When your little one is on the move, a baby gate will be one of the most useful pieces of nursery kit you’ll buy. It can stop her from accessing places you don’t want her to go, such as the stairs or the kitchen, and keep her from wandering off where your eyes can’t follow.
There’s a wealth of products on the market, here’s how to choose the best one for you.
How to choose the perfect baby gate:
First up, you need to consider the place you’re guarding. You won’t want anything with a step-over bar at the top of the stairs, but they could work fine at the bottom. Is there space for a door to swing open and shut in the space? If not, a retractable gate could be the answer. And you’ll definitely need a gate that you can open and shut with one hand – trust us on this.
How often will you use a baby gate?
If your space needs a baby gate, you’ll use it every day.
How much money should I spend on a baby gate?
A simple baby gate can cost less than £20 but ones for unusual spaces can cost up to £100.
Are baby gates safe?
As with everything in life, you’ll need to apply some basic common sense - so no step-over bars at the top of the stairs. And the gate will only work if you actually remember to close it. Hey, nothing can be taken for granted after six months of sleep deprivation.
The best baby gates to buy:
We've hand-picked our favourite baby gates on the market here:
This simple gate opens in either direction. There are no bars or footplates to trip over, and it screws into the walls.
Any downsides: it’s reportedly quite difficult to assemble.
This was shortlisted for Best Safety Product in the Mother & Baby Awards in 2015 and 2014. Our testers reported that it’s easy to fit and locks effectively. Plus it can be opened with one hand, which is great for parents who usually have their arms laden with little person paraphernalia.
Any downsides? The step over bar at the bottom of the gate is a trip hazard.
This gate has a push to shut closing mechanism, so you needn’t worry about accidentally leaving it open. Our testers reported that it’s easy to install, and the swing-shut mechanism was quiet.
Any downsides? It’s only for the bottom of the stairs, due to the bar at the bottom.
If you have a wide opening between rooms, this could be the perfect gate for you. It fits from 63.5cm to a whopping 102cm. It has no bar at the bottom, which means it could go at the top of the stairs, and our testers reported that it’s easy to open with one hand.
Any downsides? It screws into the wall so you’ll have a bit of DIY to do when it comes down.
If you like to make a clear distinction between adult time and baby time, or prefer not to battle with a baby gate during late night loo trips, this could be the one for you. The retractable baby gate folds back and is unobtrusive when not in use
Any downsides? Our testers found it fiddly to close with one hand.
This safety gate is sturdy, looks good and can be adjusted to fit doorways and staircases from 69-106.5cm wide. You can choose the direction the gate opens in and there’s no bottom bar to potentially trip over. Plus, it’s easy to use with one hand, ideal if you’re holding your baby.
Any downsides? It’s quite tricky to assemble.
If you’ve got a particularly adventurous toddler, this model’s extra height makes it harder to climb over than standard ones. The opening mechanism is higher too, so you don't have to bend down so far which is better for your back.
Any downsides? It’s one of the more expensive models.
This is an elegantly designed safety gate that has no bar at the bottom. When it’s not in use, the gate rolls up on to a simple spindle, which attaches to a wall or banister. A red warning button pops up if you leave the gate unlocked.
Any downsides? Our testers reported that it’s noisy when retracting – not ideal when carrying a sleeping baby to bed.
This portable Lindam stair gate is ideal if you stay away from home with your baby or toddler and need to block off a doorway or staircase. It folds up into a carry bag.
Any downsides? It needs to be taken down and put up again every time you walk through which means it’s only suited to occasional use.