When parents-to-be start creating a thorough baby registry, they think of items their newborn baby will use right away: tiny clothing, quality cribs, car seat, stroller, safe baby swing, bouncer, pacifiers, bottles — these items are pretty standard baby gear to include on a registry. However, in just a few short months, that newborn baby will be bopping around like nobody's business. All of a sudden, everything changes. As a mom of three who is currently pregnant with her fourth child, I remember exactly how overwhelmed I was when it came to selecting the best baby safety gates.
Having a mobile or partially mobile baby in the house means parents need to be diligent about their little one's safety. From potential choking hazards to fall hazards, accessible electrical cords, sharp corners, and more, ensuring a child's safety is an around-the-clock job. In addition to investing in baby safety items like outlet plugs, corner protectors, and cabinet locks, baby gates are another must-have item for your baby registry. Just like most other baby items, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for every family, because it really boils down to the layout of your home.
There are pressure-mounted gates designed for standard doorways, top-of-the-stair gates that come with hardware to secure to the wall, extra-wide gates for wide archways, extra-tall gates for curious climbers, and even extra-wide gate systems that double as enclosed play yards for open-floor home layouts. With so many choices — and so many things to keep your baby away from — parents-to-be should carefully calculate which areas of the home are most crucial to keep closed off.
As a been-there-done-that parent, I remember exactly how overwhelmed I was when it came to selecting the best baby safety gates, so after taking some time to figure out the style and number of gates you’ll need once your baby starts crawling, I invite you to take a look through the list below. Don't forget to bookmark this page so you can return when you’re ready to tackle that daunting baby registry.
1. Evenflo Position & Lock Gate
If you have multiple doorways in your home that you’d like to periodically gate off, this practical and affordable gate will get the job done. The $24 Evenflo Position & Lock Gate is pressure-mounted, but it can easily be moved and used in multiple doorways. Just keep in mind that this gate doesn’t "open," so if you want to get through, you’ll have to take it down or take a giant step over it (because this is a pressure-mounted gate, you shouldn’t use it at the top of stairways).
One five-star reviewer wrote, "I was concerned because of the mixed reviews, but for the price they are great. The units have an adjustable arm that allows you to fit them to a range of doorways in 1/2 in increments. I marked the setting I was using for each door so I can take them off and back on again without re-measuring and For some of my doors I added a small felt pad so they were snug (see pictures) to make sure they didn't get pushed out by the dog or me hitting them when I step over. I have not had any problems with breakage seen in some reviews, but they're lightweight wood so you can't stand on them or push them too hard."
2. Regalo Super Wide Adjustable Gate and Play Yard
At the opposite end of the price spectrum is this $99.99 Regalo Super Wide Adjustable Gate and Play Yard. However, it isn’t difficult to see why this particular model is 100 bucks. The Regalo opens up to 192 inches wide and stands 28 inches tall. Not only that, but it can convert from a super wide gate to an eight-panel play yard with no tools required. This makes it a perfect option for open floor plans or sectioning off big areas of a large room.
Here’s what one parent had to say: "This gate is the only one that I can use in so many places. I use it to separate our living so both my daughter and my dogs have their own space to play freely. My daughter loves chasing my dogs and they hate it, one of my dogs warned her with a bite but luckily no wound. Before having this gate, I couldn’t let my daughter play in the living room and I was so stressful and tired. Thankfully I found a solution. It’s very easy to mount to the wall, very sturdy. It can be round up like a playard with 2 doors on the sides. Or it can be setup as a double door gate like what I do. If you’re looking for a gate that can be use in different ways, this is the one. I highly recommend it."
As its name suggests, the Kidco Safeway Top of the Stair Baby Safety Gate is safe to use at the top of stairways. It's hardware-mounted, so this gate won’t budge when your little one is yanking or pushing on it (and trust me, they will). Its one-piece design swings inward and has no bottom bar to step over. It also works well in doorways and hallways. Even better? You only need one hand to open the gate, which is convenient for parents holding an infant, carrying laundry, etc. It will fit spaces between 24.75 to 43.5 inches wide. Grab one for $60 on Amazon.
4 Munchkin Easy-Close Metal Gate
The $58.49 Munchkin Easy-Close Metal Gate is a great option for doorways. This pressure-fit baby gate — which also comes with hardware for extra safety — is another option that's easy to open with one hand. Depending on your preferences, its dual-locking mechanism allows parents to set the gate so you can open it by pushing out or pulling in — or both. The gate measures 29.5 inches tall and can fit spaces that are between 29.5 inches to 35 inches wide. It also comes with a 2.75-inch extension, and additional extensions can be purchased separately.
