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Childproofing Checklist: Baby Safety Gates 101

Shop Smart! Before you shop for baby gates, print out the Baby Safety Gate Worksheet & Checklist

1. Consider Gate Location

Baby safety gates are effective barriers in many areas of the home and come in a variety of designs to meet different needs. Selecting the right gate for your space is key for both safety and livability – and it’s easy to do with a little planning!

Where is the gate going to be used? The location often dictates the type of gate you need. Most gates fall into one of two categories:

  • Hardware-Mounted Safety Gates
    Hardware-mounted safety gates attach directly to the wall or doorway using screws. These are the safest, most secure baby gates and should be used for dangerous areas such as stairways – especially at the top – and for long spans and irregular-shaped areas.
  • Pressure-Mounted Safety Gates
    Pressure gates stay in place using pressure applied to cushioned pads against the walls instead of screws. They’re great for the bottom of the stairs and in doorways and hallways, but should not be used at the top of stairs.

2. Measure Gate Opening

What is the size of the opening or area where you’ll be installing your gate? Baby safety gates are adjustable to fit a range of widths and can be lengthened further using extensions – some are even designed specifically for irregular shaped areas. Precise measurements are recommended before selecting and installing any baby safety gate.

  • Basic Straight Baby Gates: Doors, Stairs, Halls and Spans Measure the opening width straight across — as well as the height of partial walls or banisters if applicable. If installing gate on an angle, measure the width along the desired angle.
  • Baby Gates for Irregular-Shaped Areas: Hearths, Entryways Baby safety gates designed for irregular-shaped areas, such as curved entryways or fireplace hearths, are configured in movable sections and size is measured by running length. The HearthGate and Configure Gate are popular baby gates for irregular areas.

3. Any Special Installation Needs?

Most baby safety gates include hardware to install the gate into a wooden stud, wooden doorway or other secure wooden base. In other situations, installation kits help create a proper mounting surface to securely install baby gates. Plus, installation kits can help prevent or minimize damage to walls and woodwork.

  • Stairway Kits – A “No Holes” Solution (See Our Video for Banister Installation Kits) Banister, spindle and metal railing kits allow installation of safety gates onto stair railings without drilling holes into posts or woodwork. They work with most round, square and combination post styles. One kit is needed per post side; ie: if the stairway has a wall on one side and a post on the other, you’ll need one banister kit to install the gate. Stairs with banisters on both sides will need two kits, one per side.
  • All-Purpose Installation Kits Multi-purpose kits aid with safety gate installation for hollow drywall (with no stud behind the sheetrock), walls with tall decorative baseboards, and other special needs.

2 Responses

  1. My sister in law just had bought a kiddo safety gate and her banister posts are small width metal posts. She also has a window in between where the other side would go. Its a small split level house so a gate is necessary. Do you have any ideas for her?

    1. Hello,
      Yes! The Metal Stairway Bannister Installation Kit by Cardinal Gates works on the thin metal posts, and both the Kidco Gateway and Cardinal Stairway Special can be installed on angles which should be able to work around the window. If they can’t come up with a solution, they can google professional babyproofers in their area for a more customized solution.
      See Metal Banister Installation Kit info & links to buy Cardinal Baby Gates on this post:

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