Install baby gate
We’ve got news for you: cuddly babies turn into turbo explorers fidning their way to the most dangerous places in the house. This moth-to-light phenomenon will happen, and when it does you’ll be so, so happy you installed a baby gate.
Do you need a baby gate?
Unless you live in a one-story home, and you’ve babyproof-ed the heck out of every room, you’ll probably need one. Usually around seven-months old, your little one will becomeb mobile whether through rapid-fire rolling or crawling like a champ, and then it’s time to babyproof your abode. Tiny fingers love to tamper with cupboards, snatch ornaments off the Christmas tree, and taste test the dog food. Not to mention stairs…
What type of baby gate is best?
There are two types of gates: hardware mounted and pressure mounted. Hardware-mounted gates need both sides of the gate to be screwed into a door frame, walls, or a banister. Although it’s kind of a bummer to put permanent holes into your home, hardware-mounted gates are the most secure. That makes them a must for the top of the stairs and other precarious spots.
Pressure-mounted gates are like tension rods, and they don’t require screwing in. As long as you have a gate with the correct measurements, it should stand up with the force of being squeezed by the walls or door frame on either side. Pressure-mounted gates are easy to setup (no tools necessary) and can be moved from place to place.
In addition to hardware- or pressure-mounted options, baby gates also come in three other categories: swing through (a gate door that swings open), step over (no gate door, have to climb over), and those built specifically to be used on stairs.
When shopping around look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification on baby gates. This ensures the gate is at least 22 inches tall, and the spacing between the bottom of the gate and floor isn’t big enough for your child’s head or neck to get stuck.
How we choose our best picks
We asked thousands of BabyList families about the baby products they love the most. We took the most popular gates they shared with us and added our own research and insight. We think at least one of these gates will work for your family too.
Babylist Best Picks
WHY WE LOVE IT
If you need a gate you can easily move and use in multiple doorways, or take with you to visit family, this tension gate is your go-to. It expands to fit varying widths and you can quickly set it in place.
KEEP IN MIND
If you don’t want to have to keep opening the gate up to get by and then setting it back up again, you’ll have to do some monkey-bar moves to step over it.
WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS HAVE TO SAY
“My child would never be able to open it because as an adult, it takes a bit of effort to open.” -Haimanti
The hardware-mounted Kidco eliminates any treacherous tripping at the top of the stairs with a one-piece gate (no bottom bar to step over) that swings in toward the upper level. Plus, if you need to remove the gate (if you’re moving furniture up and down the stairs) the Kidco has a quick-release design so you can take it off without having to unscrew everything. You can also use it in doorways and hallways.
KEEP IN MIND
Don’t forget to firmly close the gate behind you. It’s not self closing like most others.
“We use the Kidco gate for the top of our stairs. I wouldn’t change anything about it.” -Margot
Great for doorways, this Munchkin gate is a breeze to open with one hand while holding your baby or a basket of laundry in the other. You can set whether you want it to open in both directions (pulled in toward you or pushed out away from you) or just one way. The bonus? It comes in six widths.
Since this is a pressure-mounted gate, you’ll have to watch out for the two-inch bar at the bottom (or you’ll go flying!). It also doesn’t have a self-closing mechanism.
“I like that you can open this gate instead of stepping over it. My child shakes on it like crazy, and it’s holding up.” -Michelle
It’s all about options with this North States gate. First, it comes with a set of extensions in case you need to widen it beyond the standard 28 inches. Push it open to a full 90 degrees and it clicks into place to stay that way (ideal when lugging in groceries). Otherwise it auto closes. Best of all, there’s two ways you can unlock the gate. The simplest lets you pass if you grab the handle and pull up. To outwit older kids, there’s an additional step of twisting the lock first and then lifting up.