Child Safety Gates For Uneven Walls
Usually about $90. The DreamBaby gate is very similar to the Summer Infant option above. It is a tension extra tall gate with a 2" threshold along the bottom edge, very sturdy construction, a child-proof locking mechanism, one-handed opening, swings both directions, and automatically swings shut. The opening is about 18" wide, which is a little better than the above options. This gate, if bought from Amazon, includes extensions for people with doorways larger than the typical 31", which is why it's the "extra tall and wide" version. In our tests, we could get it to fit a doorway as small as 38" wide, and as wide as about 70" (which is more like an opening between rooms than a doorway!). If your doorway is smaller (normal, like 28-32" wide), you can get the same gate but not as wide for about $50. Disadvantages? It doesn't have a hold-open feature to keep it open at 90-degrees, unlike the North States safety gate. Also, in one of our test units, the locking mechanism failed after a few months of use. The other one is still going strong without issues, so not sure what happened in the quality assurance department. As with any gate, be careful of small parts (screws, nuts) that can fall off if not tightened properly, so be sure to occasionally check the gate for loose parts. Interested? You can check out this DreamBaby Gate here.
Usually about $65. The top-rated Summer Infant Multiuse baby gate is basically tied with the #1 North States gate, so deciding whether to make it #1 or #2 was difficult. The gates differ in two primary ways. First, the Summer Infant gate is 34" tall (36" tall at the peak) while the North States gate is only 29" tall, making it an extra tall walk-through gate. It is difficult to know whether this is a pro or con. On the plus side, parents don't need to reach down so far to open the gate, and they don't need to worry about climbing as much. On the negative side, in our testing we realized that a lot of men and taller women like to simply step over the gate sometimes, especially when their hands are full or they're in a hurry. You will be hard pressed to step over this extra tall gate, so that's a definite down-side of its tallness. Second, the Summer Infant gate swings shut (swings closed) and locks automatically, which is super helpful - no more turning around and pushing it to shut. However, this also means that it uses a stop bracket (which is reversible to change swing direction), which sometimes snags your pants leg as you pass through. Couple that with the narrow opening (about 17" wide opening), and it can be a pain sometimes. The North States gate swings both ways for convenience, but doesn't auto-close like this one. Also, the Summer Infant gate is tension-mounted (even with the hardware kit, it's still tension-mounted) and very sensitive to the amount of tension you set during installation; if you over-tension, it will squeeze the opening too narrow and the gate won't shut; this isn't specific to this gate, however, so if you find your gate isn't closing properly always check tension first. So, there are some pros and cons for each, and you'll need to make an informed decision for your particular situation. Overall, however, you're getting one of the best gates currently on the baby market, regardless of whether you choose the Summer Infant or North States Supergate. Note that the Summer Infant Multiuse gate markets itself (on Amazon and on its own website) as good for use in doorways or at the top of bottom of stairs. They do this by allowing you to choose whether you're using a tension-fit (doorways) or mounted (stairs) option, while making sure you change gate swing direction so it doesn't open over the stairs. In our opinion, however, because the gate has a bar across the bottom that may pose a tripping hazard, we do not recommend installing it at the top of stairs. In fact, a parent emailed us and let us know that the instruction manual for the Deco actually says "to prevent falls, never use at top of stairs." In our testing, the widest doorway we could fit the gate into was 48" using the included extensions, so this definitely qualifies as one of the wide gates that could be used in larger doorways and openings between rooms. Interested? You can check out this Summer Infant Baby Gate here.