Stairs that are in view and accessible to babies beginning to crawl or walk are new challenges, and a baby gate is essential to prevent your baby's curiosity from winning and causing a tumble down the stairs.
Any parent who has watched with horror as their baby fell down a flight of stairs will scream the benefits of a baby gate. Save your self the grief and install them throughout your home. You never want to see your baby fall down a flight of stairs limp as a rag doll.
Install baby gates at the top and bottom of all stairs in your home to prevent your baby from falling down them. Baby gates can also be used to keep your baby in their nursery or another childproofed room, and to keep them out of rooms that are not childproofed or are dangerous, like laundry rooms and bathrooms.
Look for baby gates with a tension or pressure bar that your baby can't dislodge easily. Pressure bars require a bit of strength to open and close. Most have a push button, so you must push down and press the button simultaneously, requiring hand coordination that your baby just doesn't have yet. Pressure bar baby gates usually work best to block standard sized doorways.
If you have wide doorways or large open areas between rooms, an adjustable mesh gate may fit. Adjustable mesh baby gates are pressure-mounted and slide open to fit most doorways. If you have an extra wide doorway, you may need a baby gate with extensions or one that can be permanently attached to the wall or door frame. Most extra wide baby gates attach to the wall and have a door that swings open and locks shut.
It is always a good idea to install baby gates that attach directly to the wall or door frame at the top of stairs. These baby gates are more secure than regular pressure gates and may offer a bit of extra protection.
Odd landings at the bottom of stairs can be difficult to fit with a baby gate, especially if the stairs are up against a wall. You will need a baby gate with extensions that can wrap around the wall and the banister. Gates with extensions are perfect to protect your baby from fireplaces and woodstoves as well. Most have a swing door that locks so you can easily access your stairs or hearth.
When looking for baby gates, always buy new. Your baby gate will be one of the most used baby safety items -- you want quality. New gates must meet current safety standards, making them safer than older gates. Look for a baby gate that is certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Baby gates with the JPMA seal of approval will meet all mandatory and voluntary safety standards.
Buying older baby gates is risky. They may not meet all current safety standards and could be dangerous. Stay away from accordion style gates: your baby's head can get stuck in the V-shapes of the accordion, causing strangulation.