Our goal today is to provide you with information on child safety gates and we will to accomplish 5 things:
- We want to convince you of the importance of child safety gates.
- We want to provide you with information on what to look for in selecting your child safety gate.
- We want to provide you with guidance on where to use child safety gates.
- We want to give you the most common manufacturers of child safety gates.
- We want to give you some suggestions on which child safety gates to consider.
The Importance of Child Safety Gates
I want to make a point here. and I ask you to bear with me while we get to the review of the baby gates. The point is this: A child safety gate is not something you add to your home after you have the first accident. After the first accident you will will be kicking yourself that you did not foresee the need. You will feel guilty and responsible for your baby’s accident.
Guilt, anticipation, manageability, vigilance. All of these apply to child safety gates.
Let’s run with the guilt thing for a moment.
What is “guilt?”
“Guilt” is defined as “a feeling of responsibility for some offense, crime, wrong, whether real or imagined.”
The problem with guilt is that it’s a feeling you get after something happens, or doesn’t happen.
When my daughter Nicole was under one year old she was scurrying around the kitchen in one of those seats with four wheels (a Baby Activity Walker). We normally kept the door to the eight steps staircase to the family room closed. But in a flash Nicole was tumbling down the stairs and wound up with a massive bruise and cut on her head. We felt terrible about it. At the emergency room we were questioned about whether or not we were responsible parents! (She as OK)
So, what if I walked up to you today and said, “Hey. I have a great way for you to avoid some guilt today. Are you interested?”
Let’s talk about where anticipation fits in.
“Anticipation” is defined as “a realization in advance; an expectation.”
So, building on our equation, here at TodaysMonitor we are going to help you avoid guilt by anticipating some future event. Keep your focus on child safety gates as we continue to go through this.
Here’s part 3-manageability.
Let’s look at the “route” word, “manage.”
“Manage” means “to bring about or to succeed in accomplishing; to control.”
Now, let’s continue to put together the building blocks to our equation.
We are going to help you avoid guilt by anticipating, and managing, an event.
Lastly, let’s plug in part 4 of our equation-vigilance.
“Vigilance” is defined as “the state of being vigilant.” OK-great, not a big help there. Let’s get to the route word then.
To be “vigilant” is to be “keenly aware,” to be “watchful,” to be “alert.”
Now, let’s put all the pieces together.
We are going to help you avoid guilt by anticipating, and managing, an event through vigilant effort.
Let’s plug in our equation into the importance of child safety gates.
- Guilt-Would you feel guilty if your infant crawled to a stairway and tumble down the stairs? I’ll give you about a millisecond to respond. Of course you would. The use of a child safety gate could have eliminated this guilt. That’s what we meant in the title of our article-“Staying in Front of Guilt.” The best way to manage guilt is, obviously, to not have guilt. In this particular scenario relative to child safety gates, if you use them, you can avoid the guilt of your child falling down the stairs.
- Anticipation-Could you have, or should you have, anticipated your child tumbling down the stairs? We did some research, using historical data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.com), to review the most common causes of infant accidents and injuries. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries to babies and small children.So, back to our question: should you have anticipated your child tumbling down a flight of stairs that was left unprotected, without a safety gate? Yes, you should have.
- Manageability-Was the accident manageable, or said differently, could you have managed the exposure to your child tumbling down the stairs? With the use of child safety gates, you could And, not to put you on a further guilt trip, but you should have.
- Vigilance-This is the last piece of the puzzle. In the definition, we saw words like: “keenly aware,”“watchful,”“alert.”How does this fit into using child safety gates? We would say it this way-it’s one thing to have child safety gates, it’s another thing to use them. Be vigilant about the use of child safety gates. The one time you don’t put the child safety gate back up might be the one time your baby takes a tumble.
Just to summarize again really quickly:
- You have an opportunity to avoid the guilt of having your child fall down a flight of stairs.
- You should anticipate, given historical data, that the likelihood your child might fall down a flight of stairs is fairly high.
- You can manage the exposure to your child’s tumbling down a flight of stairs with the use of child safety gates.
- You should be vigilant about the use of child safety gates.
What to Look for and Think About in Selecting Your Child Safety Gate
Here are some of the key things todaysmonitors wants you to think about, or look for, when selecting you child safety gates. While not all-inclusive, here are 6 things to think about or look for:
- Determine what kind of child safety gate you need– There are 2 types of child safety gates:
- Wall Mounted Child Safety Gates-The child safety gates are mounted to the wall using hardware (hopefully supplied by the manufacturer). Wall mounted safety gates are more durable and secure.
- Pressure Mounted Child Safety Gates-These child safety gates use pressure against 2 surfaces to secure the gate.
