If you think that having a newborn baby is a challenge then just wait until they start to move around independently! This physical change is both exhilarating and terrifying for parents as the joy of seeing your baby reach new milestones is tempered by the myriad of new dangers that present themselves.
If you haven’t already done so, you will need to consider taking steps to prevent them from falling down the stairs. The easiest way to do this is to fit baby stair gates at the top and bottom of each staircase.
There are 2 main types of baby stair gate:
- Pressure Fit Stair Gates
- Screw Fit Stair Gates
Do NOT use Pressure Fit Stair Gates at the top of a staircase!
They have a metal strip and the bottom of the gate and constitute a very dangerous tripping hazard – you are probably better off without a stair gate at the top of your stairs than installing a pressure fit one.
(1) Pressure Fit Stair Gates
As the title suggests, these are kept in place by extending the arms to push against the wall or wooden staircase post.
The main benefit of these types of gate is that they are very easy to fit and adjust and, since they are not screwed into the walls/posts, they do not damage your home (although they can leave pressure marks)
You must ensure that they are fitted securely, however much you worry about your paintwork.
I repeat … they MUST NOT be fitted at the top of the staircase due to the risk of tripping – every year thousands of parents ignore this advice and casualty departments are well used to having to deal with the consequences. Not only is it a tripping hazard for your toddler, but if you trip over the bottom bar whilst carrying your child the consequences can be every bit as serious.
Having said that, they are perfectly fine for use at the bottom of a staircase.
Some good pressure fit gates include:
- BabyDan Premier True Pressure Gate (UK)
- BabyDan Danamic True Pressure Gate (UK)
- Regalo Easy Step Walk Through Gate (USA)
- North States Supergate (USA)
(2) Screw Fit Stair Gates / Top of Stair Gates
As the name suggests, these safety gates are fixed to the walls and/or stair posts with screws. Unlike the pressure fit stair gates, they can be used safely at both the top and bottom of staircases. They are more difficult to fit and leave holes when removed, but they are the only safe option at the top of the staircase so you will need to buy at least one of them. One benefit is that, if they are fitted properly initially, you won’t need to check them as often as pressure fit gates since they tend to stay fairly firmly in place.
As with all child safety equipment, you would be well advised to train the grandparents how to use them properly – otherwise you might end up with a gate that has been forcibly detached from its housing! (I won’t mention any names grandpa!!).
Some good screw fit stair gates / top of stair gates include:
- BabyDan Extending Wooden Safety Gate (UK)
- BabyDan Super Flexi Fit Extending Gate (UK)
- Evenflo Top of Stair Gate (USA)
- Safeway Gate (USA)