To Safety Gate Or Not To Safety Gate
There is a little debate over whether or not to babyproof when your littlest family member arrives, especially once they start to get mobile.
On the one hand it’s important to teach children what is and isn’t okay for them to touch – either for their own safety (heaters, stoves, sharp objects and so on) or for the safety of what they’re touching (glasses, phones and other breakable items), but it can really hard to watch and redirect your baby or toddler ever minute of every day – especially if they’re not the only little one in the household.
That’s why I really like using a baby gate. To me it feels like a bit of a middle ground to baby-proofing all the things in the house, or letting baby/toddler roam freely. Especially when a lot of homes these days are quite open-plan, so you can’t always simply shut a door to block their path.
When our youngest was little we had a safety gate blocking the bottom of the stairs and the kitchen – which took care of the most significant hazards in the house. The rest we could manage with teaching her watch she could and couldn’t touch.
Ultimately though it’s going to depend on what works for your family; what you think is best, what suits your child’s personality and also the layout of your home how, where and if a safety gate is right for you.
What To Look For In A Safety Gate
Safety gates have two basic functions; to keep smaller (or possibly furry) family members in (or out) while allowing others to pass through easily. Which means a safety gate has to be easy to operate, but also very secure. It also need to be tall enough to discourage children or pets from climbing and jumping over it.
We testing the Dreambaby® Liberty Tall Security Gate in our hallway and while our 3 year old wasn’t able to operate the simple 2 step latch it only took showing our 6 year old once how to do it and he was able to open and close the gate easily.
It’s a very simple latch to operate and can be done one handed – just slide the button across with your thumb, lift the gate to disengage the lock and swing it in either direction to open.
Another feature I really like about the Dreambaby® Liberty Tall Security Gate is the “stay open technology”. I would have appreciated this back when we used a safety gate when our kids were younger, because I cannot count the number of times I’d quickly step into the kitchen to grab one thing, turn around, and bash my thighs on the already shut gate (which led to not just bruises on my legs, but damaging the wall!)
Or I’d come out of the kitchen, or down the stairs with an arm load of things and have to put them down to find something to prop open the safety gate – there would be no such issue with the Dreambaby® Liberty Tall Security Gate, because all you have to do is open it to 90 degrees and it automatically stays open, in either direction.
Also, the most important thing is finding a safety gate to fit the opening you wish to block. Measure the inside of the door or hallway you intend on installing your safety gate in, and find a safety gate with that range of measurement. For example our doorway is 84cms and the Dreambaby® Liberty Tall Security Gate fits in openings from 75-84cms, so it fit in perfectly. For a wider opening the Dreambaby® Liberty Tall Security Gate has optional extensions (purchased separately) and can be made to fit a space of up to 2.8 meters.
It’s also really simple to install following this video – and also shows how easy it is to open, close and use the “stay open” feature:
Where To Use A Safety Gate
As I said we used our to block the kitchen and the stairway, however safety gates can used in many different ways.
- To block external doors, so you can open them for fresh air without letting children (or pets) in or out.
- For a home office, so you can keep children out while still being able to leave the door open to listen and watch them.
- To keep them in a room that’s been set up as a safe play space.
- Across an older sibling’s doorway so that they can escape to their own space without needing to shut their bedroom door.
- They can also be handy when transitioning from a cot to a normal bed to block their bedroom door so toddler can’t wander around the house while you think they’re asleep!
Ultimately safety gates cannot replace the need to supervise your children, but they can provide you with a little peace of mind or keep little ones out from underfoot with necessary.