You’re getting ready for your first baby. You know that baby gates are a great idea, but where do you put them? Should you put a baby gate in front of the nursery? In front of your bedroom?
Many parents make the mistake of putting just a few baby gates in their home. In fact, you want a lot of baby gates; they serve as a way of reducing the risk that your baby could encounter something hazardous.
Now, you don’t need to put a baby gate everywhere on this list — but it’s a good idea to think about putting a baby gate in most of these areas.
1. At the bottom of the stairs.
Many people forget that they need to install a gate at the bottom of the stairs, too. Why? Because your baby could climb up the stairs and then fall down them. Anything your baby can readily climb has to be cordoned off. These gates don’t necessarily have to be as well reinforced as baby gates for the top of the stairs, but they should still be reasonably sturdy.
2. At the top of the stairs.
The first place you want baby gates is at the top of all your stairs. Stairs are incredibly dangerous. Babies can tumble right down stairs, because they don’t understand that they’re going to fall. The second a baby starts to crawl, all the stairs become a threat.
When you put gates along the top of the stairs you need to make sure they’re particularly well reinforced. If someone leans against it, it should hold strong. It’s natural for people to lean against things, and a baby even more so. Don’t use pressure-installed gates at the top of stairs: Make sure they’re mounted directly to the walls.
3. Around the kitchen.
If your kitchen is in a separate room (separated by entryways), then you may want to seal it off with baby gates. There’s a lot of dangerous stuff in the kitchen that we don’t often think about.
It isn’t just knives. It’s also things like bleach and Windex, glasses and plates, and ovens and other appliances. Even if your kitchen is entirely baby-proofed, there could be dangerous things periodically introduced.
Now, if your kitchen is part of an open concept, and consequently not separated by entryways, you might have more of an issue sealing it off. You would need to seal off the kitchen and living room together.
4. Around the bathrooms.
For the most part, your baby shouldn’t be going in and out of the bathroom. After all, your bathroom is home to a host of cleaning supplies, and your bathroom could easily have a sink or tub full of water. Baby gates around the bathroom can improve your peace of mind, with less likelihood your baby could get into things that could be dangerous.
When placing gates around bathrooms, pay special attention to making sure that you have non-slip rugs and mats on the floor. If the floor is wet, you don’t want to step past the gate only to slip.
5. Around the laundry room.
Laundry rooms and mud rooms have toxic chemicals as well, and they can be messy. In a mud room, the floor might get wet and dirty, and in the laundry room, there may be dust and lint.
Protect your baby by placing a gate in front of the laundry room. When you’re doing chores, your baby might try to get to you. And things like laundry baskets can be dangerous, too.
6. At the entryways.
Babies can slip right by when people come in. You’d be surprised how fast a motivated toddler can move. Install baby gates at entryways to head these types of escapes off before they begin. As your baby gets older, they will become more motivated to escape.
There are countless parents who have discovered their babies missing after a door has been left open. Sometimes you’re just not thinking straight, especially if you’re a new parent trying to deal with things like work and household maintenance. A baby can easily be drawn outside by something attractive, and start straying.
7. In front of the pantry.
The pantry is full of spices and food, and that might not seem too dangerous. But pantries can also hold things that could be dangerous for children to swallow, such as bottles and caps. Pantries are naturally alluring because they do contain fragrant food products, but you don’t want to walk into the kitchen to discover that your child has started to eat an entire bag of sugar.
By putting a gate at the pantry, you can head these issues off before you have to ask your doctor whether it’s okay if your baby ate a cup of instant mashed potatoes.
8. In the office.
Your office is likely full of dangerous things from pens to staplers. Don’t forget that a baby’s first instinct is to put practically everything in their mouth. They don’t realize that they can get hurt by touching things. And as an attentive parent, you probably haven’t let them experience that a lot!
An office is perfectly mundane to an adult, but think about all the things a baby could get into. They could dig through the trash and get poked by a staple. They could pull a cord and bring a printer down. They could just get paper cuts — not really harmful, but now you have a distressed, crying baby on your hands.
And it can be difficult to keep your office closed, especially if you do want to keep an eye on things outside. So, it’s better to keep the office partitioned off with a baby gate.
9. In front of the fireplace.
Fireplaces don’t seem dangerous when they’re not active. But a child can turn on the gas and then fill the house with it, or potentially get into ash and other debris. Fireplaces are generally dangerous; they need regular maintenance, and they should be separated with a baby gate.
Even an unused fireplace can become dangerous. It may have sharp things in it, and the wood (even when not burning) can produce splinters. It’s better to protect your child from it altogether, and the traditional gates that go across fireplaces tend to have potentially dangerous moving parts.
10. In front of the porch.
If your baby does get out, the last thing you want is for them to be able to get off the porch and into the yard. Put gates along the porches to make sure that they won’t be able to escape even if they do get past the doors.
Many porches also have stairs. And those stairs can be dangerous, even if it’s only a handful of stairs. So, the danger isn’t just that your baby could get out, but also that they could take a tumble!
Now you know where you should install baby gates. But how about when? Most people should be installing their baby gates before their baby reaches six months of age. Once your baby flips over and starts crawling, they’re mobile! You’ll be surprised how quickly your baby starts to move independently, and it’ll become important to limit them before they get into something dangerous.
Last updated on February 25th, 2021 at 11:57 am