Child Safety Gates For Uneven Walls
The gate needs to be sturdy! Babies will amaze you with their ability to foil all your best attempts to keep them safe. They will try to pull the gate, push the gate, climb the gate, lean on the gate, or bite the gate! All of the gates recommended below are rated as the best in terms of sturdiness, to help you keep your sanity when you can't have your eyes on baby 100% of the time. And if you're using a baby walker (see our best baby walkers here), you'll want to be extra careful!
Make sure your doorway isn't too wide! Some baby gates come with extensions to accommodate larger doorways, but other gates do not. Keep in mind, if your door opening is greater than 31" wide, then you will likely need at least one extension. In our recommendations, we provide specifications regarding door widths and when available, links to extension kits that fit the application.
You want to open the gate with one hand! Carrying the baby? A laundry basket? Groceries? Talking on the phone? The last thing you'll want to do is put something down because both hands are required to open the gate's locking and swing mechanism. All of the gates recommended below have well-reviewed locking mechanisms that can be opened with one hand. It's a complicated trade-off between making it difficult for a baby to open, while keeping it easy enough for an adult to open with one hand. This usually means the locking mechanism will require larger hands to grip and pinch/rotate/slide. As a result, some adults with smaller or weaker hands (like older relatives) tend to have some difficulty with modern gate locks.
Usually about $35. The Regalo Easy Step baby gate is a great option, and one of the best-selling baby gates on the market. Because it is not for use near stairs, it uses pressure mounts for installation that push out against two walls. It fits openings from about 29-39" wide, and in our testing, we needed to add an extension to get it to fit one of our larger openings of about 42". Or you can just purchase the wider version that includes extensions for up to 50" applications, or the enormous and frankly quite excellent Regalo 192" super wide baby gate! That Regalo super wide gate is perfect for sectioning off an entire room or making a circular playpen. The gate uses a unique lever-locking mechanism, which we found logical to use, but some of our reviewers said they needed to use two hands to open it (to pull back and lift up simultaneously), which was a pain. Personally, my husband and I could do it with one hand after getting the hang of it. We also found the opening pretty narrow, especially for wider thighs and hips, or if you're carrying something. It's also rather short, so if your toddler is becoming a monkey this definitely won't stop them. There is a taller version of this Regalo gate, which you can check out here. Note that the gate only swings one way, it cannot be reversed. Also, when you close it, you need to latch it yourself using the same (difficult for some) locking mechanism. Overall, we thought the build quality was quite good, and when mounted correctly it felt very secure and not possible for little fingers to figure out (with older kids about 5+ able to figure out with both hands). Note that while this gate suggests it can be used at the top of stairs, we do not suggest this type of application: it has a step-over rail at the bottom of the gate, which is a tripping hazard for that type of application. Interested? You can check out this Regalo Baby Gate here.