Babies typically start scooting or crawling by the time they are five to seven months of age. As they become increasingly mobile, they also want to start exploring their surroundings and testing their boundaries. Keeping an eye on babies who are determined to and capable of crawling throughout an entire home can be an exhausting challenge for many parents. To keep their children safe from injuries or worse, parents may find it helpful to use baby gates throughout their homes.
Babies are especially at risk of falling down stairs if the stairwell is left open to them. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 100,000 children aged five and under are injured each year after falling down stairways. A baby gate can prevent such an accident in the home and do its part to keep an infant safe from devastating injury or death. The best baby gates today are typically made out of sturdy vinyl, plastic, or metal. They can fit into a doorway using pressure loaded hinges, and they can also be attached using hardware like bolts and screws.
Baby gates also are perfect for keeping infants and toddlers out of the kitchen, bathroom, and other parts of the home where medicine, sharp tools, and other potentially harmful items are kept. Left unattended, a baby may crawl into one of these rooms and suffer an injury after ingesting poisons or touching a sharp or hot object. With the CDC reporting that 300 children per day are accidentally poisoned and hurt in such a manner, many parents appreciate the role that a baby gate plays in keeping their babies safe from harm. In fact, baby gates have gained such importance that they are now a common baby shower gift and commonly requested by parents of infants.
Do You Need Baby Gates at the Top and Bottom of Stairs
After you choose the best baby gates for your home, you may wonder about their proper placement? Do you need to place a gate at both the top and bottom of the stairs, or do you just need a gate at one end of the stairwell? Depending on how old and how active your child is, you may be able to do well with a gate placed at either the top or the bottom of the stairs. You may have no need to use a gate on both stairwell ends.
A single gate works well if your baby is under the age of two. However, toddlers and adolescents between the ages of two to five may need an extra deterrent to stay away from the stairs entirely. Children between these ages are usually able to climb over a single gate and then make their way onto the stairs rather quickly. With a gate on each end of the stairs, however, you provide more of an obstacle for them to overcome. You also provide a visual deterrent that kids this age will understand as the stairs being off-limits to them.
Before you place your baby gate at either end of the stairs, however, you may need to consider other members of your family. If you live with senior citizens, such as elderly parents, you may find it helpful to use a single gate that can be removed quickly in case your parent has to go upstairs. Because senior citizens also are prone to falls, you should not use a gate at the top of the stairs. Your aged loved one may try to climb over it and fall. A gate at the bottom of the stairs and extra vigilance on your part can keep your baby and your senior family member safe.
How Much Are Baby Gates
You can find the best baby gates on the market affordably priced and available at your favorite department and retail stores. When it comes to buying a baby gate, the old adage of getting what you pay for applies. In fact, gates made out of sturdier materials like wood or metal tend to be priced higher than those made out of flimsy plastic or poorer grade vinyl.
Regardless, most baby gates sold today start out around the $30 price range and go higher depending on the material they are made from and what company manufactures them. The ones that sell for around $30 are typically made out of sturdy vinyl and come with pressure loaded hinges that allow for easy setup in a doorway or other space. Most of the gates in this price range measure 50 inches in width and about 30 inches in height.
If you need a gate that is wider or taller, you can find a variety of such models for sale. However, these wider or taller baby gates typically sell for more than $30. Gates that stand as high as 48 inches can retail for around $60 depending on the gate’s manufacturer. Prices for baby gates also go higher the more decorative the gate is or if it is made out of a material like stained wood or polished metal. These gates can range in price from $60 to $100.
While some people may find the prices to be reasonable, others might prefer to explore cheaper baby gate options. It is important, however, that they take safety experts’ warning into mind by avoiding buying these gates at garage sales or secondhand stores. Used infant goods like baby gates may be unsafe to use in your home.
Where to Buy Baby Gates
As noted, it is unsafe to buy baby gates from a secondhand store or garage or yard sales. Any baby gates you use in your home should be brand new so that you know that they will meet the required safety standards. So where can you find the best baby gates for sale today? You can typically find them for sale in big box stores like Walmart or Target or online on Amazon.com. Many home improvement stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot also sell them.
If you do not find the gates that you want at your favorite retail or home improvement stores, you may try shopping online. Some of the best baby gates can be found online for prices that fit within your budget. They are sold by mainstream retail stores like K-Mart and Sears. When you shop online, however, you may take extra care to view the pictures of the gates for sale and also read any consumer reviews available to you. This research helps you ensure that you get a baby gate that suits your needs and lives up to your expectations.
Finally, you can find baby gates for sale at baby and children specialty shops like Toys R Us and Babies R Us. These shops sell products that are made exclusively for children and babies. They sell popular brands like Graco and Playtex as well as lesser known brands. Because baby gates are such popular items now among parents of newborns, toddlers, and pre-kindergarten children, they are readily available for sale in most stores. If you cannot find the size or model you want, you can always look for what you need online.
When to Take Down Baby Gates
While baby gates are ideal for keeping your child safe from harm during the first few years of his or her life, you eventually may wonder when you should take them down permanently. You can know that you can remove them entirely without any harm coming to your child when he or she is capable of walking up and down the stairs unaided and without falling.
Many children reach this point by the time they are four years old. However, some children learn to climb stairs safely as early as age three.
You can also remove the gates when you are confident that your child will not get harmed after going into the kitchen, bathroom, or other part of the house where tools, medications, cleaning products, and other items are stored. You can do your part by keeping such belongings stored high on a shelf or in a locked closet or cabinet. When you know that you can allow your child safely into one of these rooms and around such objects, you can remove the baby gates in your house. You likewise can feel confident about removing the gate by ensuring that your child knows the household rules for staying safe in these rooms, such as not touching sharp objects or not climbing up to the cabinets where off-limit items are kept.
Finally, you may need to remove the gates if you or someone in your family loses the ability to move around safely without falling. Suffering an injury like a broken leg or developing a condition like Parkinson’s disease comes with motor skill challenges that make climbing over or removing a gate difficult. If anyone’s safety is compromised by the presence of a baby gate in the home, you may find it best to take it down.
What Are the Best Baby Gates to Buy
When it comes to knowing what baby gates are the best to buy, you can answer your own question by keeping some basic tips in mind about these resources. Defining a gate as “best” can be a subjective undertaking for any family, in fact. What is best for one set of parents may be entirely ill-suited to your own household’s needs or wants.
For example, some people view baby gates as a temporary necessity and not things that should be purchased to add aesthetic value to your home. As long as the gates keep your baby away from harm, you may be satisfied with whatever they look like and from whatever material they are made. You likewise may view a baby gate as “best” if it comes at a price that you can afford. These criteria make some choices of baby gates better than others that are available to you.
However, some people do want baby gates that are aesthetically pleasing to look at and even blend into their home’s existing décor. As practical as these gates may be, they also come in a variety of styles that make them showpieces in any room in which they are installed. You can find baby gates that look like antique wrought iron fences or quaint wooden fences. It can be difficult to tell that they are baby gates because of how decorative and upscale they are. People who are concerned about their homes’ appearance may view these designer baby gates as best for their homes and for their infant care needs. Regardless of what style you choose, you can know your gate is the best if it lives up to your expectations and meets the existing baby gates safety standards.