Child Safety Gates For Uneven Walls
Usually about $40. This is a great bang-for-the-buck cheap baby gate that has some great build quality, safety, and usability. We were really impressed by what Summer Infant has squeezed into this inexpensive baby gate that's designed for the top or bottom of stairs. Out of the box, it had a nice classic wooden style that reminded us of older gates, but this one definitely has much better modern features. Assembly and installation was just as involved as the other stair gate options given that you need to attach everything to the side walls and make sure that you have a good anchoring there (i.e., either to a stud in the wall, or using super strong anchors - preferably not the little ones provided with the gate). We were able to install it in our rather wide (44") hallway at the top of our stairs without any issues. One side was attached to the top bannister post of the stairs (a 3" x 3" wood post), and the other side to the wall that happens to have a stud in it. If you're not comfortable screwing the gate into your wooden bannister, then you can buy a separate installation kit that basically uses straps to attach that side to the bannister so you don't need to put holes in the wood. While we got it into a wide 44" opening, it can go even wider - up to 48" wide, according to the manufacturer (or as narrow as a 30" span). So that's pretty wide, especially for a relatively inexpensive gate. The gate itself is 32" tall, and it gets mounted about 1" above the floor, making it about 33" tall in total. which is about average for a baby gate. While we mounted the gate at the top of the stairs, it could theoretically be mounted in doorways or anywhere else, since the upper and lower unidirectional swing-stoppers are removable. Those are important safety features when used by the stairs, but not necessary when used anywhere else. We liked the one-handed operation, the strong and sturdy construction and hook-latch closure. We didn't like that you can't just swing it shut, the wood was a lighter color than in the photos, the wall mounting kit is pretty confusing and imperfect, and it doesn't include the kit for attaching to your bannister without screwing into it. But then again, it's only $40 so maybe those concerns aren't that major! Interested? You can check out this Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Gate here.
Usually about $50. The North State baby safety gate for the top-of-stairs is basically tied for second place - it's a toss-up between the Kidco and North State options. It has all the great features as the Kidco gate, such as one-handed open, reviewed as sturdy and reliable. It doesn't swing shut automatically, but if you give it a forceful shutting swing it does lock automatically without any issues, just like the Kidco. There are only a few differences. First, the North States is brown/bronze or linen color rather than white or black, and fits applications that are a bit wider (up to about 46"). People actually report that the North State locking mechanism is a bit better than the Kidco, since you do not have to lift the gate to open it, but that wasn't our experience. We used it on openings from 28" to 46" - note that some places list it as up to a 48" opening, but that wasn't our experience.