As your little one starts to explore and become more mobile, it's natural to be concerned about their safety at home. Your once seemingly harmless living space can now pose various dangers, from stairs and balcony doors to kitchen cupboards and laundry drawers. To safeguard your baby, installing baby gates and other home safety products like cupboard/drawer locks becomes essential. It's suggested to get on the floor and explore your home just like a crawling baby would to identify potential hazards!
Furthermore, there might be instances where you need to keep your baby and pets, such as dogs, separate. In such cases, taller barriers might be necessary, especially if you have energetic dogs that are prone to jumping.
Selecting the right baby furniture and safety products is a straightforward process, but it does require some careful consideration. Identifying potential hazards is the first step, and then finding suitable solutions that will last through the years and multiple children is equally important. Pay attention to the quality of the materials, especially for items made from plastic, as durability matters when dealing with constant use and pressure.
When it comes to stair gates and barriers, thoughtful planning is crucial. Take into account the specific space you need to secure. If it's a staircase, measure the dimensions and assess whether you have sturdy walls on each side or if one side is a banister. You'll also need to decide whether you can install the gate away from the actual stairs or if it needs to be positioned very close to or on one of the steps.
While pressure-fitted gates might be appealing for their ease of installation, they do come with some considerations. These gates rely on a U-shape frame for strength, which can create a potential trip hazard with its bottom crossbar, particularly near stairs. Additionally, if you can't achieve the right pressure for the gate to be secure, you might need to resort to drilling and using wall cups, making a wall-mounted gate a more suitable option from the start.
However, there are numerous excellent gates available for securing stairs and doorways that are mounted to the wall. Although drilling is required, these gates offer greater flexibility in terms of installation. Some can be fitted on the outside of a door frame or on the inside, while others can be mounted on the diagonal or even in combinations of these options.
Since gates are semi-permanent fixtures that need to be opened and closed frequently, it's wise to select a gate that can be easily clicked off the mounting hinges without using tools. This feature allows for convenient removal during events or in-between babies.
Alternatively, you can explore the innovative option of the auto-folding baby barrier, like BabyDan's Guard Me. Instead of a swinging gate, Guard Me is a retractable barrier that grants easy access to your doorway or staircase when not pulled closed. Once released, it automatically folds to the side, becoming virtually invisible.
For areas that aren't doorways or staircases, such as the kitchen, double doors to the outside, an open fireplace, or to keep pets away, a gated baby fence with great flexibility is the way to go. Look for systems with interchangeable panels and gates, allowing you to customise the gate(s) according to your space. Flexible mounting options (inside, outside, diagonal) and the possibility of click release for the entire fence are also crucial features.
In the end, the more thought and consideration you put into your space and fixing points, the easier it will be to choose the right safety solution. Once you've made your selection, follow the installation instructions meticulously, as the gate or barrier's effectiveness and safety are only as reliable as the way it is secured.