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Fencing in Baby on the Road

Matt Villano

The younger of our two daughters started walking earlier this month. We celebrated the occasion with cake for everyone and a family stroll around the block. Now, however, with our next big road trip approaching, my wife and I are panicking: How the heck are we going to keep this kid confined to certain rooms at our vacation rental for the holidays?

We didn’t really have this problem with our older daughter, L; she was more of a shimmier than a walker at first, and even when she did start walking in earnest, she was tentative, almost studious. In other words, we rarely if ever found ourselves chasing after her.

The baby? Let’s just say little R prances around like a psycho chicken. And that’s when she’s moving slowly.

Thankfully, I’ve got a number of traveling friends who have weathered similar situations in recent years. They were more than happy to suggest some options that could make our lives easier.

No. 1 on almost everybody’s list was the Soft & Wide Gate from Evenflo. Because this gate folds up to the size of an umbrella stroller, it’s easy to take on planes and stow in the overhead compartment. Another benefit: It stretches open to 60 inches, making it great for standard and oversized entryways alike.

(The fabric also is washable, which is great for that inevitable trip on which it gets filthy.)

Among those friends who prefer road trips, gates like the Easy-Fit Security Gate, from Safety 1st, also were popular. People seemed to like this style of gate for three main reasons: Simplicity, cost and portability.

Durability was another selling point, as the hard plastic of these gates can stand up to just about anything.

Finally, of course, some folks suggested the old-fashioned strategy of utilizing dining room chairs as a roadblock to keep baby in a particular area of the house. From a cost perspective, this option is second to none (because it’s free). Realistically, however, just remember: It only works until that little imp figures out how to shimmy under the seats.

What is your strategy for confining baby to certain areas when you travel with the kids? Leave a comment and let us know.

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