Parents everywhere know that the staircase can be the most dangerous place in a home. As soon as your baby starts crawling they are attracted to it like a magnet. No matter how many times you try to move your baby away she just crawls right back. Maybe it’s the challenge that attracts your little one, but what better way for a little one to build strength and coordination than by climbing your home’s Mount Everest? Whatever the reason, as a parent it can make you break out in a cold sweat. You turn around to switch the laundry and your little guy is halfway up the stairs, or worse halfway down! The obvious solution is to purchase a baby gate to protect your staircase. There are many many types of baby gates available here are some tips for finding the best one for your needs.
- Consider how YOU use the stairs. Are they seldom used, or a main thoroughfare in the home? Do other children need to access the stairs? Will you need to carry things up and down the stairs? Are the stairs the only thing that need to be blocked off? By taking this step you will ensure that you purchase the right type of gate for your needs. For example, if there are other children that need to access the stairs, make sure you get a gate that they can open, or if you will be carrying things up and down the stairs, get a gate that you can easily open and close with one hand.
- Beware of gates that are so hard to open that you’ll need to step over it. This is my biggest pet peeve. That type of gate is very dangerous for you and your family. Get a gate that your baby can’t open but the rest of the family can.
- Watch out for gates that have a bottom connection that you must step over. Again, you are setting yourself and your family up for a fall. There are many gates that have an open bottom area so that you, and your family won’t have to worry about tripping.
- Pay special attention to your top gate. If your gate fails on the bottom of the steps due to a child climbing on it, it is much less dangerous than if that same malfunction happens at the top of the steps. We recommend using a gate that attaches with brackets (rather than one that uses pressure to attach to the wall). We have also found gates that attach to the bannisters, so you won’t need to put holes in your wall. This type of gate would be ideal if you don’t have a wall on either side to mount to.
- Think about your banisters as well. Any railings with a gap larger than three inches should be protected with netting or a plastic barrier.
- Read reviews from other customers. It may be tempting to head to your nearest big box store and get the first baby gate that you see, but doing your research will pay off in the end for both your baby’s safety and your family’s safety.
If your staircase is protected by a door, the Door Monkey is a great first line of defense to keep your child from accessing it.