Baby gates are an often overlooked necessary purchase when getting ready to bring a baby into the home. When creating a baby registry, it’s fun to pick out clothes, crib sets, bottles, and other items. Baby proofing products such as baby gates, however, can easily be forgotten. You may not even realize you need baby gates until your baby finds his way to your staircase or another area that could pose a danger.
It is important to stay ahead of your baby’s safety needs and have gates in place before they are needed. There is no way to predict the exact moment your baby will decide she can crawl to unsafe areas in your home.
My daughter learned to army crawl first, and before I knew it she was trying to climb the stairs in our home. My husband and I quickly installed baby gates at the top and bottom of our staircase and replaced them with more durable ones later. I wish we had thought to purchase the exact ones we wanted before she was born!
Refer to this list of safety gates when it comes time to purchase a few for your home. They make a great addition to any baby registry!
What to Look for in a Baby Gate for Stairs
- Safety. You want a gate that will keep your child safe. According to the CDC, the number one cause of injuries to children is falls. By keeping a stair gate in front of stairs, you can keep your baby or toddler from falling.
- Durability. There is a wide range of durability among child safety gates. You can be sure those on this list are made of high quality materials and will last.
- Sturdiness. If your baby can push over a gate, it will provide little benefit. Look for a gate that fits snuggly and attaches well.
- Easy of use. A gate that is hard to open or close will cause you more headache than it is worth, especially if you have older kids who might leave the gate open. There are plenty of good options that are hard for a baby or toddler to open but are easy for older kids and adults.
9 Good Safety Gates for Babies and Toddlers
You want a gate that is easy to use and that will keep your child safe. Here we’ll explore pressure-mounted gates as well as gates for wide openings.
Good Pressure-Mounted Screwless Baby Gates
A pressure-mounted screwless design means that you do not need hardware in order to set your gate up properly. This can be much better than a hardware mounted baby gate because a hardware mounted gate requires you to put a bracket or two up with screws. The hardware mounted gate will protect your baby but is restricted to one location. A pressure-mounted screwless design can be moved around your house or even be taken with you if you go somewhere else.
1. Summer Infant Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate
If you’re looking for a pressure-mounted baby gate, look no further than the Summer Infant Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate. We currently have multiples of this gate in our house for a few reasons. First of all, it’s easy to install. Simply expand the gate out or in by turning the mounting cups on the side. This should allow you to fit doorways from 28″ to 48″ wide.
The next part we love about it is that you can open it and lock it easily. With our first toddler we tried to purchase one of those cheap plastic pressure-mounted gates. After having tripped over it dozens of times, I can tell you that the extra money I saved with that gate was lost on medical expenses! We eventually graduated to taller versions of that model, but even those had their issues with our infants knocking them over.
Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and get the gate my wife had recommended all along, the Summer Infant Tall Gate. It was like I’d died and gone to heaven. You’d think I would have learned with the umbrella stroller fiasco.
No longer do we trip over the gate. No longer can our babies push it over. The gate is sturdy, locks well, and gives you back your sanity. If you plan on putting it on the top of the stairs, I’d recommend you occasionally tighten it as it will loosen over time. Other than that, it’s maintenance free.
2. Munchkin Easy Close XL Metal Baby Gate
This black metal baby gate looks great in any space. It does just what you need it to do–keeps your baby in a safe place. The Munchkin Easy Close is sturdy and strong without damaging your walls.
I like the versatility of this gate. It fits doorways 30″ to 52″. If you need it to go even wider, you can purchase an additional extension. Even my acrobat toddler can’t find her way over the 36″ of height on this gate.
There is a double-locking system on the Munchkin Easy Close, making it easy for you to open, but very difficult, if not impossible, for your toddler. An optional third lock at the bottom of the gate makes it swing just one way.
3. Regalo Easy Step Extra Wide Baby Gate
If you don’t like the way the bronze model above looks, I also really like the Regalo Easy Step. Like the Summer Infant Gate, it’s pressure-mounted for easy installation. The gate itself will fit doorways from 29″ to 39″ wide and even has additional extensions that allow you to use it in doorways up to 60″ wide.
