The Best Baby Gates for Tops of Stairs

Written by jeffery keilholtz
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The Best Baby Gates for Tops of Stairs
Baby gates keep unaccompanied kids away from stairs. (Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Baby gates act as barriers to keep small children from venturing into prohibited areas. Erecting a baby gate at the top of the stairs, for example, keeps a child from accidentally falling and seriously injuring themselves. The best baby gates for tops of stairs are easy to position, reliable when locked and made of strong and durable materials.

Hardware vs. Pressure

Select a baby gate for the top of the stairs requiring hardware installation. The KidCo Y Spindle Baby Gate, for example, includes a hardware attachment on both ends that latches the gate in place to railings or banisters. Many baby gates are locked into place with only the stress of the gate pressing into the wall holding (called pressure mounted). The pressure between the ends of the gate and the wall create friction to prevent it from moving. A baby gate can give way if enough force is applied. A baby pushing or falling into the gate, for example, can counteract the pressure between the gate ends and the wall and cause the gate to fall. A gate equipped with hardware keeps the device in place, even when pressure is applied.

Avoid Accordion Gates

All baby gates should be safe to use and encounter. In 2003 alone, according to Wrong Diagnosis, nearly 2,000 children were hurt, injured or killed due to faulty baby gates or dangerous product designs. The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, for example, noted accordion baby gate designs as especially treacherous. Accordion designs --- with their "V" and diamond-shape patterns --- are a means for children to injure and/or asphyxiate themselves, if they get their heads stuck in the gate.

Height of the Gate

Baby gates must be tall enough to prohibit your child from crawling over it. A gate that is too low opens up the possibility for your child to climb over the railing and fall down the stairs. Be sure your baby gate is a minimum of 75 per cent the height of your child. If your child is 44 inches tall, for example, the gate must measure at least 33 inches high.

Choose a Wide Gate

Wide baby gates also increase the safety and security of your child. A wide baby gate reaches both sides of doorway walls with greater ease. The more a gate must extend to position itself into, the less leverage it has on a child applying pressure on the gate from pushing or falling. A tall, oversized baby gate, equipped with installation hardware and a design pattern that prevents an appendage from going through is an ideal choice for the top of the stairs.

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