Three Things to Know About Baby Gates to Keep Kids (and Pets) Safe

No kids (or cats) in this kitchen!

Baby looking out from behind a baby gate
Hey, whatcha doin' out there?Getty Images

Baby gates are multi-tasking champions: They can keep toddlers off the stairs, infants away from outlets and pets from raiding the kitchen cabinets. But with so many options on the market, narrowing down which one is best for your house depends on a range of factors, including who else is living in the house, how often you’ll need to take down the gate and how much you need gated from the rest of the house. Here, three things to consider when choosing a baby gate.

Regalo Easy Open 47-Inch Super Wide Walk Thru Baby Gate, Bonus Kit, Includes 4-Inch and 12-Inch Extension Kit, 4 Pack Pressure Mount Kit and 4 Wall Cups and Mounting Kit

Pop Into Door Frames

Adjustable fit so it sections off spaces without installing any hardware.Regalo

As you pick your gate, consider whether or not you want to bust out the toolbox. Some come with hardware kits that may require drilling into the wall. But pressure mounting is also an option. Pressure mounting won’t leave marks if you’re setting up in a rental or at Grandma’s house, and they can be easy to take down when not in use.

Summer Multi-Use Deco Extra Tall Walk-Thru Gate, Bronze (28.5 - 48 Inch)

Easy Open

Drill-free and decor-friendly. Auto-shut feature automatically locks behind you.Summer Infant

As you consider different gates, look at how the gate opens and closes. Safety locks can help protect little fingers and paws, and one-handed open can be a lifesaver when you have your hands full. And consider a gate that has an auto-shut feature—that means the gate will automatically swing closed behind you, without you needing to tug it closed.

Toddleroo by North States 47.85" Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate: Ideal for Wider Areas and stairways. Hardware Mount. Fits Openings 28.68" - 47.85" Wide (31" Tall, Matte Bronze)

Blocks Nearly Any Entryway

Once installed, the model can easily be slid in and out. A threshold-free design minimizes trip potential.Toddleroo by North States

Consider who else lives in your family and who else will have to regularly use the gate. Some gates have small threshold barriers to step across; a threshold-free design ensures that no one unfamiliar with your home’s layout will trip over the gate when it’s open.