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How to Choose the Right Child Safety Gates for Your Home

When your baby becomes mobile, you will likely start noticing all of the many places you don’t want her to go. A couple of well-placed child safety gates can help, but choosing a baby gate can be daunting. You may want to block staircases, wood stoves, access to active pets, or other potential dangers. In order to do this effectively, you will need to select the right type of gate, choose a gate this is JPMA certified, and be sure to install it correctly. A high-quality baby gate should be easy to open and closed for adults, but impossible for small children. Baby gates work best for children 6 months to 24 months old.

Select the Right Type of Gate

Child safety gates fall into two broad categories: hardware-mounted gates and pressure-mounted gates. Hardware-mounted gates are more or less permanently installed, whereas pressure-mounted gates can be easily removed and relocated within your home.

Within the broad categories of “hardware-mounted” and “pressure-mounted,” there are other safety gate features to consider. Hardware-mounted gates can either contain doors, or be retractable. Pressure-mounted gates can also consider a door, or they can be one solid piece. Accordion-style pressure-mounted gates should be avoided. These gate provide diamond shaped opening that practically beg little ones to start climbing.

Not every style of gate should be used in any situation. For instance, pressure-mounted gates should never be used at the top of stairs! Pressure-mounted gates, however, can be a good choice for other locations, especially if you may want to move the gate, or if you are in a rental situation and should not put holes in the walls.

Retracting baby gates — which can be used at the tops of stairs safely and can be relocated to different mounts installed throughout your home — have easily become the most popular modern safety gate option. A few retracting baby gate top picks include the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate, the Lascal KiddyGuard Avant Retractable Gate, the North States Supergate Extra-Wide Gate, and the Bindaboo Retractable Gate.

Choose JPMA Certified Gates

No matter which style of child safety gate you select, you should always ensure that the model you choose has been certified by the  Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). You can either search for a specific gate model on the JPMA database, or look for a JPMA certification sticker on the gate packaging and frame. This designation indicates that the gate meets the guidelines created by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). It also shows that the safety gate manufacturer has passed the certification program created by the JPMA.

In short, a JPMA certification is the easiest way to make sure your gate has been tested and certified to be safe for use.

Opt for a Gate That Opens

Before you are forced to interact with a child safety gate on the daily, you might think that hopping over a gate will be no problem. However, you will likely need to traverse the gate with your arms full of children, plates of food, bags of groceries, or other items. Furthermore, hopping over a gate can quickly become annoying. Although pressure-mounted gates without doors are among the least-expensive child safety gates, choosing one of these is most likely a mistake. Both hardware-mounted and pressure-mounted gates may contain doors that open and close. Retractable gates also make for easy access.

Consider the Look of Your Home

Baby-proofing your home does not mean that you have compromise your home style. Child safety gates are available in several different materials — such as metal, wood, plastic, and mesh — and in numerous different colors — like wood grain, white, black, and brown. Take the look and feel of your home into consideration when selecting the best gate for you. With so many options available, you are sure to find a functional gate that fits with your home decor. By doing some research and choosing carefully, you can have a home that is both stylish and baby safe.

Install the Gate Properly

Always install your child safety gate according the enclosed instructions. Failing to follow all of the directions could result in accident or injury. You will also need to figure out the current ASTM standards for child safety gate openings. These guidelines address issues like correct bottom spacing. “Bottom spacing” refers to the distance between the floor and the bottom of the gate. These guidelines are intended to help your gate function properly and keep your child safe. Follow them to a T to ensure proper functioning and the highest level of safety.