The 10 Best Baby Gates For Stairs
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in April of 2017. Keeping an eye on adventurous little ones is a challenge, even for experienced parents. While not a substitute for adult supervision, you can make the task a bit easier on yourself by installing one of these handy baby gates to prevent junior from tumbling down the stairs. We've included fabric and metal options with intuitive latching systems designed to keep kids (and pets) safe at all times. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 01, 2020:
When it comes to buying any items for your baby, whether that be a toy, stroller, or anything else, safety should always be a top priority. So, we take that very seriously when making our recommendations in these types of categories. In the case of baby gates, we made sure to only consider models made from sturdy materials and with reliable latching mechanisms.
In addition to making sure you get a secure gate, it is just as important to read the manufacturer's recommendations on where and how the one you buy should be installed. For example, while the Skip Hop Retractable has some great features, such as the see-through mesh that allows you to keep an eye on your child when you are on the other side, and its ability to perfectly fit essentially any opening of 52 inches or less, the manufacturer recommends not using it at the top of stairways, and we agree. Conversely, the Smart Retract-A-Gate is certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association for use at the top of the stairs, though if it were us, we would still lean towards a solid model crafted from metal or wood for this kind of placement.
One of our favorite solid models is the Summer Infant Deco 07600, and for a variety of reasons. We like that the manufacturer took the time to consider aesthetics and added a decorative arch at the top. At the same time, they haven't forgotten the inclusion of things like automatic closing and latching, a hold-open function, and other features that make a baby gate convenient to use. It also allows for mounted or tension installation.
When it comes to versatility, the Regalo 4-in-1 takes the cake. It can be used as a mounted gate or stand alone playpen, and it comes with eight panels that can be attached or remove from the pass-through so you can use it to create a barrier across entire rooms.
April 05, 2019:
I decided to add at least a couple of additional fabric-fashioned options to the wiki, as I feel those help to maintain a strong theme around safety. There's certainly nothing wrong with any of the metal, wood, or plastic-constructed options, but rolled fabric is generally easy to manage and can be just as effective a deterrent as a locking and hinged metal gate.
For example, I included the Smart Retract-A-Gate for its scratch-resistant exterior, lightweight design, and washable mesh fabric. I thought the Babyseater Retractable was also a worthy contender, thanks to its use of extra-large hand latches and rustproof aluminum body for withstanding both indoor and outdoor use. I also maintained the Regalo 4-in-1 for its 8 detachable panels, modular design, and ability to be folded down flat for convenient storage. Both the Summer Infant Deco and North States Easy Swing & Lock are durable and elegant-looking gates, the former of which automatically locks when it swings shut. I maintained the Evenflo Easy Walk Thru due to its red and green locking indicator and lack of a base bar to trip over (always a good thing). Finally, added the Stair Barrier for its ease of angled installation and the strap-and-buckle fastening system for accommodating banisters of any shape.
Where To Place Baby Gates
Make sure both the tops and bottoms of stairways are covered.
It seems like, in the blink of an eye, babies begin to crawl. Whether your little one is an early mover or a late bloomer (which, by the way, is nothing to worry about), as a parent you'll always feel that your munchkin is mobile too soon. Suddenly, each time you turn around, your tiny miracle is getting into some mischief. Baby gates can help you make your home a safer place for your curious cutie, especially when you know just where to place them. Strategic positioning of these items can relieve you of the panic of constantly wondering just where your rug rat is. If you want to warm to the idea of having additional kids, reducing stress around the first one is key.
One very important room to keep your baby out of when you cannot supervise him is the living room. Think of all of the hazards you have in there, from flat-screen TVs that can topple over to the fireplace. Your most social room is a war zone for an unmonitored crawler, so be sure to place one of your gates at the entrance to this area. Another area that's all fun for you but could be trouble for a little one is the yard. You likely do not want your baby crawling around in the dirt and insects, or near the edge of your pool or around the sharp lawn tools you keep out there. If you have a back or side door that you like to keep open to the garden for the breeze, just be sure to install a gate here, as well.
Bathrooms may seem rather harmless but, they're troublesome for a six to 10-month-old. The floors tend to be slippery, making it easy for a child to slip and bump his head on a toilet bowl, squatty potty, or the side of a bathtub. You probably also keep bathing products that may contain toxic ingredients in there, as well as prescription medications. The stairs are another important area to guard with safety gates. Make sure both the tops and bottoms of stairways are covered. Baby gates make it so you don't have to completely remodel your home to make it safe for your newest family member — just install a few in strategic areas, and you'll gain peace of mind.
Tips For Installing And Using Baby Gates
Having a baby around the home can take some adjusting to. Suddenly, there is nothing more important than the child's eating and napping schedule. Parents go to great lengths to ensure their little one has the best care in the world, from buying pricey gourmet foods to even hiring sleeping coaches (yes, that's real). Setting up and navigating around baby gates can also take some getting used to. Think about the layout of your home, your habits, and a few other factors when selecting and installing your chosen model.
Think about the layout of your home, your habits, and a few other factors when selecting and installing your chosen model.
In high-traffic areas, such as the kitchen and hallways, you'll probably want a gate with a latch that opens swiftly — perhaps even with just one finger. Since you'll probably pass through these holding trays of food, your baby's tub, or your munchkin himself, it's important that moving through them isn't a huge hassle. Meanwhile, for rooms that contain items you absolutely do not want your baby near, it's worth it to get a gate that is a bit tougher to open. Even if you need an extra few seconds to gain access, it's worth it knowing that your little one definitely cannot accidentally pop it open.
Be sure to measure entryways where you plan on putting gates to ensure you get the right size. If you want a highly expandable model that you can move around, make sure that, at its most extended length, it will work with your widest door frames or hallways. When it comes to choosing between pressure-mounted gates and models that require a bit more installation, never put the former at the top of a stairway. If someone were to run into one, it would probably topple over. That shouldn't cause too much alarm when this style of gate just stands between the living room and the kitchen, but it can lead to an injury if it's at the top of a staircase.
Other Items That Increase Baby's Safety
It's probably been quite a long time since you were a baby, so you can't possibly remember all of the habits and quirks of these adorable little humans — and they sure do have many. Luckily, there are a lot of helpful products out there that will aid you in your goal of making your house safer for your youngest family member. Let's start with monitors. Even though you'd like to sit and watch your sleeping angel (and snap photos for Instagram), remaining in the room with her as she naps will probably only wake her up. A good monitor helps you keep a close look over your cutie pie as she snoozes. You can hear the moment she wakes up and wants food, and you can also make sure she doesn't roll into a dangerous position.
On the topic of electrical appliances, you may want to get a cord organizer to collect and consolidate all of the cords lying on the floor.
Once your little one begins to crawl, she'll want to touch everything she encounters, including power outlets, which are conveniently (or not so) positioned right around the height of a rug rat. Putting outlet covers over these will be imperative when it comes to preventing accidents. On the topic of electrical appliances, you may want to get a cord organizer to collect and consolidate all of the cords lying on the floor. It's too easy for a baby to chew on these, or even become wrapped up in them.
Another item your cutie may chew on once those chompers come in is the side of her crib. That's why you should put bumpers around the bars. You can even find designs meant for teething, to help alleviate some of the soreness in your baby's developing mouth. There's a lot to think about when welcoming a new family member into the home, but thankfully there are numerous products that make the transition smoother.