Product Reviews Nursery
In this section, you’ll find our top picks for safety gates as well as safety advice for toys, baby proofing, first aid supplies, and top safety must haves.
Best stair gate. KidCo’s Safeway Gate ($45, pictured) comes in different versions: a steel gate (G20) for straight stair openings and a model that can be mounted on angled stairways. The latter is available in both steel (G22) or wood (G32). The basic gate fits openings 24.75” to 43.5” and can be used for either stairs or windows. Reader feedback on this gate is very positive, with fans loving the ease of installation and small footprint (when open, it doesn’t restrict the stairway). If you have angled banisters or walls, the Safeway G22 Angle Mount gate can be installed in any position. It sells for for $55.
Best soft gate. Evenflo’s Soft and Wide Gate ($40) is 20” tall and expands from 38” to 60” wide—perfect for funky openings you need to gate. Mesh lets baby see through the gate. However, this gate isn’t designed to be set-up and removed frequently—it is better to set it up and have the adults walk over it to access the non-baby zone.
Best play yard gate. Want to create a safe place for an infant to play in the living room? The North States Superyard XT Gate Play Yard ($62 to $120) is an expandable panel system (six or eight panels) that is 26” high and provides a play area of 18.5 square feet. A two-panel extension kit ($26-$31) provides even more area. Some readers tell us they use this to protect large Christmas trees from toddlers. Yes, it is all plastic, but it is durable enough to corral toddlers. A few parents say it is hard to open and close the gate (the hinges are tight), but overall, readers give this play yard solution a thumbs up.
Best fireplace hearth gate. A fireplace is an obvious place baby doesn’t need to visit—but how do you protect it? KidCo’s Auto Close HearthGate ($136) is pricey but does the trick. It is 29.95” tall and works on hearths six feet wide by two feet deep; extensions are available for bigger openings. The HearthGate also includes a walk-through gate that closes automatically.
Best window guard. Guardian Angel ($76 for a four-bar gate that can extend from 35-58") sells affordable metal window guards that fit just about any type of window. Guardian Angel window gates are hardware mounted. A must for low-windows your toddler can access or if you live in a high-rise condo building. Remember babies can climb furniture and access windows you think are safe— keep them locked or install a window guard. Runner-up: Kidco sells a Mesh Window Guard ($32) in case you don’t want metal bars over your windows. Another idea: the Super Stopper from Parent Units ($9) is a simple device that suctions on a window, preventing it from opening too far to let a toddler out. Great for travel or grandma's house.
Safety gates are needed in four key areas:
◆ STAIRS. Gates should be permanently mounted at the top and bottom of stairs.
◆ NO BABY ZONES. You may want to gate off the dining room or other areas baby isn’t allowed.
◆ PLAY AREAS. Some gates can be linked together to form pla- yards—a space where baby can play, but not escape.
◆ WINDOWS/FIREPLACES. Unless you plan to leave your windows closed and locked, safety gates are needed when a window is opened. Fireplaces hearths are another area that need gating.
Gates come in two flavors: hardware or pressure mounted. Hardware-mounted gates are permanently affixed to walls or door openings. Pressure-mounted gates use a spring to create pressure, holding the gate in place. In general, we recommend hardware- mounted gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Pressure-mounted gates are fine for no baby zones.
When it comes to hardware-mounted gates, it is always best to mount the gate’s brackets into solid wood (not drywall). Use a “stud finder” (sold in hardware stores) to find wood studs in walls.
Here's a PDF with more safety advice: which baby products should be banned and more: Click here.
Click on the Recommended tab above to read reviews of our top picks
A EXCELLENT-our top pick!
B GOOD-above average quality, prices, and creativity.
C FAIR-could stand some improvement.
D POOR-yuck! Could stand some major improvement.