One of the greatest joys of being a parent is watching your little one hit their major milestones. Perhaps the most exciting and arguably the trickiest milestone is when they start to crawl. As soon as this happens, it’s time to start baby proofing the house. At the top of your baby proofing list should be a safety gate. Here are some baby gate safety tips that will steer you on the right track. With these baby gate safety tips, you will be well on your way to having a safer home.
Is It Even Necessary?
Yes! When it comes to the safety of your children, cutting corners is a big no-no. This is the first baby gate safety tip you should keep in mind. You wouldn’t drive around with your child in their car seat without buckling them up. So why would you chance letting your new explorer crawl around upstairs without making sure the stairs are secured? Buying last season’s outfit for your little girl at 50% off from Target is where you want to cut corners. Not her safety.
Get The Right Gate for Your Family
So, your baby has started crawling around with ease and disappears in a flash. Or maybe your little one has started exploring the world with her two feet. Whatever stage she is at, you want to make sure the baby safety gate you choose will be appropriate for her age. Be sure to look for a baby safety gate that is taller than your child. This will help reduce the risk of them potentially climbing over it. Along with this, be sure that the baby safety gate you choose is sturdy enough and properly installed so that it doesn’t get knocked out of place. This is especially true if your gate is a pressure mounted safety gate. (Read on to learn the difference between gates).
Don’t DIY It
This next baby safety gate tip that you should keep in mind deals with you creative mommas. While the concept of a safety gate may seem straightforward and easy to replicate, never attempt to create your own. Sites like YouTube and Pinterest might entertain cute looking safety gates that were made with delicate love and care, but be advised. Chances are your homemade safety gate might be more of a dangerous hazard than a precaution.
It may be tempting to purchase that baby safety gate at your annual neighborhood yard sale. After all, it does look fairly new, right? This is a baby gate safety tip that you are better off following. Although you might be saving a couple bucks in the process, a baby safety gate is one of those things that you probably want to stick with buying new. With safety standards and regulations always changing, a hand me down baby gate may not always be up to date with current safety practices. Along with this, there may be cracks or missing pieces in a second-hand safety gate that you may not be aware of. Here’s a safety gate tip; steer clear of these issues by investing in a new safety gate.
Which Gate To Buy?
Your next baby safety gate tip is to keep in mind that not all gates are alike. Before you make your purchase, make sure to get the right gate for your home. Getting the right gate is as important as getting the right type of car seat for your kiddo. What type of gate you purchase depends on a couple of things. For example, the layout of your house, the living spaces you want to keep your toddler out of or secured in, and the location in your home where your little one will spend most of their time should be all factored into your decision of what type of gate you will need to get. Here’s another safety gate tip; the clearer you can define your needs, the better equipped you are to make the most appropriate safety gate purchase for your home.
Pressure Mounted Gates
Once you have considered what you need your baby gate to do for you, then you can start your shopping. There are typically two types of gates that you can choose from.
There are pressure mounted safety gates, and hardware mounted safety gates. If your need for a safety gate is to create a barrier from one room to another, then a pressure gate or pressure fit gate would generally do the trick. These types of gates are easy to install. The basic concept behind this type of safety gate is to place it between two walls or barriers and apply pressure by stretching the gate out until it’s firmly secured. Although these gates may install easily, there is a general downfall to pressure mounted safety gates. If not installed correctly, they can come out of the barrier that holds them in place if heavy force is applied to them. Pressure mounted safety gates are best for babies who are learning to crawl. If your child is starting to pull himself up and walk around unassisted, then a hardware mounted gate may be the safety gate for your family.
Hardware Mounted Gates
If your baby can pull, tug, and apply pressure to objects, then a hardware mounted safety gate is for you. You would also want to consider a hardware mounted gate for stairs, especially if your need for a safety gate is to block a staircase that a baby or toddler might tumble down. The main difference between a hardware mounted gate is assembly. Generally, this type of gate requires more assembly because you would actually need to mount it with hardware to a stud or wooden railing. But unlike pressure mounted gates, hardware mounted gates will usually stay in place unless they are manually removed from their hardware. Although they can be more of a hassle to install, hardware mounted safety gates are generally sturdier. Along with this, they tend to be safer than pressure mounted safety gates. My baby safety gate tip? Buy a hardware mounted gate.
Don’t Toss Your Installation Manual
This next baby gate safety tip goes without saying. The next most important thing is to make sure you are installing your gate correctly. So keep your installation manual. It goes without saying that before you put your gate together, make sure to read all manufacturer instructions to ensure you know what you are doing. Some gates may often come with a recall sign up form. If you find this in your packaging, make sure to mail it in. This will allow the maker of your safety gate to reach out to you in case any recall issues might be associated with your gate.
When installing your safety gate, it is important to install it according to your instruction manual. A common mistake when installing a baby safety gate is installing it too high and leaving a gap at the bottom. You might think it’s a good idea to keep a gap open for the cat to get through or to create more height for your growing toddler, but don’t be fooled. Babies will always manage to find a way to squeeze into small spaces when they see the opportunity. The good news is there’s a way to avoid this. Try to keep your safety gate no more than three and a half inches above the floor.
If you are installing a hardware mounted safety gate, make sure to screw in the hardware into a wooden stud or frame as opposed to drywall. This will ensure that your safety gate stays put for the duration of its use.
Get a Second Opinion
When in doubt, call an expert. There are many baby-safety experts that can install your baby gate. You might want to consider this especially if you are unsure how to do it yourself. If you are unable to dish out the extra cash for installation, it’s not a bad decision to reach out anyway. It’s not unheard of for some baby-safety experts to verify you’ve installed your gate free of charge. You can do this by reaching out to them with a photo or phone call.
Don’t Forget The Bottom of Your Steps
Here’s another baby gate safety tip that not a lot of first time parents realize. Many parents may feel good after securing the top of the stairs. While this is good, they often don’t think about the bottom of the stairs. When your little one starts to explore the stairs when she starts crawling, it’s time to take action. Often babies can crawl up the stairs with ease, but get stuck and scared when it’s time to come down. This presents a major tumbling hazard. To avoid this, make sure to secure the bottom of your staircase with a safety gate. Usually, a pressure gate is a great solution to this.
Yes, it’s another baby expense that comes with its fair share of a headache and annoyance. And yes, you will probably master the art of stretching your legs over the baby safety gate. This will be especially true when you need to get past, and your hands are full. But a headache is a small price to pay for the safety of your child and the sanity of your family. Good luck!