Best Safety Gate 2021
Best Safety Gate 2021
Scroll down for our picks for Best Pressure Gate, Best Play Yard Gate, Best Fireplace Hearth Gate and Best Window Guard.
New to crib shopping? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Safety Gate for advice and tips.
Stairs—yes, the most obvious place to start baby proofing your home. Gates come in two flavors: pressure and hard-mounted. In our opinion, the safest option is a hard-mounted gate that can’t be pushed over like a pressure-mount gate.
After installing 20+ gates currently on the market, we think the KidCo Safeway Gate is the best safety gate for hard mounting to the top of the stairs or anywhere you want to block baby’s access.
The gate comes in a few different versions: straight ($44.99, available in black or white metal) as well as angled to fit all types of stairs. The angled version is a bit more expensive and comes in metal (black or white), and wood (,).
These gates work in openings from 24 3/4″ to 42.5″ wide. If you have an extra wide opening, KidCo also offers extension for angled gates–you can buy a 10″ extension. The gate has one hand operation for adults plus quick release hardware if you need to remove the barrier completely. One key quality feature: a stop pin that prevent the gate from swinging out over the stairs. Plus there is no bottom threshold to trip on (as with many pressure mount gates). The gate can also be easily removed if needed. Check out the video below:
Reader feedback on this gate is very positive, with fans loving the ease of installation and small footprint (when open, it doesn’t restrict the stairway).
Yes, KidCo also makes pressure mount gates of similar quality, which can be used for gate off areas other than stairs. However, we still think hard-mounted gates are the safest option.
Best Pressure Gate
While we prefer hard-mounted gates for areas like stairs, pressure mounts gates do have a purpose—they are best at blocking access to rooms that may have baby hazards (like the laundry room pictured above).
For this, we would recommend the Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate pressure gate.
This gate has a one-hand opening for adults with an additional safety lock and fits in doorways between 29″ and 39″ wide. Made of steel, it comes in white and includes a 6″ extension kit. For added strength, they include additional wall suction cups. The Easy Step is priced at $39.99 for the 30″ tall version. We judged the build and overall quality of Regalo’s presure gates to be the best on the market.
Other versions are available including an extra tall model (41″). Regalo also sells extensions of 4″, 6″ 12″ and 24″. While the gate is popular, some parents note it’s easy to mis-install it, then wrongly conclude it’s defective. Folks we interviewed recommend reading the directions carefully before trying to install it. Once they got the hang of the install, readers said they loved the gate.
Best Play Yard Gate
This style of gate is designed to keep baby in, not out of an area. Set up in a hexagon (or octagon), play yard gates are best for babies who aren’t walking but in the cute sitting there and crawling phase. Once a baby can stand, they may be able to exert enough pressure to push over a play yard gate.
The North States Superyard XT Gate Play Yard is our pick as the Best Play Yard Gate. It is an expandable panel system (six or eight panels) that is 26” high and provides a play area of 18.5 square feet. A two-panel extension kit provides even more area.
Some readers tell us they use this to protect large Christmas trees from toddlers. Yes, it is all plastic, but it is durable enough to corral babies who are crawling. A few parents say it is hard to open and close the gate (the hinges are tight), but overall, readers give this play yard solution a thumbs up.
Best Window Guard
An often over-looked area of baby proofing, window guards are important if you open windows for fresh air.
Here’s the best window guard we found in our research: Guardian Angel. The company sells affordable metal window guards that fit just about any type of window ($89.95 for a four-bar gate that can extend from 35-58″). Guardian Angel window gates are hardware mounted.
Yes, these are a must for low windows your toddler can access or if you live in a high-rise condo building. Remember babies can climb furniture and access windows you think are safe— keep them locked or install a window guard.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing a multitude of safety items like gates and window guards since 1994. In addition to hands on inspections, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and met with safety regulators—and when we travel, we pay our all of our own expenses. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted on sites like Amazon, as well as our own message boards. Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!
How we picked a winner
We evaluate safety gates with in-depth inspections, checking models for overall quality and ease of use—for example, checking ease of installation and testing with toddlers who known escape-artists. Yes, we are looking at you, little Susie.
We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking gates on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with retailers of nursery products to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.
The reliability of manufacturers is another key factor—we meet with key company executives of baby safety companies at least once a year. Since we’ve been doing this since 1994, we have developed detailed profiles of major brands that help guide our recommendations. See below for links.
7 Things No One Tells You About Buying A Safety Gate and Other Safety Tips!
1. If you’re confused about which type of gate you need, you’re not alone.
In the past, if you wanted to block off a room to keep your baby or a pet out of a room, your had basically one kind of gate: a pressure gate. Pressure gates are sized slightly larger than your opening and then squeezed into the space using a spring to create pressure. Problem is, they can be pushed over, especially by a large toddler or pet. This makes a pressure gate at the top of the stairs a no-no.
To solve the stair dilemma, consider hard-mounted gates. These have a frame that is permanently attached to the walls or banisters with screws. Then there is a swinging gate with a parent activated latch so you can get up or down the stairs. Of course, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to safety gates.
Options to consider are swinging openings on pressure gates, taller gates, wider gates or extensions for wide openings, and new fabrications such as wood and wood/metal combinations. Yes, all the extras cost money; a basic wood or plastic pressure gate to seal off a dining room sells for as little as $10, while a hard mounted stair gate with stained wood and black metal spindles runs nearly $80. Extra wide gates can be over $100.
2. Don’t overlook the BOTTOM of the stairs.
That’s right, you’ll need a gate for the bottom of your stairs too. We recommend you place the bottom gate two steps up from the landing. Why? This way your baby can practice climbing stairs, with little chance of injury.
3. Make sure the hard-mounted gate has a stop pin for safety.
A stop pin keeps the gate from swinging over open stairs. Our choice for best safety gate, the KidCo Safeway, has a stop pin:
4. Gates are for more than stairs.
Gates and barriers are important to keep kids out of fireplaces, pet rooms and laundry rooms, to name a few. And don’t forget window barriers. You can still have fresh air without worrying your baby will fall out the window if you use window gates/guards.
5. If you’re renting, still use hard mounted gates.
I know what you’re thinking: my landlord is going to kill me if I attach a hard-mounted gate on my stairs. We know how you feel, but it’s for your baby’s safety. Patching walls is actually simple; check out the following videos on how to patch dry wall and wood.
6. Don’t wait until your baby “almost” does something dangerous before you baby proof your home.
Babies grow up so fast! In the blink of an eye your bundle of joy is calmly sitting in the middle of the living room sucking her fingers (or a toy, whatever). Next thing you know, she is scaling furniture and trying to make a run for it out an open door.
Of course, every baby is different, so let’s talk typical milestones. Baby this age can do that: Rolls over: two to 4.5 months. Stands holidng onto something: five to 10 months. Walks holding on to furniture (cruisers): 7.5 to 12.5 months. Walks alone: 11 to 14.5 months.
Yes, you read correctly: before you know it, your baby is standing, cruising and walking. And Murphy’s Law of baby safety says your baby’s attraction to anything is directly proportional to how dangerous it is. So get down on your hands and knees and crawl through your home just like your baby will. Check for hazards like hanging lamp cords, blind cords, open electrical sockets, easy to climb items, anything you can think of that will attract babies. Then baby proof them all! See #7 for our top safety must haves.
7. Here are our top 11 safety must-haves.
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