Child Safety Gates For Uneven Walls
Where you plan to put the gate matters! Simple swing-open gates are great for doorways and at the top and bottom of stairs. But the ones that are tension-fit require walls on each side to support the outward pressure mounts; do not attempt to install these tension-fit gates in situations where one side is a wall and the other side is a railing post (like at the top or bottom of stairs). The outward pressure mounts will push the railings to the side and eventually give you a wobbly railing. The outward pressure mount gates are easy to install, but simply not safe near stairs. Also, do not install a gate at the top of the stairs if it has a bottom (step-over) rail - this is a serious tripping hazard, and should always be avoided. Because of these different uses of baby gates, we categorize gates by their primary uses: ordinary/doorways, versus top-of-stairs (sometimes called a banister gate). If you ever plan on using the gate near the stairs, then check out something like the Kidco Safeway gate, which is fantastic and can also be used in doorways if needed. The other option is to seal off an entire area (like a baby corral), or seal off a room with a very large entranceway; in either case, something like the North States Metal Superyard gates would work really well.
Usually about $70. This Cardinal baby gate comes in white (pictured), brown, black, and wood. It uses a really unique locking mechanism that none of our testing kiddos could figure out, which is a good thing! The best part is that it took about 5 tries for adults to master it, and once they did it was easily unlocked with one hand. The secret is to push down on both latch tabs while pulling up on the gate. That type of manual dexterity won't be found in a sneaky toddler trying to thwart your every attempt at keeping them safe! It meets all of the criteria we mentioned above: no step-over bar along the bottom edge, it can be attached to railing posts and/or walls, and is very well-reviewed. It doesn't swing shut automatically behind you, though it does close automatically if you give it a forceful swing shut. Like the Kidco gate, this can be mounted at up to a 30-degree angle for those imperfect stairway scenarios, so this is a great baby gate for unique angles between railings and adjacent walls. Notice how the pictured is mounted at an angle, that's a great capability that can fit basically all sorts of wall and railing layouts. It does have a stop-bracket to prevent swinging out over the stairs, but this is optional if you decide not to install it. The width adjusts from 26" to 40" wide, and it is just under 30" tall. In our testing, we found the Cardinal gates installation a little complicated, but we do note that there is a great video here (see the 5th image) that shows a step-by-step installation. Very helpful for those who aren't super handy, and the Cardinal Gates Stairway models are some of the best baby gates of the year! Interested? You can check out this Cardinal Baby Gate here.