Calling all new parents!
When you’ve got a new babe, you are going to have a lot of first-time experiences on your plate.
Babies don’t come with manuals, so here is Baby Gates 101 for beginner parents who have more questions than answers when it comes to corralling their progeny (i.e. ‘sweet little baby’).
To keep things simple, let’s do a Q & A format, so if you already have some of this baby proofing stuff figured out, you can quickly skip to the parts that you need the most.
(Note: Skipping NOT recommended, but I know, I know, you have a BABY, so of course, you are busy!)
Q. Can I hang my baby on a hook instead of buying a baby gate?
A. No. This is not standard parenting practice. Pretty much everyone else (except maybe other new parents) will frown at you if you attempt this procedure for keeping your baby from wandering all over the house. It is much safer to simply buy a baby gate. Besides, babies tend to squirm a lot, so that’s pretty much a no-go.
Q. Should I put cardboard on my stairs so that baby can use it like a slide?
A. No. Though sliding down may be rather fun, the bumping at the bottom might result in a trip to the ER. In the interest of safety, once your baby can crawl, screw a gate to the top of the stairs and keep the whole kit-n-caboodle closed and latched at all times. For good measure, if you have a little mountain climber on your hands stick a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, too.
Q. On the internet, I saw that I could make a DIY baby gate with a bunch of curtain rods across a doorway. Is that true?
A. No. Do not believe everything you read or see on the internet. There are some really lame people that think up hacks that are unsafe and, for the record, this is one of them. A contraption of this sort will only, at best, serve as the perfect escape route for your little Houdini or, at worst, turn into ‘the ladder that failed.’ Buy a real baby gate that isn’t a deathtrap. Don’t hack baby’s safety.
Q. My baby is not a baby anymore, but a toddler. When should I install my baby gate?
A. Several months ago, just before your baby (who was still a baby back then) learned to crawl or scoot all over the house. This would have saved you from hours of chasing baby around and finding her in far more messes and unsafe situations than necessary. Go ahead and put one up now anyway, but try to remember for your next kid that baby gates are supposed to be installed when your baby is still a baby.
Q. If my baby can climb up and over the baby gate I installed, should I count it as gymnastics class credit?
A. Only if your baby is a professional gymnast, otherwise no. If your baby gate has footholds, you bought the wrong kind! If your monkey can climb over the baby gate, you might need a taller gate. If your baby is too big for a baby gate, you left it up too long.
Q. I have a wide doorway opening. Is it fine if I just duct tape two baby gates together?
A. No. Duct tape is designed to be used for ducts and other fix-it issues, but in no way should be associated with baby proofing. If your gates are not wide enough, buy a longer one or get an approved extension piece that locks securely into place. Your baby will thank you for not being a cheapo.
Q. I only have one baby gate, but I have several escape routes that baby can use to disappear to other parts of the house. What should I do?
A. Buy more gates. You probably have one of those houses with an open floor plan where the kitchen, dining, and living room are all kind of connected in some strange arrangement that works great for grown-ups, but defies the logistics of using one baby gate. You can either buy several gates that can be used to block off all the exits in one general area or room, or you can buy a ‘play yard’ that creates a corral-type enclosure to keep baby in.
Well, that should cover the basics! You ought to be practically an expert in beginner baby-gating now!
Good luck and remember-- Baby proofing = Safety First!