When it comes to child-proofing your home, one of the first things you should consider is the baby safety gate. Neglecting to add baby gates to your home can mean risking your baby's safety when wandering around the home even if you don't have steps. It only takes a second of distraction and your child could be in a dangerous situation. Many parents are multi-tasking during their day and it is impossible to be in the same place as your baby every minute of the day to keep an eye on your child's actions. This is why a baby gate is so critical in a home no matter what the size. A small apartment can be just as dangerous as a four bedroom home when it comes to a wandering toddler. The basic areas a baby gate is used for include blocking stairways and hallways.
They also may be used to keep a baby or young toddler out of the kitchen.
There are several types of baby gates to choose from. Nowadays, manufacturers have made them easy to install and easy to open and close and also easy to store away. This is important as most baby gates are blocking a high traffic area in which adults and older children must constantly use. Beware of old baby gates of the past that are made of flimsy material and have the accordion like open and close functionality. These types of old baby gates are not safe at all, but are very dangerous as a small child could get their head caught in between the slots. While these types of gates are no longer sold, you may still find them lying around at garage sales or passed down from family or friends. Go for the newer model baby gates which are much sturdier and open and close easily for adults to pass through.
If you are using a baby gate in a high traffic area like a hallway, a flexible gate that is retractable is suitable for this type of area. You want to be sure that it isn't easily movable by your child (of course), yet not a hassle to open and close for older people in the household. Accessibility is the key. The last thing you want is for older children and adults to be climbing over the gate as this can lead to injury if someone trips and falls. If you are using a gate to block your baby from stairs, a wall mounted version is a better choice. These models are screwed into the walls or banisters and typically open like a door. Because these models are screwed into the walls, it makes it especially difficult for a young child to manipulate the gate, yet easy for older kids and adults to unlock and walk through safely. Don't worry if the area where you wish to mount the gate is not an exact fit as baby gate mounting kits are almost always available for hard to fit areas.
It is not uncommon to have multiple baby gates mounted around the house in different areas. All stairs should have a baby gate, as well as, any doorways that lead to high risk areas of the home such as a pool area. While they may be an annoyance for some family members, it is better to be safe than sorry. Remember, baby safety gates are temporary solutions until your babies are old enough to wander without much supervision.