You’d think that with the (seemingly) hundreds of baby gates on the market, it would be easier to find one that actually works and fits in the spot you want to put it. But we’re not having much luck, and we have an increasingly mobile and curious toddler who thinks that climbing the stairs is the most.fun.activity.EVER.
Our biggest problem lies in our banisters. The one at the bottom of the stairs is pretty tall, so we can’t find a gate tall enough to be able to line up the tension rods with the flat parts of it. So we figured we’d have to get one of those banister kits to adapt the best/tallest gate we could find–a Dream Baby Extra Tall security gate–but then we noticed that when we use the tension rod against our sorta-loose banister, the tension was actually forcing the banister over to the side a bit, causing some of the molding surround the banister to rip apart. NOT GOOD.
The other issue with the bottom of the stairs is that I guess you’re supposed to put the gate on the bottom stair, as opposed to the floor? If that’s the case, we’ve got bigger problems since we have a pretty thick and cushy carpet as a runner, making the surface area unlevel when you go from left to right.
For the top of the stairs, we have the same type of banister, but it’s a bit shorter. We bought a Summer Infant Sure and Secure Extra Tall gate, because it was one of the only ones I found that was (hopefully) the right height AND could be hardware mounted (a safety requirement for top-of-the-stairs placement). We don’t have it in our hands yet, because our local Babies ‘R’ Us and Toys ‘R’ Us stores were out of stock, so we had to have my sister-in-law pick it up for us in the city where she goes to college, and we won’t see her again until Saturday. But since the banister is a little loose upstairs, too, I’m nervous that this won’t work, either. When you hardware mount, does it still require tension against the surfaces you’re mounting on?
Our trim molding is not the easiest thing to deal with either, as it also semi-interferes with mounting–both tension and hardware styles. Fun.
And then there’s part of me that is thinking we should just save our money and buy a cheap, removable-on-a-daily-basis gate that we can somehow rig at the bottom of the stairs, and just very carefully supervise (like we have been) whenever we’re upstairs. At what age do kids generally learn how to go down stairs safely? When are they old enough to start teaching them to scootch down on their bellies, backwards?
For downstairs, if we can’t figure out a bottom-of-the-stairs solution, our only other option is to put a gate in the doorway to our kitchen, then put a (very wide, and probably very expensive) gate across the opening into the playroom, effectively blocking off our entire foyer. This is less appealing to me because I feel like the gates will be more “in your face” this way, as opposed to being relatively inconspicuous in our stairway.
What do you think? Any suggestions for us based on our photos? Do you live in a “gated community,” or do you let your kids roam free? If you do the former, what is the system you’ve found works best for you? If the latter, how on earth do you keep your kids away from stairs and/or watch them every second?
AboutI'm Heather. I just turned 30. I'm happily married, and mommy to the most beautiful little girl in the world (what, you're saying I could be biased?). Determined DIYer and homeowner. Sarcastic. A perfectionist. A bleeding-heart liberal. Frugal. Loves a little dog way more than many humans. Loves food, hates exercise (it's an ongoing battle). A loyal football fan. I love to laugh. Value family and friends above all else. Vie to be a world traveler.
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