A short and sweet Amazon review reads: "Finally. We went through six different gates that did not work. This one has it all. Easy to set up. Door locks when it shuts (very easy to close with hands full). Easy to open for the parent. Impossible for teeny tiny fingers to open (there is a button on top and bottom you pinch to open)."
5. North States Easy-Close Gate
The pressure-mounted North States Easy-Close Gate comes with plenty of options for parents. If you need to widen it beyond 28 inches, the good news is this gate comes with extensions. If you need to keep it open while carrying in groceries, it can swing open 90 degrees, click shut, and stay that way (otherwise it closes automatically). Parents should be aware of the bar at the bottom, and that the gate swings both ways. You can order this $54.99 baby safety gate at Walmart.
6. Regalo Easy-Open Wide Baby Gate
One again, if you’re in the market for a gate to fit an extra-wide doorway, this option could be a good one for you. The Regalo Easy-Open Wide Baby Gate is a $39.99 pressure-mounted gate with a walk-through door. With 6-inch and 12-inch wide extension kits, this gate can fit openings between 29 and 50 inches wide — making it ideal for doorways, hallways, and the bottom of stairs. Not only is it adjustable, but its all-steel frame makes it very durable. The gate also includes a safety-lock feature and wall mounts for added security.
One positive Amazon review reads, "We have had this now more than a year & still works great & looks great. This is right near my main doors, so it's opened & closed about eleventy billion times a day. It still works great, it was easy to install & it's shown NO marks despite my preschooler being less than kind to it."
7. Summer Infant Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate
The $63.57 Summer Infant Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate is not only functional, it’s easy on the eyes (I mean, just look at that bronze arch). If you end up with a climber on your hands, its extra height (36 inches) will be put to good use. This pressure-mounted gate features a dual locking, auto-close walk-through door that swings both ways along with optional hardware if you plan on using it for stairways.
One highly satisfied customer wrote, "This gate works great. I bought this gate knowing that soon I will be having a child but it works great as a dog gate as well. It is fairly easy to set up with the different extensions that are included. The best way to install is to find the extensions that work best then put in the fasteners. The metal is very strong and sturdy. I definitely recommend this product if you have baby or a puppy. I will probably purchase another one when we have a child to prevent them from entering certain spaces. Great product!"
8. Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top of Stairs Gate
The four-point hardware mount of the $67.49 Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top of Stairs Gate is a secure, simple piece for the top of stairways in your home. Parents have the option to open the gate in both directions, depending on what works best for them. Once again, the easy-open feature of this particular model is ideal for busy parents who are carrying child, laundry, or roughly a million other things. Just squeeze the buttons and push down to open. At the same time, its combination of motions makes it too difficult for your baby or toddler to figure out. Bonus: A green-red lock indicator will confirm your gate is locked securely. This gate fits openings between 29 and 42 inches.
One five-star reviewer wrote, "We live in a split level home, so the main floor is upstairs. After my 7 month old pushed the cheapie wooden tension gate down the stairs and almost fell down the stairs as well, I knew we needed a sturdier solution. After some research, I chose this gate. My husband installed it in a few minutes, and I adjusted the width so that we could "slam" it shut without having to mess with the button. It's perfect. It's ultra sturdy, swings wide open so that there's nothing to trip over when going down the stairs. Really does take only one hand to open, and you can just "slam" or kick it shut, My 4 and 7 year old have no problems opening the gate by themselves. They like the red/green indicator that tells them it's "safe" (green) or "danger" (red) for the baby."
9. Cardinal Gates Auto Lock Gate
At $82.74, the hardware-mounted Cardinal Gates Auto Lock Gate is ideal for parents to use in high-traffic areas of the home, as well as doorways or the bottom of stairs. This gate's auto lock feature allows you to pass in either direction with ease. Simply swing the gate shut and its door will automatically close. Another optional feature is a stop bracket that prevents the gate from opening over a stairway. You can adjust the width from 26.5 inches all the way up to 40.5 inches.
10. Dreambaby Chelsea Xtra-Tall Auto Close Security Gate
The Dreambaby Chelsea Xtra-Tall Auto Close Security Gate is packed with features and comes at the affordable price of $79.99. Thanks to this pressure-mounted gate's extra-tall height of 39.4 inches, it’s more than sturdy enough to keep your curious toddler contained and safe. Parents will appreciate that this gate can be opened with one hand by adults, but not by children. The auto-close feature is pretty handy, too. Just be sure to take measurements before you make your purchase, as this gate is only made to fit openings between 28 and 32 inches wide. If your opening is wider, you’ll need to buy additional extensions.
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