Top Rated Baby Gates You Should Consider
A baby gate may not be the most exciting of the purchases you will make as a parent, but it was one of the most necessary. Once your little one is up and moving, you know they are hard to slow down. That is why buying a gate early and buying the right one is crucial. There are so many out there that it can feel a bit overwhelming. You want to make sure you keep your baby and possibly any pets you may have safe. Below we will talk a bit about the recommended age to start using gates, what to look for before buying, and then a comprehensive list of some of the best baby gates available through online retailers today. You are sure to find one, or several, to fit all the needs you have in your home.
At What Age Do Babies Need Gates?
The general recommendation is to begin putting up gates in your home before your baby starts to crawl. That is a skill that develops for most babies between 7 and 10 months. This means you should begin installing gates when your child is about six months old.
This may seem a bit early, but it is essential to remember that babies can very quickly progress from what seem like small crawling movements to being able to get across rooms very fast. Being prepared before they start crawling is key.
Gates are particularly important if you have a home that has stairs. Emergency department visits that result from a fall down stairs are one of the lead causes for children under two years old. Gates should be installed on both the bottom and top of the stairs.
What Should I Look for In a Baby Gate?
According to Consumer Reports, you should choose a gate with a straight top edge and tightly spaced, vertical slats that are rigid or a mesh screen. If you choose a gate with mesh panels, make sure it is a fine weave. Wider holes can provide a foothold for climbing or trap your baby’s fingers. Always follow all safety recommendations in the owner’s manual for installing and using the gate you purchase.
An excellent way to know if one of the best baby gates has met rigorous safety measures is to purchase one certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). JPMA is a national trade organization that represents the juvenile industry from prenatal to preschool. They represent companies in the United States, Canada, and Mexico that manufacture, import, and distribute infant products.
Here are five things you should consider when buying a baby gate:
#1 Easy Operation
The baby gate should open and shut smoothly to allow parents to walk through the gate easily. Look for options for baby gate openings that include sliding, swinging, and smaller doorways in the center of the gate.
#2 Slats Gap
The gap between slats should be under 3 inches to protect your little one from getting stuck or being able to climb over the gate.
The gate you buy should be at minimum three-quarters of your child’s height, and any gate you purchase should be no shorter than 23 inches for security.
#4 Size and Adjustability
Make sure the gate you purchase will not be stretched to its limits as it will provide less security. A quality gate should expand and contract to fit a variety of openings.
#5 Sturdy Construction
Safety gates should retain pressure and strength for a long time. You want sturdy construction and an even finish. A warranty should be available on reputable products.
Keep these in mind when evaluating choices for the best baby gates.
Best Baby Gates
Evenflo Barn Door Walk-Thru Gate – Best Overall
This fan-favorite is beautiful and creates a safe space in your home. It has a rustic, contemporary vibe to compliment your home décor, and you can choose either a pressure mount or a hardware mount. This gate fits spaces from 29 – 43 inches wide, has a 1-handed latch, and closes quietly with the auto-close hinge that has a red and green color indicator to let you know the gate is locked correctly.
Dreambaby Chelsea Extra-Tall & Wide Auto-Close Security Baby Safety Gate – Safest Baby Gate
This gate fits openings of 38-42.5 inches and is loaded with safety features. It has an extra tall height of 39.5 inches, and the gate allows for one-handed operation with a double-action locking feature. A unique feature is the Smart Stay-Open feature, which will enable it to stay open for seamless movement when desired, while at all other times has the Auto-Close feature, reliably closing it every time.
Cardinal Gates Stairway Special Safety Gate – Best Baby Gate for Stairs
This is an excellent gate for stairs with an optional one-way stop bracket that prevents the gate from opening over a staircase and the ability to mount at angles up to 30 degrees. It is 29.5 inches tall and is adjustable to close off openings from 27 to 42.5 inches straight out of the box. You can also add the optional 10.5 or 21.75-inch extensions.
KidCo Safeway, Top of Stairs, Hardware Mounted Gate – Best Baby Gate for Top of Stairs
This gate is a Good Housekeeping award winner that fits narrow and wide openings of 24.75-42.5 inches. It was designed specifically for top of stairs use and has no bottom threshold or tripping hazard. This gate features a directional stop clip that prevents it from swinging out over the staircase. With a double-action locking mechanism, it meets federal (CPSC) standards and is JPMA certified.
Carlson Extra Tall Walk Through Pet Gate – Best Baby Gate for Dogs
This extra tall, sturdy gate is recommended by breeders and is veterinarian approved. It is 36 inches high, so it can be used for all breed types and expands to fit doorways between 29 to 36.5 inches. It also includes a 4-inch wide extension kit. If you have dogs that tend to climb or jump over shorter gates, this is an option that can alleviate that worry. Screw and clips are supplied to attach to the door jamb for extra security.
Evenflo Versatile Play Space – Best Baby Gate for Play Area
Available in a gray, white or bright multicolor for playtime, this gate includes over 18.5 square feet of space. Its exclusive reversible legs have outdoor stakes on them for lawn stability and non-scratch floor pads for interior flat surfaces. It is quick and easy to set up and fold. The gate includes six interlocking panels that are weather and UV-resistant.
Toddleroo by North States® 3-in-1 Wood Superyard – Best Baby Gate for Fireplaces
A stylish and sturdy option that looks good and offers protection. It can be used on various floor surfaces without slipping or scratching. It can be used freestanding but can also be hardware mounted to block off fireplaces or other displays. It is 30 inches high and has a self-closing hold-open door that features a childproof double-locking system for safety.
Regalo 56-Inch Extra WideSpan Walk Through Baby Gate – Best Extra Wide Baby Gate
Expandable to fit openings between 29-56 inches wide, this gate includes a 4, 8, and 12-inch wide extension kit and four spindle rods that pressure mount. It is 30 inches tall and quick to set up. Including multiple safety-lock features, it is an all-steel durable design with a walk-through door and is certified to both JPMA and ASTM standards.
Smart Retract Retract-A-Gate: Retractable Baby Gate – Best Retractable Baby Gate
The original retractable safety gate, it can be installed at any angle, and its see-through mesh allows you to see on the other side of the gate. It is certified for up to 200 pounds of push-out force and is JPMA certified. With smooth, one-handed operation, the gate extends out to 52″ and is 34″ tall and features a childproof lock. It is certified for both indoor and outdoor use.
Munchkin Easy Close Pressure Mounted Baby Gate – Best No Drill Baby Gate
This no-drill gate measures 29.5″ tall and 29.5″ – 35″ wide with an included 2.75″ extension. It can be expanded to fit up to 54″ wide openings if additional extensions are purchased. It is easy to use by simply pushing the gate to close and lock. It features a dual-locking mechanism that allows the door to swing in both directions. It is a great option when mounting a gate is not possible.
Toddleroo by North States 6 Panel Superyard Portable Outdoor Playard – Best Outdoor Baby Gate
Create a safe and engaging play area outside with this six-panel yard that can enclose spaces of 18.5 square feet. It is 26 inches high. The six interlocking panels are pre-connected, so setup is a breeze. The Superyard has a convenient carry handle, so it is easy to bring with you on playdates. A two-panel extension is available separately to increase the yard size.
Yes, baby gates may not be the most extravagant or the most exciting purchase you make as a parent, as you can tell from our list, they are an important one. When your baby starts moving around the house, safety is the priority. Hopefully, the list above of the best baby gates and information on what to look for in a gate has you feeling a bit better about your shopping.