Now that your little one is on the move, your main consideration will be her safety around the home. ARLENE HARRIS offers some tips for finding the right stair gate for your home and the factors to consider before purchasing.
Every parent is overjoyed by their baby’s first step – it’s such a momentous occasion, the helpless infant who relied on you for everything is suddenly on the move. But along with this new-found independence comes an element of danger.
Places which were out of reach suddenly become accessible and are full of accident potential – the most obvious being the stairway. Which means as soon as your baby becomes mobile, both the top and bottom of the stairs should be made out of bounds.
Jennifer Reilly has an 18-month-old daughter. As the first among her friends and family to become a mother, she was blithely unaware of the dangerous hot spots for newly-mobile and extremely curious babies. “Before Sorcha could crawl, life was very simple,” she says. “I could put her in her playpen or even sitting on the floor with a few toys and she would quite happily play without budging. She crawled for a little bit but very quickly began to get up on her feet.”
Jennifer adds: “The first step she took unaided was such a joyous occasion; we all clapped, delighted with her progress. But within days, our peaceful family home had become quite dangerous.
“The downstairs area is all open plan and the stairway is very accessible, so of course, one of the first things she wanted to do was to climb up to see what was at the top,” recalls the 32-year-old. “I realised from the first moment I took her off the stairs that it would be impossible to carry on with our daily life without blocking her access.
“I wanted a stair gate that was very sturdy, which would go at the top and bottom of the stairs, but also had an easy opening, as I am often carrying her while going up or down the stairs and couldn’t be fiddling about with catches and locks.
“We opted for an easy-to-install model. Since then, I have been able to breathe a sigh of relief and not have to keep jumping up every time she goes near the stairs, which is especially useful as I am pregnant again.”
Safety gates are one of the most effective and practical ways of protecting young children from the potential dangers within the home as they begin to explore. With a reliable and sturdy fixture at the bottom and top of your stairs, you can relax in the knowledge that your toddler can roam the house without climbing up or down the stairs.
Lindam Numi Gate, €49
This sleek, elegant design is not just a pretty gate, it can be moved from room to room with ease and is suitable for children from 18 to 35 months.
- The ISS (Indexed Sizing System) provides speedy width adjustment (from 620mm to 1015mm) and the ITS (Integrated Tuning System) ensures millimeter perfection fit
- It features upper and lower locking points plus a dual operating handle for optimum safety
Slides simply onto, and locks into, a low profile wall mount so that it can be removed in seconds when not required
Mamas & Papas Auto Close Deluxe
Silver Gate, €39
One of the first factors to consider when buying a gate is ease of use. More often than not parents need as many hands free as possible, so a safety gate which opens easily is a big plus point. Features include:
- Parents can conveniently operate the gate with only one hand
- The two-way opening gate swings closed automatically
- It has a double locking system for added security and is pressure mounted, fitting openings from 77cm to 82cm
Value for money
Babies ‘R’ Us Babydan Wooden
Extending Gate, €28.99
It fits an opening from 64 to 106cm, weighs 3.9kg and its combination of safety, durability and style make its reasonable price seem great value.
- Made with 100 per cent European beech wood, the fittings are brass which gives the gate strength and provides a premium look
- The extending gate features stop pins which allow it to be fitted at the top of the stairs with slim-line wall fittings. It can also be opened with one hand
- The gate comes with wall templates so it is easy to mount onto the wall. It is a ‘no trip’ model which can be removed from the wall fixings when not in use
Mothercare Babyden, €99.99
Some houses are open plan and areas other than the staircase may be potentially dangerous, so if you wish to have your child nearby but out of hazardous kitchen appliances or delicate ornaments, then a room divider could be the answer for you. With up to five panels, including the gate panel, it can be used to divide a room, enclose a play area or as a stair gate. (All five panels span a width of 3.21m). It is suitable for children up to 24 months.
- As a play pen, it forms a large hexagonal play area with a gate for easy access
As a safety gate, the gate panel and up to four additional panels can be used on its own as a centre-opening hinged safety gate for a gap of 85cm to 3.2m wide
As a room divider, up to four panels plus the gate panel can be used to divide a room or enclose a play area