The key thing to think about when selecting which child safety gate you are going to use is the exposure to, and severity of, a fall injury. Wall mounted child safety gates are more secure than pressure mounted child safety gates. So, if you are securing an area that has a long stairway, and thus, a long fall, select a wall mounted child safety gate. If the exposure is not as severe (for example, you’re securing an area where there are no stairs, or 2 stairs, leading to another surface), then you can go with a pressure mounted child safety gate.”
- Be aware of the child safety gate slats-Horizontal slats are a no-no! They invite a “crawl up” hazard to your inquisitive baby. So, you always want your child safety gate to have vertical slats. In terms of distance between slats, our research found 2 different results-one said 3” apart, the other said 2 and 3/8” apart. Our opinion is, the closer together, the better. You want to avoid a potential accident where your baby can get their head caught in between the slats.
- Evaluate the construction of the child safety gate-The child safety gate should be very sturdy and durable. If it’s wood, it should be void of any splintering hazard and the wood should be rounded off.
- Evaluate the ease of setup, and the ease of opening and closing the gate-The initial setup of the child safety gate should be intuitive, requiring little to nothing in terms of directions. You also want your child safety gate to be easily opened and closed, preferably with just one hand.
- The safety gate should be “certified”-There is an organization called the “Juveniles Product Manufacturing Association (JPMA). Any child safety gate you choose should have JPMA certification.
- Measure the size of the openings you’re guarding (before you get to the store!)-Some child safety gates have a very narrow range of use (i.e. 29.5” to 35” and that’s it), while others may offer a much wider range (sometimes with the use of an “extension” device). Just bring your tape measure with you.
Guidance on Where to Use Child Safety Gates
While not an all-inclusive list, here are 4 areas where you should consider using child safety gates.
- Stairways/Staircases-This is “non-negotiable.” All stairways should be guarded with child safety gates. Where there are numerous stairs, wall-mounted child safety gates are needed (not pressure mounted gates).
- Kitchens-Kitchens introduce several exposures to infant accidents and injuries-burns, scalds, under the counter cleaning agents (remember, you should have child-proofed these!). You can probably get away with a pressure-mounted child safety gate to protect the kitchen.
- Bedrooms-This may or may not be necessary. If your infant is a “roamer,” give it some consideration. A pressure-mounted child safety gate will suffice, provided you have established a “cushion of safety.” In other words, if the bedroom leads to a stair case, the stair case needs to be guarded.
- Bathrooms-There’s a host of potential accidents in the bathroom-drowning, the toilet (a pinch point and a potential water hazard), soaps, detergents. A pressure-mounted child safety gate should do the trick provided you have that same “cushion of safety.”
Most Common Manufacturers of Child Safety Gates
Here is a list of the more common manufacturers of child safety gates:
- Summer Infant
- North States
Some Suggestions on Which Child Safety Gates to Consider
We reviewed several sources of information to come up with our list of some suggested manufacturers, makes and models of child safety gates.
- Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate
- Pressure Mounted
- 29-40” wide with extension (sold separately) up to 60”
- Lever style handle with one-touch release
- Convenient Walk-Through Design
- Lightweight and Portable
- Regalo Easy Open 50” Superwide Walk-Thru Gate
- Pressure Mounted
- Easy to Install
- Expands 29-34” (includes 6 and 12” extension kits to fit openings up to 50” wide)
- Regalo 192” Superwide Gate and Play Yard
- 8 removable and configurable palnels
- Convenient walk-through with safety lock feature
- Folds down for easy storage and setup
- Summer Infant Multi-use Deco Extra Walk Thru Gate
- Pressure mounted for use from room to room
- Hardware included for wall-mounting for stairway protection
- 36” tall
- Fits openings between 28-48”
- Summer Infant Multi-Use Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate
- Won’t mar walls
- Fits 28-47.5” openings
- 36” tall
- Summer Infant Decorative Wood and Metal Pressure Mounted Gate
- Pressure mounted for multi-room use
- Fits wider openings 36-60”
- Extra wide hinged door opens in either direction
- Easy one-handed opening and closing
- North States Supergate Easy Close Metal Gate
- Fits openings of 29.5-38.75”
- Heavy duty metal-good for protection of bottom stairways
- Triple locking gate
- Easy one-handed opening and closing
- North States Supergate Deluxe Décor Metal Gate
- Nice, pretty décor
- Adjust to 38.3-72” openings
- Gate opens both ways with child-proof safety lock
The use of child safety gates is not only a good idea-it’s your obligation as a parent or guardian!
Anticipate an accident.
Manage what’s in your control.
Avoid HURTING YOUR CHILD!