WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT . . .
Safety gates help prevent a fall down the stairs, as well
as access to “off-limits” rooms such as home offices or adult exercise
areas. You can use them to differentiate adult from toddler areas, offering a
safe play space for your baby while protecting your valuables, too. Baby safety gates
range in size from widths of approximately 25 inches to as wide as 30 feet, and
average 30 inches in height. It's wise to install child safety gates before
your child becomes mobile. This helps prevent injuries and will also give you
time to become accustomed to using them regularly.
TYPES AND STYLES OF SAFETY GATES
Carefully examine the areas for which you need
child safety gates
to select the safest and most appropriate type for each location. The gate you
need may be determined by its location rather than how you want it to operate or
All baby safety gates are designed to be mounted between two
solid wood surfaces such as a wood framed doorway. (See our Gate Mounting Kit,
#2610 which helps solve mounting issues in other areas.) Once child gates are
installed they should always remain closed since an open gate is a safety hazard
for both toddlers and adults. Consider installing baby safety gates in areas such as front
foyers or hallways rather than on staircases as they may be easier to install
and may be more visually appealing, too.
Pressure-mounted gates are easier to install than those
that attach with hardware since they don't require tools and carpentry skills.
They expand to fit a desired opening and secure with tension. Pressure gates
tend to be inconvenient, since most must be removed and replaced each time you
enter and leave rooms. Also, since many parents climb over pressure gates,
there’s the chance of injury to adults as well as to tots who try to copy
them. Pressure gates are available to fit openings from about 28-60 inches, and
are best suited for doorways separating two rooms that are on the same level.
Basic guidelines for the use of pressure gates: Never us
them at the top of stairs, as there is always the danger of your child's weight
pushing them over. If you do use them between rooms, mount them with the locking
bar facing away from your child, and make sure they fit snugly within openings
to resist the strength of your child. Select a gate that has been designed for
use with children and not puppies. Beware of child safety gates with square openings as they
may be easy for some children to climb.
Hardware-mounted gates attach with screws to walls and
banisters. These gates usually open and close much like a door. This makes them
more convenient for areas you'll be walking through regularly. They can be
mounted between two walls, two banisters or a banister and a wall.
As with all safety equipment, child safety gates should be checked frequently for secure
fittings, mounts, latching devices and effective operation. Available in wood or
metal, hardware-mounted gates differ with respect to size, shape and overall
design and fit openings from approximately 25 to 67 inches. Most have vertical
slats to make them difficult for toddlers to climb. Although the latching
mechanisms vary, most are designed for easy adult operation.
Hardware-mounted gates are designed to be installed into a
solid wood surface. If your doorway or opening is already framed in wood you can
install the gate without any preparation. If this is not the case, you’ll have
to first install a Gate Mounting Kit (with screws or wall anchors if no stud is
available) on each side of the opening. If you are attaching the gate to a
stairway post that is not square from top to bottom you may also need to install
a Gate Mounting Kit.
Hardware-mounted walk-through gates attach with screws to
walls and banisters in the same fashion as hardware-mounted gates. With a
walk-through gate, however, only a portion of the gate or “door” swings open
and closed instead of the entire gate. This style of gate is ideal for small
areas and even wide areas where an extra-long gate is needed and swinging the
entire gate would be inconvenient or impossible. Walk-through gates come in many
shapes and may even extend up to 20 feet or more. Some must be mounted in a
straight line while others may be configured around corners or irregular shapes
to fit almost any space you need. Favored for their flexibility and design, most
walk-through gates feature one-hand latching for adult convenience. Since all
walk-through gates have a bottom threshold, it’s especially important that
they be closed after entering or exiting and that they not be installed on
staircases whenever possible.
gates operate the same way as hardware-mounted walk-through gates. Since they
secure with tension, pressure-mounted walk-through gates should not be used on
stairways but are a good choice for doorways separating rooms that are on the
same level in your home. They are available to fit openings from 28 to 45 inches
DOS AND DON'TS
THE PROPER USE OF SAFETY GATES
select a safety gate which is JPMA or ASTM approved. Read the
manufacturer’s instructions for mounting the gate, and be sure the gate is
secure when installed.
test the locking mechanism to make sure it works properly every time you
get in the habit of closing child safety gates all the time, even if your baby is
sleeping safely in his crib. This will help prevent you from forgetting to
close the gate when your baby is nearby.
use a mounting kit, unless you are mounting the gate to a wooden door
frame or other flat wood surface.
install baby safety gates early–before your child is mobile.
take into consideration the total length of time (and number of
children) for which child safety gates will be needed. Select a gate which will best
withstand time and constant use.
follow manufacturer's instructions concerning when to remove safety
gates. (Most recommend that gates be removed at age 2 to 2 1/2 or when a
child is tall enough to climb over them.)
be careful and remember to always close all safety gates, especially
walk-through gates as the threshold could be tripped over.
use a pressure-mounted gate at the top of the stairs.
use older style, hand-me-down safety gates.
climb over child safety gates. This provides children with behavior to imitate.
use pet gates which usually have a square mesh openings that are easy
for tots to climb.
your child unattended, or rely on safety gates to keep your child safe.
The information given and the products referred to can
reduce the likeliness of injury and are intended to help you provide a safer
environment for your child. The effectiveness of suggested products depends on
proper installation and use. There is no replacement for adult supervision.