You hear it often…what do I REALLY need for my baby?
Plenty of us parents don’t want to mess around with stuff we don’t need because let’s get real, babies already “gotta have this” and “gotta have that.”
But, when we’re paring down the non-essentials, there is one safety item that needs to make the cut and stay put on your “must have” list.
That item, of course, is a baby gate!
Here are 10 reasons why a baby gate is a must have:
1. Kids fall down stairs!
It is an absolute priority that you block access to any stairways in your home. Whether they lead to the basement, are outside on the porch, or connect to a second level, stairs are the bane of active toddlers or crawlers.
It is sad how many young children are rushed to the ER each year due to falling down a set of steps. Don’t let yours become part of those statistics!
At the top of each stairwell, make sure that you install a permanently-mounted gate that cannot be pushed out of place.
It is also important to block off the bottom of the stairs, if your child has access to it, because kids are notorious for attempting to climb them and then falling back down.
A gate that is installed at the bottom of the stairway can be a pressure-mounted gate, however, so you will have a little more flexibility when you are choosing one for that purpose.
2. Kids get into everything!
If you have a room that is not otherwise baby-proofed and doesn’t have a door that can be properly closed (or locked), the best solution you are going to find is…a baby gate.
So it will be more convenient for you to come and go throughout your house with relative ease, consider choosing one that comes equipped with a little “door” that adults can open/close with one hand. This way you can keep your little one out, while still keeping easy access.
3. Kids need a safe play place!
Besides being used for keeping toddlers out of no-no rooms or areas, baby gates can also be used to keep them contained inside a specific area that has been properly baby-proofed already.
Another favorite way to get this same effect is to use a “play yard” system. Either way, this method of keeping your little one safe and sound is very popular.
It’s pretty much a “throw the toys in the middle” solution that reduces stress and keeps you from chasing baby every second to keep them out of trouble.
4. Kids and pets don’t always mix!
Whether it’s because the baby might get hurt or your pooch would be in peril, many homes need to keep the family pets separated from the little humans. Either baby safety gates or pet gates serve this purpose well.
If you have large animals, then you might want to consider an extra-tall gate, or if you have some smaller pets that are allowed to wander, but don’t want the larger ones getting around, there are gates with special little doors for smaller pets to use while retaining “the big dogs.”
There are lots of options in this arena, so hopefully you can find something that will be the perfect fit.
5. Kids travel!
Well, most do anyway! And if you have a family that likes to go on vacation or head over to Grandma’s house, then a baby gate is likely to come in quite handy.
The best baby gate in this scenario is a travel gate that can be installed quickly and easily and folds down small when not in use.
Nevertheless, remember that when you are out and about, you are going to find plenty of situations where the area you are in is not baby-proofed. Instead of stressing about safety, just come prepared.
6. Kids are curious!
Do you have unique features in your house that seem to beckon and call your children, like a moth to a flame?
This could be a piece of exercise equipment or a fireplace. You may not necessarily want or need to block off the entire room, but you could find it necessary to make certain things “off-limits.”
Using a baby gate system that can wrap around items like these is a handy way to keep the kids away from danger, while still letting them roam otherwise.
7. Kids like the outdoors!
If your toddler is anything like mine, she will want to go “outside” any chance she gets.
Playing on the porch is a good compromise as long you have an outdoor gate that can keep her from wandering off into the yard or beyond.
An outdoor gate is unique because it is designed to withstand the elements, and can be permanently installed so that it is tougher to breach.
Make sure that if you let your child play on the porch that you have baby-proofed it and that the gaps between the slats of the railing do not exceed 4 inches.
8. Kids sometimes sleepwalk!
Even if you allow a fair amount of freedom during the day for your toddler because you are near them and can watch them in most of their activities, nighttime is a different story.
Once everyone is fast asleep, you can’t always know when your little one might be on the move. Especially if you have upstairs bedrooms or other danger areas, it is best to keep a baby gate up and ready to guard if it is dark.
Even if you use nightlights, make sure that you have a safe pathway to a bathroom or parent’s room, if they are allowed to go by themselves. If not, use the baby gate and a baby monitor to keep them in check until you can go to them.
9. Kids are climbers!
Just about the time you think you’ve got your toddler contained, think again. It doesn’t take long before babies turn into climbers. Sometimes a standard gate is sufficient, but other times, you will need to ditch certain models that are short or have “toeholds” built into them.
Go for a gate that is extra-tall and has long upright bars with no crossways pieces. If your tyke is mastering climbing, keep them baby-gated away from hazards such as drawers, bookshelves, or ladders. Soon enough there will be no keeping them down, but you can postpone it through the clever usage of baby gates.
10. Kids are your shadow!
Wherever mommy is, that’s where baby wants to be. Wherever daddy goes, little one wants to tag along.
That is just the way it is.
As you attempt to go about your duties around the house, just expect that you will have your children underfoot. That is, unless if you have installed a baby gate to keep them corralled.
The best idea is to make sure that the area to which they are confined is somewhere close by where you can monitor them. But if you are cooking, cleaning, or working on something that could pose a danger to them, you definitely want them to have their own area that is baby-proofed and perfect for playing in. Well, there you have it! As you can see a baby-gate can save you a lot of grief, stress, and worry as it works to keep your kiddo safe and happy!Happy Baby-Gating!
2 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why You Need a Baby Gate”
We’ve been using a baby gate our son who’s 14 months to keep him in his room to play all his toys are in there and it’s baby proofed. At first he was okay with playing in there with the gate closed but out of nowhere he freaks out when we put him in there and screams. He doesn’t even play in his room anymore when the gates open. Or he won’t play with us being in there he runs out and into the living room.We don’t know what to do because we don’t want him wandering house all the time getting into stuff and at times I think I’m being cruel. I don’t know what to do /:
Is this a tantrum or a fear??
Thanks for weighing in with your concern, Tiffany! That is a very developmentally normal response for a 14 month old. He probably has begun to associate that space with being closed in and being alone, so it is probably just normal fear and boredom that is being triggered. My suggestion is to change things up and try to use a different space to baby gate and put his toys for the time being, if you have another room that will work. Some kids also do okay with a play yard that is more centrally located in the home so that they can see mom and dad while they play. Please consider that he isn’t old enough to understand your reasonings for making such a nice, safe space in his room, so continuing to use that area while he is upset about it is largely counterintuitive. One thing you could try, at least temporarily, is to keep the toys in the room, with the gates closed, but not allow him to go into the room. Block him from accessing that area. (A little reverse psychology!) Instead use that time of putting his room in “time out” to let him have fun with a designated kitchen cabinet with safe items, or a box, or other such non-toy item to entertain himself with while keeping him near you. I know that makes things more difficult for you, but children who are supported through their fear times outgrow their fears faster and with a lot less tears. Also, consider letting him roam through most of the house, while gating off only specific “no-no” areas, so he is less likely to feel “caged.” No matter what you try, whether it ultimately works or not, remember that this stage of his life will pass quickly and his needs/wants will change. In a few short months, baby gates will no longer contain him anyway, so you will need to work on simply babyproofing the remainder of the house to make sure it is safe. I hope you find a solution that makes you all a lot less stressed! Thank you for reaching out for help! From one mom to another