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Babies begin crawling between 6- and 10-months-old, and once they do, it’s time to babyproof. After the excitement of this major milestone wears off, you’ll quickly realize that your house can be a dangerous place for your fast-moving tot. Adding cushions to sharp-cornered tables, plugging up electrical outlets and investing in a sturdy baby gate are essential parts of the babyproofing process. Baby gates are especially useful because they block off sections of your home, protecting your baby from accessing dangerous places. A baby gate can bring parents peace of mind, even in smaller homes or ones without stairs.
Do You Need a Baby Gate?
Yes! Whether you live in a small apartment or a three-story house, a baby gate keeps babies safe, period! The best way to determine whether or not you need a gate is to get down on all fours and crawl around. If you can easily get into a kitchen cabinet that’s housing cleaning products, touch an electrical outlet or open a back door, then chances are your baby can, too. Best to be safe and include a baby gate in your babyproofing plans.
Types of Baby Gates
Pressure-mounted: These gates use pressure—think of a tension rod—to safely secure themselves to doorways and hallways. They are easy to install and remove, which is great for travelers or renters.
Hardware-mounted: These gates need to be screwed into the walls, so they’re much harder to remove. For this reason, they are the only acceptable gate for the top of the stairs.
Freestanding: These gates create an enclosed pen for your baby or a makeshift wall to temporarily block off places.
When shopping for a baby gate, make sure it meets the requirements laid out by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). The baby gate must be at least 22 inches tall, have vertical bars no more than 3 inches apart and contain a small space between the bottom of the gate and the floor so that your baby’s head doesn’t get stuck. There are so many baby gates out there that it can be hard to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve rounded up the 17 best baby gates to suit any home, below. Check them out!
Best Overall: Regalo Easy-Step Walk-Through Gate
Best Wooden: Storkcraft Easy Walk-Thru Wooden Safety Gate
Best Retractable: Dream Baby Retractable Gate
Best Freestanding: Toddleroo by North States Ultimate Playyard
Best for Doorways: Safety 1st Easy Install Auto-Close Walk-Thru Gate
Best for Stairs: Summer Infant Wood Banister and Stair Safety Gate
Best Convertible: Dreambaby Brooklyn Converta Play Pen Gate
Best with Door: Dreambaby Chelsea Swing Close Safety Gate
Best Tall: Summer Extra-Tall and Wide Safety Gate
Best Affordable: Regalo Tension Mount Expandable Baby Gate
Best Walk-Thru: Graco Safe N’ Secure Metal Safety Gate
Best Pressure Mount: Toddleroo by North States Extra-Wide Wire Mesh Gate
Best Decorative: Summer Infant Rustic Home Safety Gate
Best Custom: Homesafe by Summer Infant Custom Fit Gate
Best with Auto-Close: Munchkin Auto Close Safety Gate
Best for Fireplace: Winado Baby 6 Panel Fireplace Safety Gate