Once babies start crawling, they want to explore everything. To keep them safe, parents may wish to install safety gates in certain areas of the house. These gates may be used to prevent babies from falling down the stairs, keep them out of certain rooms, separate them from pets, or keep them from climbing the stairs. In general, safety gates are designed for babies between six months and two years old. Once a child is old enough to open the gate, parents can no longer rely on them as a safety device.
There are three main types of baby safety gates:
- Hardware Mounted Gate - When properly installed, the hardware mounted gate is the most secure type of safety gate. It is typically installed by screwing brackets into a doorframe or the studs behind the walls—not the drywall or plaster alone. This type of gate is the only safe gate to use at the top of the stairs. When installed at the top of the stairs, the gate should swing toward the landing and not out over the stairs.
- Pressure Mounted Gate – This type of safety gate is typically used to separate children and pets or to keep babies from climbing up a flight of stairs. In general, it can be used when the risk of falling is not an issue. Pressure mounted gates are positioned between door frames or walls and held in place with pressure—there is no need for any mounting hardware. Many of these gates can be adjusted to the size of your opening. Pressure mounted gates should not be used at the top of the stairs.
- Safety Gate Panels – This freestanding type of safety gate may be an option if your home has an open floor plan that does not work with traditional baby gates. Safety gate panels fit together to form a circular, gated play area for babies. These gated areas may be used to keep babies from entering a room or climbing up the stairs but should not be used as a safety device at the top of the stairs.
It is important to think about the area you wish to gate and then shop for the right type of baby safety gate for the job. David Todd, an Austinchild injury attorney at the Todd Law Firm, urges parents to carefully monitor children at home and gate off unsafe areas as necessary to prevent accidents.
You should also be aware of these types of safety gates when choosing a childcare facility, and check to make sure the facility has the proper gates in place. If your child is injured in a serious accident and you need legal help, call David at 512-472-7799 for a free personal injury case review.