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Short answer: Yes. But the longer answer is more important. Most parents don’t want to complicate their lives anymore than they absolutely have to, and a baby gate can seem like a huge hassle. But there’s a reason why baby gates are some of the most commonly purchased safety items, and there’s a reason why baby gates have been important (in some form) for centuries.
Here are ten important reasons why baby gates are critical.
1. It’s a dangerous world out there.
Foremost: baby gates can cordon your baby off in a single small, safe space. There are areas that you might never want your child to wander into, such as the office, the workshop, the pantry, or the laundry room. You may have dangerous chemicals, tools, or even just craft components where you don’t want your baby to reach them.
With a baby gate, you put your baby into an area with the things that you want them to play with, and you ensure that everything within that area is inside of your control.
2. Stairs injure adults as well as children.
Stairs are just dangerous. They’re dangerous to adults, teens, kids, babies, and even sometimes pets. Have you ever been walking down the stairs and forgotten the last step? Then you know how dangerous even a six-inch fall could be. Baby gates for stairs prevent babies from accidentally getting on the staircase, and that alone can prevent a lot of danger.
3. Pets don’t always play well with kids.
Pets are part of the family, but that doesn’t mean they should be invited to play with an infant. Baby gates don’t just keep babies in, but they also keep pets out. You can keep your pets away from your baby until they’re polite enough for an introduction, and your baby is old enough to be safe.
4. Children need a place where they feel secure.
The world is overwhelming for a new baby! It was overwhelming to you, too. Baby gates don’t just provide physical safety but also psychological comfort. It narrows the world down into something small that they can easily focus on, and ensures that they focus on the things you want them to (like stuffed animals) rather than the things you don’t (like kitchen appliances).
5. Kids can (and will) try to run right out the door.
Babies will sometimes crawl right towards an open door. And they can be deceptively fast as they age. If you don’t want your baby striking out towards freedom, a baby gate is essential. Otherwise your baby could potentially get out when you’re doing other things, like greeting guests, and you might not know until several minutes later.
Every parent wants to think that they would know if their baby left the house. But no one is perfect, and there are always opportunities that are perfect storms — the oven timer goes off, the guests arrive, someone breaks a dish. The goal of a baby gate is to prepare in advance for these types of commonplace distractions.
6. Sometimes, parents need to focus on other things.
Maybe you need to cook dinner. Maybe you need to finish work. By using a baby gate in addition to a playpen and other tools, you can make sure that your baby is with you and stays with you even if your focus isn’t 100% on them. It’s a reality that sometimes people need to perform other tasks while still looking after their baby, and you can’t have your baby in your arms all the time.
Consider: Without a baby gate, your baby could potentially climb out of a playpen while you’re working, and leave your office as you look at the computer screen. You might not even notice until you realize that your baby is being a little too quiet.
7. Not everything in the world can be baby proofed.
There are some things that are always going to be slightly dangerous. There may be a bookshelf your child could climb, for instance. Not everything in the world can be baby proofed. Though a bookshelf can be mounted to the wall, there’s little to stop a very dedicated toddler from at least attempting to climb it. But by installing baby gates around your home, you can at least make sure that your child isn’t exposed to these risks.
A baby gate lets you have certain areas that are just for you and your spouse, such as craft rooms and work rooms. While the doors can be closed the majority of the time, you’ll have the security of knowing that even when you open the doors, the baby gate will ensure that your child can’t get in.
8. Adults can be forgetful.
It’s easy to forget a pair of scissors out, or some medication on the nightstand. No one can do things perfectly all the time. But because adults are forgetful, there are certain risks that can be introduced to an infant. Baby gates, again, reduce or eliminate this risk. They make it so that your baby isn’t going to be going into any rooms that you haven’t taken your baby into, and that also means that you can clear up and clean up any rooms before you enter with them.
9. Babies will do anything to be with their parents.
And that’s sweet, but it can also be dangerous. If you’re in the living room watching the baby, and your spouse is in the office working, your baby may very well try to get into the office. And since you can’t be watching your child all the time, that could go unnoticed for the amount of time that it could take for it to become dangerous.
Baby gates prevent children from trying to get places, even if they are being particularly persistent. When a toddler first learns to walk, they immediately want to go everywhere. And they may stubbornly bolt off again and again even if they are stopped. A baby gate at least lets you catch up!
10. Sometimes, baby is sleeping — and sometimes, they’re not.
Baby gates don’t just serve as a warning to babies, but also to people. By cordoning off your infant in their nursery, you’re sending a clearer message: Baby is tired. While friends and family tend to be well-meaning, there’s often a compulsion to go say hi to and wake the baby, even when the baby really, really needs to get on a schedule. Putting more barriers between those well-wishers and the baby is the perfect way to ensure your baby gets the sleep they need (and that you do, too.
Of course, sometimes the baby isn’t sleeping, and you are. Parents do need to sleep, and when you sleep, your baby could wake up and try to crawl out of their bed. A baby gate at least ensures that they don’t start roaming the house, and a nanny cam will let you check on your baby periodically throughout the night.
The Bottom Line: a Baby Gate is Essential
The only way to protect your child from themselves and their environment is to isolate them in a safe place. There are a thousand dangers outside, and you can’t protect your baby unless you can keep them away from those risk factors. A baby gate is the perfect way to entirely eliminate large numbers of risks at once, even if it does mean that walking through your hallway is a little more of a chore.
Last updated on February 25th, 2021 at 12:00 pm