Children need to spend time playing outdoors. However, there are times when outdoor fun can pose a safety issue. What if the outdoor play area is not fenced in? What if you are on a deck or porch and there is easy access to steps? Ensure your baby's safety by educating yourself on the different types of baby gates that can be used outside.
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Portable Play Yard
A portable play yard is a small enclosure that can be placed outside on a relatively flat surface. Think of it as a type of outdoor playpen. Make sure that the play yard is lightweight, so it can easily be carried but is sturdy enough to hold the weight of a growing baby. Some play yards can hold the weight of a 45-pound child. The play yard's frame needs to be strong, and its locking mechanism needs to be sturdy enough to withstand an adventurous baby. Some play yards even come with mesh tents, which provide a source of shade and protect baby against stinging insects.
Guard the Stairs
While playing on a deck or porch is fun, it can easily become dangerous if the stairs are not blocked off. Your baby can get seriously hurt from a tumble down wooden or cement steps. Since baby gates in these areas are likely to be semi-permanent, you want to buy safety gates that are made for outdoor use. These gates are weatherproof, can withstand rust and can attach effortlessly to deck rails. Many are made of aluminium and stainless steel.
Outdoor netting can protect babies and small children from openings in decks, patios or balconies. This is important because many babies get their heads stuck in between railings. You can buy netting that comes with its own hardware for attachment. Most safety netting is either clear or black, and is made of high strength commercial plastic. Netting is 36 inches high and can be purchased in rolls of 15, 30 or 50 feet. Since the netting is one continuous roll, it can be trimmed to fit the exact measurements you need.
Retractable gates are ideal for both wide and narrow openings. Since these gates can retract completely when not being used, they do not take up a lot of storage space. Most are made up of a combination of plastic and mesh and are weather proof.
While these are certainly not the only companies that produce safety gates, they are some of the more popular ones. Superyard is a company that manufactures the baby play yard. Deck Shield makes deck netting. Dream Baby, Kid Kusion and Playfence make retractable gates. Standard baby gates that are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use are made by OneStepAhead, KidSafe and The First Years.
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