As your adorable new born approaches the 8 months old age he/she begins to taking their first steps. As baby proofing your hosue, you'll find that a baby safety gate can offer peace of mind when it comes to stairs and rooms that are "not accessible". These gates can be pressure-mounted (to avoid screwing them into the wall), swing both ways and, of course, they lock. Look around a bit more and you might find see-through gates made with a variety of materials from plastic to nylon, gates armed with "memory" locks (so you only have to adjust the gate to the door's width once) and "no-climb" construction that's free of footholds or handholds for little climbers. (Note: Pressure-mounted gates are not safe for the top of stairs.) There are four common kinds of gates. Each is designed to accommodate a different function and location, so you're sure to find one that's appropriate for your little one.
"Wall-mounted (screw-in) gates are the best because they adjust to fit properly, even with uneven walls or after a house settles," says Heather Tompson, a Fredericton, NB, mom of three. What to avoid? Gates made with steel tubes with a nylon-and-mesh panel, says Sandra Maxwell, a mother of two in Grimsby, Ont. "I used one in a wide opening, but you had to twist the rods on either side to adjust it," she says. "It was time consuming and a nuisance." While some parents prefer models that can be unfastened with one hand, leaving one arm to carry a child or load of laundry, Laura McDonald, a mother of one from Courtice, Ont., has a different perspective. "I prefer the ones that take two hands to work. I figure if it takes two of my hands to get them open, then it would be pretty hard for a little one."
Available in a variety of materials, you can chose from wooden, plastic, plastic-coated steel, or soft mesh gates to match your decor. Most gates are easily cleanble, portable, and easy to install. For extra safety and convenience, look for the following additional features:
A safety gate can help keep baby away from danger, but there are some precautions that you should keep in mind when using them. Most importantly, remember that your child should never be left unsupervised.
Never install pressure-mounted gates at the top of stairways. A gate should never be less than 3/4 of your child's height. Always install the bar side away from baby when using gates with expanding pressure bars. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing and anchoring your safety gate. Always close the gate behind you. Avoid using older gates that are not certified for safety. Older safety gates are more likely to present a safety hazard. Accordion-style gates, with V- or diamond-shaped openings, must have openings that are less than 1 1/2" wide. Gates with vertical slats should have no more than 2 3/8" space between the slats
Safety gates are a great way to give your child the freedom to develop curiosity and motor function within a safe play space. Add one to your registry - it won't be long before you precious little one begins to explore his surroundings!