As your baby becomes mobile, your home suddenly appears to be full of dangers. Stairs, balcony doors, kitchen cupboards and laundry drawers are all potential dangers, and baby gates and other home safety products like cupboard/drawer locks may need to be installed to keep your little one safe.
Although it is not rocket science, choosing what is right for you will require a bit of time. Not only do you have to identify where the dangers are, you will also have to find/decide on the right solution.
For your general home safety in kitchen, bathroom and laundry etc. it is fairly straightforward, however you would want the products to last so make sure you choose a quality that will see you through all your children. Plastics (and most of the devices are made from plastic) vary in their quality and ability to handle constant use/pressure and it is annoying having to go back and buy replacements.
In regards to stair gates and barriers, it is crucial that you think carefully about the space you need to secure. If it is a staircase, what are the limitations/dimensions for fitting a gate? Do you have a sturdy wall on each side? Or is one side the banister? Can you fit the gate away from the actual stairs or will the gate sit really close or even on one of the steps?
Often we want to avoid drilling into the walls and prefer a pressure fitted gate. This is understandable but keep in mind that a pressure gate gets its strength from its U-shape frame. This means that you have a cross bar at the bottom which is a potential trip hazard and limits its installation near stairs. A classic mistake is to install a pressure gate on the bottom step and the cross bar really becomes an obstacle you could trip over with your child in your arms.
Another thing to be aware of is that if you cannot obtain the correct pressure for the gate to be secure – maybe one side is the banister which gives slightly – then you will have to install wall cups for the pressure pads. That means drilling and you might as well have selected a wall mounted gate that suited the space better from the start! However don’t get me wrong, if your space meets all the criteria, then a pressure gate is a fantastic option.
If it doesn’t, you will find several great gates for securing stairs and doorways that are mounted to the wall. Although you have to drill, the upside is that you get much more flexibility regarding its installation. Some can be fitted on the outside of a door frame as well as on the inside and some can also be mounted on the diagonal. Or as a combination of those options.
As the gates are semi-permanent and you will have to open and close it every time to pass, it is worth getting one that can be clicked off the mounting hinges (without using tools) so that you can remove it for an event or for in-between babies.
Alternatively there is this ingenious auto-folding baby barrier from BabyDan called Guard Me. Instead of a swinging gate, Guard Me is a retractable barrier that gives your easy access to your doorway/staircase unless you pull it closed. Once released, it auto-folds to the side and is virtually invisible.
Now to areas that are not a doorway or staircase. This could be the kitchen area, double doors to the outside, an open fireplace or to keep your pet away from an area. In this instance you need more of a gated baby fence and something with great flexibility so you can create a perfect solution for your space. Look for a system of interchangeable panels and gates that lets you put the gate(s) where you want it and has flexible mounting options (inside, outside, diagonal) and the option of click release of the entire fence.
It can be a jungle out there but the more you have thought about your space and possible fixing points, the easier it will be for you to choose the right solution. Once you have bought it, it is paramount that you follow the installation instructions exactly as the gate or barrier will only be as safe as the way it is secured.
If you would like to read more about our BabyDan range, please click here.