if anyone has recommendations for safety gates. Which are the best? Do you put them at the top and bottom of each staircase?

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful advice regarding safety gates. Since my husband travels a lot - I decided to go with the advice to obtain the free in-home safety evaluation (www.protectiveparentschildproofing.com or 630/516-0985). They came out right away (this Monday) and they are installing the gates this Friday (before my husband returns from his work trip). He will be thrilled. They were very thorough and were not pushy or "trying to sell" anything. They just provided a review of the home, safety issues to consider, and then shared their catalog with prices (two prices for each item, you could either get the item at the uninstalled price or the installed price). I compared their prices to retail stores and they were very competitive. Thanks for all the great recommendations. I am glad I called them because our stair rails are not even and my husband would have spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to install them (assuming we would have bought the right type that would fit our stairs). Thanks again to everyone!

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J.C.

answers from Chicago on

We have The First Years Hands-Free gate and love it. I have had it since my daughter was little. She was not able to work the gate until she was about 3 1/2. My 16 month old stands on the petal, but it will not open for him.

2 moms found this helpful

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N.L.

answers from Chicago on

We have a tri level house, and we installed the wooden Evenflo gate at the top of the stairs. It is sturdy, and can open and close. You will need to drill into your wall, but at least I know my daughter is safe and can't open it.

5 moms found this helpful
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C.

answers from Chicago on

I have a split level, too. I got the Hearth Gate from One Step Ahead (onestepahead.com). It is wonderful! It's big enough to block off both the stairs going up, and the stairs going to down to the 1st level....If you want, I can take a picture and send it to you, so you can see what I mean. It's hard to picture. The gate is SOOOOO durable...black iron. It was a great solution. email me at [email protected]____.com if you would like me to send you a picture of how it blocks both staircases off.

And as far as teaching your child to go down the stairs, yes, that's important too....but no gates at all??? Then the other poster must not have a wild child who could fall down the stairs because he's too young to pay attention, lose his balance, or accidentally fall down. Crazy if you ask me.

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S.

answers from Chicago on

I live in a tri-level and have never used the gates. I instead taught my 4 children how to go down the steps as soon as they could crawl. They slid down the steps on their bellies - feet first. I only had one child fall on the stairs and they were on the last step. My thoughts on this was that there are not going to be gates everywhere and this way they are safe where ever they go. My kids, not 10,8,7 and 3 still go down the stairs on their bellies every now and then. I know that alot of moms will probably think that I am crazy or cruel, but my philosophy was to teach them a safe way of handling the situation themselves and not relying on a "safety" device.

Good Luck!

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C.

answers from Chicago on

I really like the first years baby gates. I too really like the hands free one with the pedal, but word of caution...it didn't fit our staircase. But it does work really well in the doorway. We've used it in the doorway to the basement, and now we use it in the doorway to our 2 year old's room, so he can see out, but not get out. For the stairs, my favorites are the clear pane first years one for the top of the stairs. You do need to install it by drilling into the wall, but I wouldn't trust a pressure mounted gate for the top of the stairs. If the child figures out how to loosen the pressure mounted gate, they could both tumble down. So I really like that one for the top of the stairs. My favorite for the bottom of the stairs is either that same one or the pressure mounted swing open door gate made by Evenflo. That is the one we use at the bottom. Though I'm convinced that pressure mounted and drilling holes to install do about the same damage to the wall since the pressure mounted has indented the wall leaving marks. Hope that helps.
C.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.

answers from Chicago on

Hi T.,

Here's few things that might help you. Make sure the gate you get for the top of your stairway is a wall mounted gate. Pressure gates (great for the bottom of stairs or a doorway) are nice but not nearly close to being safe at the top of a stairway. Here's a site that offers great child safety tips www.iafcs.com, they may also be able to recommend a good gate. Also, the gate you use should be JPMA certified (www.jpma.com).

Best wishes.

C.

1 mom found this helpful
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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

We have the First Years Hand-free gate and I love it. It is easy to open and the kids cannot open the gate with the pedal.

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A.S.

answers from Chicago on

T.,
Call Safety Matters. They are in Highland Park, I think. They will point out everything, possibly free of charge. Then you have the option of buying things from them and either installing the items yourself or having them do it.
There are many types of gates out there. If you get the wrong one, it could be dangerous. For us, Safety Matters' charges have been worth every penny. I was never going to learn everything I needed to know from reading books.
Amy

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M.B.

answers from Chicago on

I used to live in a 3level home and used gates on top and bottom of stairs. it is important that the ones on top are sturdier. on top we uses metal ones, don't remember the name and on bottom a cheaper kind of wooden harmonica from safety1st. both bought at target and installed by my husband. this is the cheapest way to go.

further, as one other mom suggested I would learn her to use the stairs safely just in case you forget to close it or she is able to open it herself for whatever reason but i would also use the gates. At this age you can't rely on them that they will use the stairs the way you taught them. my son is 2,5 now and can use the stairs safely by himself from 1,5 years.

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L.T.

answers from Chicago on

You would need to put gates at the top and bottom of the stairs for a split level home. I had a child safety company come out who sells products for retail and offer installation. Protective Parents Childproofing out of Villa Park. They will give you a free in-home safety evaluation. www.protectiveparentschildproofing.com or 630/516-0985.

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