To open the gate you use a lever-style handle with a safety lock that your child won’t be able to open. One thing nice about this gate is that it’s a bit more intuitive for guests at your house. Still, if I have one gripe about it, it’s that you have to manually lock it rather than pulling it closed.
Overall, it’s an easy-to-install and durable gate that helps to keep kids and animals where they belong. For those worried about the cups damaging the wall, a wall saver accessory can be purchased to avoid any damage.
4. Safety 1st Easy Install Baby Gate
This baby safety gate is another great option for a pressure-mounted system, with an added bonus of an automatic close feature. A magnetic latch causes the gate to close and latch automatically, ensuring that the gate is closed securely behind as people walk through. A common issue in my house is my older children forgetting to latch the baby gate closed. This design prevents that with the auto-close feature!
This gate is easy to install with no drilling or holes needed to operate. It adjusts up to 38″ wide and also features a handy indicator that lets users know if the gate is locked. If the gate is not locked, the indicator appears red. If the gate is securely locked, the indicator appears green. This feature is great for when visitors come over and may not know if they have closed the gate correctly.
5. Cumbor Safety Baby Gate
The metal Cumbor baby gate does exactly what you’d hope: it keeps children and pets safely contained but allows adults to easily pass through. The lock is complex enough that toddlers can’t figure it out and the metal makes it sturdy enough that it can’t be knocked over. In fact, it can withstand up to 150 pound impacts without budging! It even stays open when pushed to 90 degrees, which is convenient in situations such as unloading groceries when you need to pass through repeatedly. Best of all, it can be removed and relocated easily within a few seconds.
This large-entry gate will fit 35″- to 37.8″-wide door frames, which ends up being compatible with most entries. But don’t worry if your door is wider than that, because it comes with several extensions that can easily be installed.
6. Summer West End Safety Baby Gate
This gate from Summer Infant has a unique, attractive design that includes a metal frame with an oak-stained wood door that is extra wide (27″) for easier passage. The door also has an auto-close feature to keep it closed at all times, and its hold-open feature keeps the door from closing at all when needed.
Standing at 30″ tall, the gate comes with three extension frames—4″, 7″, and 10″—so it can fit openings that are between 36″ and 60″ wide. You can either install it in a doorway, with no drilling required, or at a stairway. If you choose the latter option, there is a kit included to help you.
7. Babelio Metal Baby Gate
Designed for both doorways and stairs, this gate is all about safety. In addition to a dual locking handle that is easy for adults to operate but too difficult for children, the door of the gate only swings one direction to prevent it from swinging over stairs. It also comes equipped with a gentle auto-close function that ensures it can’t accidentally be left open.
This 30-inch-tall gate includes one extension kit measuring 5.5″ wide and two extension kits measuring 2.75″ wide, so it can fit into spaces between 26″ and 40″. For your convenience, the package includes a set of four wall protectors and two Y-shaped spindle rods for installation between two walls or between a wall and a railing.
Good Baby Gates for Wide Openings or the Bottom of Stairs
If you need a baby gate for a wider opening or for use at the bottom of a staircase, I’d recommend you stay away from the pressure-mounted design and use included hardware to screw it into the wall.
8. North States Supergate Deluxe
One company I’d recommend for these type of gates is North States. They have a bronze or linen-colored Deluxe model gate, which works for openings between 38.3″ and 72″ wide. The gate is nice because it opens and closes from both sides and even allows you to detach it from the hardware for storage. Being able to remove it is a really nice option for events or parties.
If you need to go beyond 6 feet, you can also order 6-bar expansions, which each add up to 15″. As many as six of these extensions can be used to make this gate expand up to 13 feet wide.
Overall, this is a good and sturdy baby gate for stairs, but if you’re trying to install it into your drywall, it doesn’t come with drywall anchors. Be sure to grab some before picking it up. It’s also difficult to install if you have two different widths due to something like a baseboard. In that case, you may need to install a spacer on the upper wall to make them even.
