Friday, April 23, 2010
Quick Favs - Baby Gates
For the perfect baby gate I looked for three things: very secure, toddler-proof and installation that didn't require a drill or mark-up my woodwork.
The North States Auto-Close Metal Gate (Pressure Mount) is my absolute favorite.
The gate has very solid metal construction. The gate closes automatically and makes an audible "clink" when it closes so you know it has closed securely. The gate itself is light enough that there is no risk of pinched fingers in the gate door. The opening mechanism is easily done by an adult with one hand (so the other hand can be carrying a squirming baby, laundry basket, etc.). The gate is opened by using your thumb to slide a button on the top of the gate while simultaneously lifting the gate up slightly.
This opening mechanism also adds to it's "toddler proof" qualities. The opening mechanism requires the height and manual dexterity of an adult so even a brilliant tot can't physically do it. It's 30" high so an average to tall adult can step over it (or a short adult who ran hurdles in high school), but a toddler can't. The installation system is very secure and almost impossible for a toddler (or probably even an adult running at a good pace) to knock over. So secure in fact that it is even approved for top-of-stairs use which makes it a great choice for families in houses with stairs (by the JPMA for what that's worth).
It is easy to install. Line up the plastic cups on the wall and peel off the adhesive backing. A few turns of each of the four "wheels" on the corners will expand the gate to fit most standard size doors. If you want to remove the gate you can just use a little elbow grease and untwist the "wheels" and the gate quickly loosened enough to move out of the doorway. The plastic cups with adhesive can be removed from a wooden doorway with a little elbow grease (and at worst some goo gone). (To note: if you're installing this on a wall instead of a doorway, they recommend attaching the cups with a set of enclosed screws so you will probably need to break out the drill).
The basic gate kit is adjustable to fit doorways from 29.5" - 38" wide and you can add multiple extra 1 bar (adds 3"), 2 bar (adds 5.75"), 5 bar (adds 14") or 11 bar (adds 31.25") extensions to build a gate that securely fits a doorway up to 125" (almost 10.5 feet!).
I also love that the basic gate kit is $69.99 on Amazon.com and ships for free.