Child Safety Gates Reviews
We love this product, very easy to assemble, very strong and we love it as a playpen. Our dogs can run around whilst our child plays on the floor with his toys! Strong, Durable and nice and big, especially for a double doorway, love safety gate also!
The Regalo top-of-stairs baby gate fits all of our criteria, and has several other great features. First, this is one of the only gates on the market that attaches without having to drill holes or install screws into your railing posts. It uses Velcro straps, so it was very easy to install. Second, it can be opened and closed with one hand, and does not automatically swing shut (so you can leave it open during naps, or when everyone is downstairs already). Third, the railing comes with hardware so that you can attach it to two railings (one on each side), two walls (one on each side), or a wall on one side and railing on the other. Finally, the gate is well-reviewed for being sturdy, reliable, difficult for little kid hands to open, and long-lasting. The gate also swings both directions for convenience, though some may not like it swinging out over the stairs. People report using it on openings from 26" to 42" wide. A few limitations though. First, one of our testing babies figured out how to rip open the velcro and basically remove the entire gate from the railing! So that was scary. Also, there have been some recent reports about lower quality craftsmanship, like some flaking paint, failed welding points, etc. Note that our unit didn't have any of these issues, but just keep that in mind.
The locking mechanism needs to be child-proof! This seems obvious, but there are a lot of gates on the market with locks that babies figure out before their second birthday. Avoid gates with a simple button lock, or a simple lift-open mechanism. Your baby may not figure out how to open the gate now but give him or her another year and you'll be kicking yourself for not buying a gate with a better, relatively child-proof lock. All of the gates recommended below have well-reviewed locking mechanisms that are reliable, easy for parents to use, and difficult for babies to figure out (or physically grasp).
Usually about $50. The top-rated North States Supergate is one of the best reviewed baby gates on the market, and is fairly priced. It is a tension gate, meaning that there is no assembly required, it basically squeezes itself into your doorway. They provide wall cups that hold the tension arms in place to prevent slipping forward/back when baby pushes or pulls on the gate. The wall cups do screw into the wall, or you can use the double-sided mounting tape like we did. The tape comes in the box. It has a 2" tall threshold on the bottom, so it is NOT recommended for use at the top of stairs. We found that the gate is very sturdy and uses a clever locking mechanism that has two settings - one that requires only lifting the gate to open it, and another that involves twisting the lock for extra security. In both cases, we found that it only takes a couple minutes of practice to perfect one-hand opening. The gate also swings both directions for convenience, and swings closed very easily (but not automatically). You can lock it into the open position as well, as needed. The gate includes extensions that come with it, and in our testing, we found that it can fit doorways from about 31" to 38" wide. It measures 29" high when installed, making it easy for taller adults to step over it rather than opening it (we do this a lot!). This safety gate is also available in white or bronze, and this is the third year that this gate has appeared at the top of our best baby gates list (and for some great reasons!). Interested? You can check out this North States Baby Gate here.