A baby gate is an important purchase and one that you’ll need to get right. So we’ve gathered together the best baby safety gates and listed our favourites in order below, starting with the best.
Like it or not, you will need to cage your little people in at various stages of their formative lives, whether it’s stopping them getting into the kitchen when you’re cooking a big meal or keeping them in a bedroom so they can’t access the stairs.
It’s essential, especially in the time between when they start to become a little more active and when they can understand danger and master various hazards in your home, most notably the stairs.
You can get both wooden and metal gates, both of which tend to come with plastic fixings. Both of these are, naturally, a physical gate which simply opens. However, you can get retractable gates which fold back out of the way and we've looked at one of those below.
Then there are two types, ‘wall fit’ gates that physically attach to the wall and ‘pressure-fit’ gates that essentially press outwards on both sides of the gate. The latter option is our favourite; there’s no physical damage to the wall, save some marks, and they can work better with the newel posts or a spindle on your staircase.
If you’re worried about marking, you can get ‘wall savers’ like this from Amazon. If you’re thinking the pressure-fit gates aren’t solid, then rest assured – fitted properly they are extremely strong and would take a huge amount of physical force to knock out of the gap they’re fitted in. Finally, when buying a baby gate – or stairgate as they’re sometimes called – look for the details of the opening they will extend to. You want to make sure it will comfortably fill the gap you need.
One of the best things about pressure fit gates is that you can install them in minutes. Maybe you need to move the gate when you have visitors or you want to keep small people out of a newly painted room; it’s easy to do with pressure-fit which requires no tools to fit; it will also indicate when it has reached the correct pressure between the two walls. This classy-looking gate is made from European beech wood in Denmark. The gate will fit between 71.3cm - 77.6cm gaps, however can be extended up to a maximum of 117.1cm with additional extensions. As you’d expect, the gate can be opened either way, with one-handed open and lock. There’s also a triple-lock feature.
Chances are you’ll have seen a gate that’s very similar to this. The archetypal safety gate, Lindam has had variations on this design for years – notably the handle, with its squeeze-to-open design that means it’s easy to open with a single hand. Supplied ready-assembled, there’s also a double-lock for extra security should you have need to use that. Able to adjust to fit openings from 76cm to 82cm, the gate can even be extended to a whopping 138cm with separately available extensions. It can also be opened one way for use on the stairs or two ways for use elsewhere. One disadvantage of this type of gate is that you can trip over the bottom bar of the gate, so you have to step over it.
An increasingly popular type of baby gate, Guard Me is a very flexible barrier and can be mounted inside or outside of the door frame or at the top or bottom of the stairs and fits openings from 55cm to 89cm. An extension kit is sold separately which takes this up to 113cm for extra wide openings. This type of gate can actually be most useful for really narrow openings, as well as those where the two sides aren’t exactly opposite each other. You need to push down on the top button to open while gripping the handle. There is a bit of a knack to doing it one-handed, but once you get used to it it’s easy to operate.
This super-wide extending gate is ideal for extra-wide openings – from 63cm to 104cm to be exact. It’s designed for maximum security as it not only has a triple-lock but it also screws to the wall (drilling required), meaning it’s designed to not budge under any circumstances, so it could double up for pets, for example. Unlike pressure-fit gates, there is no step-over bar, so there’s no trip hazard. As with many of the other gates here it can be opened either one or two ways depending on your preference. The main disadvantage of this type of gate is that you can’t move it, meaning that as your child’s needs develop you may find you need to buy another gate or move this one.
The Flexiguard isn’t designed as a traditional safety gate. ‘So why is it here?’ we hear you ask. Well, with more and more of us taking our children on holidays and weekend visits to relatives with a somewhat more lackadaisical attitude to child safety, this is a gate that you can simply pack up and take with you. Genius! It even comes with its own carry bag so you can chuck it in the back of the car with the other few hundred bits of equipment you take with you. It has a quick release pressure fit handle but doesn’t open like a gate does – you remove the whole barrier when you need to pass by. Note that it shouldn’t be used at the top or bottom of the stairs or as a substitute for a regular-use gate. The barrier can fit openings between 71cm and 92cm.