Baby gates are a convenient and safe way to make sure your little one doesn’t crawl their way into some serious trouble. They can be easily installed in any home with a minor amount of handiwork required. If you have a baby that’s threatening to get more mobile any day now, baby gates are going to be a necessity unless you want to spend the next few years chasing after your kid to make sure she or he doesn’t get into or up to anything dangerous. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when you’re buying or installing this handy helper.
DO Measure Properly
This should go without saying, but we’ve seen enough baby gates returned by frustrated and frazzled parents to know that it doesn’t. Baby gates are not one size fits all, and it’s very necessary to get one that fits well to avoid injury or inefficacy. So, get out the measuring tape and measure the inside of the door or entry that you wish to block off. Many people absentmindedly measure the outside of the doorjamb, and that’s what lands them back at the store.
DON’T Use a Pet Gate
While you might be tempted to use a pet gate if you already have one or if a friend offers, this is not a good idea. Pet gates are designed with different protections in mind because they are designed for pets and not people. Only use a baby gate that is certified by the JPMA (Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association) to ensure maximum safety.
DO ACTUALLY Close Them
Tension mounted gates are easy to install, but any toddler can knock one off with a little force. Latched and swinging gates are the best option, and the best thing to do is to always keep them closed. If your little one is asleep or out of the house, it might be tempting to leave them open for convenience’s sake. But that could lead to forgetting to close them when your child is awake and at home or could even lead to your injury should you trip over an open door.
DON’T Step Over Them
Just take our word for it. Many parents (often while they’re holding a baby) trip over baby gates when stepping over them, so it’s best to open and close the gate as you enter or exit. Stepping over a gate that’s at the top of the stairs could result in catastrophic injury (or just some very painful bruises) to you and your family, so when you choose a baby gate, tell everyone to make it a habit of treating the gates like doors.
DO Put Them at the Top (and bottom) of Your Stairs
The top of the stairs is an obvious place to put a baby gate. It’s incredibly easy for toddlers to lose what little balance they have and end up tumbling down. But you should also place one at the bottom, even if you think your toddler doesn’t have the ability to climb stairs, kids are typically industrious, and you could definitely look up to find her or him pulling herself up step by step. So get one for the bottom of the stairs, the Gate Adviser insists.