9. Summer 6-Foot-Wide Baby Gate
This Summer metal expansion baby gate offers impressive coverage up to 72″ wide. Made of bronze color metal, this baby gate is perfect for wide stairwell openings or entryways from room to room. One-handed open and close operation means simple entry and exit for parents holding young children or who have their hands full. It also features a simple to learn latch design, making it easier for guests to operate.
The gate stands at 36″ tall, which is perfect for keeping babies and toddlers contained. This extra-wide gate does require users to screw the gate into the wall, which creates a sturdy construction that is especially important for busy families.
10. Toddleroo Tall Baby Gate
For another hardware-mounted gate option, check out this version from Toddleroo. It fits openings between 28.68″ and 47.85″ wide and stands 36″ tall. Its vertical bars are designed to be difficult to climb, and its lack of a threshold at the bottom eliminates the risk of tripping.
The gate’s lightweight door is easy to open and close, and because the whole gate swings open rather than just a door, the opening is wide and easy to pass through. And unlike many of the other expandable gates, this one doesn’t require you to attach a separate extension to adjust the width.
For an Even Wider Baby Gate or Play Gate Option
Sometimes you need an even larger gate to ensure safety for your child. These gates can be used in a variety of configurations to fit the needs of your space. They are also portable so you can take them with you if you need them on the go.
11. Regalo Super Wide Gate and Play Yard
Ok, so I feel a little bit bad about this next one (but not really). This baby gate can be used as anything from an extremely wide option to an option that literally fences your child in or your Christmas tree out.
Every once in a while you run into a situation where creating your own baby gate circle play area within the middle of the room is the best and safest option for your baby. For these types of options, I highly recommend this Regalo Super Wide Gate and Play Yard. There are several other options out there that have designs your baby can literally climb up. In our case, that happens very early in life and makes that type of gate useless. For this configurable baby gate, they’ll need much longer before they’re able to get over. By that time, you’ll probably be able to communicate with them. This is also a great option for a pet gate.
12. Evenflo Versatile Play Space
The Evenflo Versatile Play Space is another great option for extra wide openings or to enclose an area for your baby or toddler to safely play. Throw in your child’s favorite toys or a small toddler slide, and your kiddo will be entertained. This set contains six plastic panels that hinge together, accordion style, to form a full 18.5 square feet of play space. The panels can also be detached and expanded out to temporarily block a wide opening.
This gate is especially handy for traveling to unfamiliar homes. I have used something similar when visiting family over the holidays. It is easy to set up and has a convenient carry handle as well. The Play Space also features reversible legs. One side has stakes for firm planting in an outdoor surface. The other side features a non-skid, floor pad design for indoor use. At 28″ tall, this is a great set that will get years of use.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
For anything 48″ and under, I highly recommend a pressure-mounted design. They’re easier to use and don’t leave holes in your wall. The Summer Infant Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate is my favorite.
For wide openings that need to be mounted with hardware, I recommend North States Supergate Deluxe.
The Evenflo Versatile Play Space is my top choice for a baby play yard.
Is a plastic or metal baby gate best?
Baby gates constructed of both plastic and metal possess their own advantages. Take plastic baby gates for instance: they are often inexpensive, light weight, and weather resistant. On the other hand, many consumers prefer metal products to reduce the harmful effect of plastic waste on the environment and are more sturdy than their plastic counterparts.
What are some good features in a baby gate?
The best baby gates incorporate these features: durability, sturdiness, and ease of use. When a baby gate is made of high-quality materials, you can rest assured that it will last a long time. Next, a sturdy gate which fits snuggly will withstand a child’s attempts to push it over. And finally, look for one that is easy to open and close.
How can parents be sure a baby gate is safe?
Make sure that the baby gate you purchase doesn’t have a gap which a child could slip underneath. Likewise, you won’t want one with rods wide enough apart that a child could put their head between the rods. Sharp edges and wood also present potential risks for children. As long as none of these dangers exist, parents can be sure their baby gate is safe.