How to choose the best baby gate for your stairs…
Your baby is on the move – it’s time to baby proof! Those stairs are your biggest worry, and for good reason! It’s normal to feel nervous and scared over tiny details when you have a new baby in your home, but your stairs are definitely a cause for concern. You need to figure out what is the best baby gate for your stairs, and we have done the research for you.
Every day, approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. This adds up to almost 2.8 million children each year.
A baby gate for your stairs is a must, and there are so many to choose from. There are certain types of baby gates that work best around stairs – and we’d love to help you find the right one(s).
What type of baby gate works best for stairs?
Pressure mounted gates should be ruled out if you’re positioning it anywhere near the stairs, for the simple reason being that they are only held in place by tension and pressure. And there is always the slightest chance your baby could push it out of place.
Hardware mounted gates are the safest, in this case. You can even ensure that you purchase a gate meant for stairs which will have features such as hardware mounts that are adjustable and a door that only opens one way (away from the staircase.)
Baby gates that are meant to be used around your stairs will also not require you to step over any kind of bar along the bottom.
The concerns no one thinks about…
The height of your gate matters! You will likely want your baby gate as tall as possible, because there is a greater chance of serious injury if your child falls down the stairs.
Kids are sneaky – your child could easily line up a toy box to stand on just to have a peak over the railing, and ensuring you have a taller gate here can prevent your baby from toppling over the gate and down the stairs.
Maybe you need a banister guard? Banister guards are exactly what they sound like – a guard made of either mesh or plastic to keep your baby from reaching through the spindles on your banister.
Most of these stairwell baby gates will also come with a swinging door, extendable mounts to fit your banister / baseboards and other modifications that make them easy to install – even on the trickiest sets of stairs.
If you have a wooden staircase or wooden banisters, or if you’re lucky enough to have a staircase that has a door opening/two walls at the top – you can likely use any standard hardware mounted gate.
Things get a bit trickier when you have an intricate kind of staircase, or an open-plan staircase with only one wall at the top. But for these cases, there are all kinds of wall-mounting, extender kits that you can buy (most are linked with the gates you would buy them for).
How many gates will I need?
Depending on how many sets of stairs are in your home, and where your baby will be able to access, you may need two gates for the same staircase.
Deciding where your child will be allowed to play is a big choice you should make before purchasing baby gates. If your child’s room is at the top of the stairs, and their play room is at the bottom – you will need two gates for that one staircase.
3 things to do BEFORE buying a baby gate for your stairs…
- Measure the area! You should be taking measurements of the doorway/staircase for both width and height to ensure you buy the baby gate that will fit in that place the best.
- See how you will attach the baby gate to the stairs and/or the wall. Do you have banisters / railing that you will need to drill into?
- Make sure, if you do need to drill holes, that you’re drilling into something solid – not just drywall. If you can’t drill into something solid, make sure you purchase the proper gate that comes with drywall hooks or other modifications for drywall installation.
Top 5 Baby Gates for Stairs:
Product Weight: 11 pounds
Product Dimensions: 41.7 x 0.4 x 29.9 inches
Material: Metal (painted)
- Hardware mounted, safe
- Wide door opening
- Good height for stairs (tall)
- Door requires two hands to open
- No drywall anchors included (must find a stud to attach to or buy your own drywall anchors)
Product Weight: 9.7 pounds
Product Dimensions: 31 x 29 x 2.8 inches
Material: Metal (bronzed)
- No rail to step over
- Includes all hardware for mounting as a swing gate
- Wide door opening
- Plastic door latch
- Door latch is difficult to secure
- Longer installation time
Product Weight: 9 pounds
Product Dimensions: 33.2 x 2.2 x 28.6 inches
- Nice design (oak/wood), fits discretely into home decor
- Door opens with one hand (easy grip handle)
- Removable swing stop mechanism won’t allow gate to swing over stairs
- Lightweight / may not be as durable as metal gates
- May require extra hardware to install
Product Weight: 15.5 pounds
Product Dimensions: 42 x 30 inches
Material: Metal / Plastic
- Removable swing stopper – prevents gate from swinging out over stairs
- Red / Green lock indicator to tell you if gate is locked properly
- One hand release-handle on door
- May need re-adjustments over time (tightening mounts)
Product Weight: 11.7 pounds
Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 30 x 31.9 inches
Material: Metal (painted)
- One-hand operation and a swing-open door
- Comes fully assembled (easy install)
- Requires a flat mounting surface (at least 3.5″ wide)
- Can be difficult to open over time
- May require extra parts to install in certain areas
You child’s safety is important and we want you to pick the best baby gate for your stairs. To make this process easier, we have put together an easy to read comparison chart so that you can see how each of these products measure up against one another.
Comparing the Best Baby Gates For Your Stairs
|Regalo Top Of Stairs Expandable Metal Gate, With Mounting Kit||$||Metal (painted)||Lever / One Hand||41.7 x 0.4 x 29.9 inches|
|Easy Swing & Lock Gate, Bronze||$||Metal (painted)||Swing Door / Two Hand||31 x 29 x 2.8 inches|
|Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate||$||Wood||Swing Door with Handle / One Hand||33.2 x 2.2 x 28.6 inches|
|Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top Of Stairs Gate|
|$$||Plastic / Metal||Swing Door with Lock Indicator / One Hand||42 x 30 inches|
|Safety 1st Ready to Install Gate, White||$$$||Metal (painted)||Swing Door / One Hand||2.2 x 30 x 31.9 inches|
What You Can Expect For Your Budget
Hardware mounted gates can range between $30 – $150 and sometimes require additional mountings or adjuster pieces to fit your specific staircase.
Keep in mind that you may need to purchase two, if you need one at the bottom of the stairs and one at the top.
Gate Upkeep and Safety
- Hardware mounted gates need upkeep! Be sure to check the mounts and door latch to ensure your baby gate is still safe.
- Once your baby is interested in walking, you may need to be more careful. Tall babies may be able to climb over baby gate and this can be particularly scary near a staircase.
- Babies are sneaky – and the slats on the gate are tempting for them if they’ve dropped a toy on the other side or see something interesting. Make sure you purchase a gate where the slats aren’t wide enough for baby to get their arms or head caught between.
- Check your banisters / railing regularly to make sure nothing has come loose.
- Double check the gate door is latched properly when you come and go.
What you will need…
- a gate that opens ONE direction (away from the stairs)
- a hardware-mounted gate
- a wider gate door (when maneuvering down stairs, you need more space!)
- be mindful of the height of your gate (compared to the height of your child)
- installation flexibility – if your staircase has a railing or banister, you may need to make sure the gate you buy can be adjusted to fit there properly
What you will not need…
- a rail along the bottom (tripping hazard)
- a gate that you need two hands to open
- big slats / openings (very easy for baby to get stuck)
- a retractable gate – you need a long-term solution for those stairs!
- a mesh gate – you need a very sturdy, long-term material that isn’t easy to break through
Now that you know some of the child safety gates that are best for your stairs, you can easily find the gate that suits your needs.