Baby gates are an important investment for any family, and as they’re so integral to the safety of your child, parents want to make sure they’ve got a good one. While style, ease of use, and durability are all important factors, different products will work best for different families. With a multitude of options available, it’s important to focus on what’s important to your family, and listen to sources that you trust, rather than follow all of the information you’ll get, as families, friends, and even professionals can be very contradictory in the advice they’ll provide.
It might seem like the mountain of baby products bought before you bring your little one home from the hospital should be enough to last for a really long time. The cribs, baskets, diaper bales, carriers, clothes, bathing equipment, bottles, and toys may seem more than enough to keep your baby safe and happy. The truth is that what’s necessary for a newborn will not cover all the need of your child’s once they’re a few months old and start discovering their mobility. While they’re young and can’t get around on their own, they’re not in any danger. Lying in a crib or being held in your arms is risk free, but once they start crawling, pulling themselves up, toddling and walking, your home can become a massive danger zone. Suddenly baby proofing becomes an essential and a high priority operation, that has to cover all bases. There will be entire areas of your house that you don’t want your little one to wander into, and the best way to stop them from dashing in when your back is turned is to use a baby gate.
Why Do I Need A Retractable Baby Gate?
The truth is that while your baby’s mobility is undoubtedly an exciting new development, it can also be a challenge for parents. While most parents’ instinct is to watch their child like a hawk at all times, that is in fact impossible. There’ll always be a few seconds when your head is turned, whether it’s to pay attention to your other children, answer the phone or door, or just a momentary distraction, and it’s important that in those few seconds your child can’t escape anywhere that would hurt them. There’s also night time to think about, and the possibility of your child getting out of bed and going for a wander, where without a gate, they could end up tumbling down the stairs. For your baby’s sake, most parents choose to keep their kitchens just completely off limits, as there is just far too much in there that can be a danger – from knives, blenders, the stove, pots of boiling water, to the possibility of clambering into a washing machine or dryer. This is just not a child friendly zone, and it’s often the place where most parents store cleaning materials like bleach, which tends to be kept in colorful and appealing bottles, that are very attractive to children, but are also poisonous. While this is an area that it’s necessary for the safety of your child to stay away from, as are staircases, there are places that parents may want to keep babies away from for their sake – for example a home office full of important paperwork and expensive computers or equipment is a place where a baby could do a lot of damage.
Having a baby gate does not mean that you don’t plan on watching your child carefully at all times, it just means you are taking every possible safety precaution with the goal of keeping your child safe.
5. Evenflo Soft and Wide Gate
In fifth place on the list of top five baby gates is the Evenflo Soft and Wide Gate, which is an amazing gate, reviewed and recommended by over four hundred parents, and is also ‘Amazon’s Choice’ of baby gate. While not retractable, we had to add it to our list because if you are looking for a baby gate, this could be a good option. At a low price this is an absolute bargain and not a gate that you’ll be disappointed with as it will absolutely keep your toddler secure in a safe space. There are two main factors that make this so appealing to parents. The first is that this is 27 inches tall, and can fit door was between 38 and 60 inches wide – so can absolutely be used in any home. The second is that this really is easy to use, and quick and simple for busy parents to install and get the hang of. No tools are required for assembly, and as this uses rubber bumpers, there is absolutely no damage to your house and no marring to your walls.
The neutral colors mean that this will just fit right into your home, and not stand out as unsightly traditional gates do. It’s also light weight, but still remarkably strong, and tough enough to withstand your toddler. The only disadvantage is that this needs to be affixed to a wall not a bannister, so can’t be laced on stairs. This is a very cute and highly recommended product, that no family would be dissatisfied with.
4. Lascal Kiddyguard Avant Retractable Baby Safety Gate
In fourth place on the list is the Lascal Kiddyguard Avant Retractable Baby Safety Gate. This has a four star rating on Amazon, which is incredibly high, considering the exacting standards of most parents. This is strong and reliable, it looks good, and is easy to use.
The colors are neutral and subtle, and will fit in well with the décor of your home, and being retractable, it will easily disappear when not in use and you want to open up your home. Plus, the materials used to make it are high quality, and there’s no trip hazard at all. The mesh makes this safer than traditional models, as there’s nothing your children can hurt themselves on if they run into it trying to get through the gate. Lascal’s unique handle system is built for one-handed use, and uses a silent timing system with light indicators. This system, where a red light appears when the gate is unlocked, is excellent for sleeping babies, and means you can enter and exit their room soundlessly.
This is a very simple gate to install in your home, as it can be used with or without baseboards, and is also perfect for use at the top of the stairs, which does require something especially tough to ensure your child doesn’t take an unfortunate tumble during the night. This is ideal for spaces up to 48 inches wide, so should fit most standard door frames. As a lot of people use this gate for both babies and pets, cat owners should be aware that some particularly determined cats may be able to wriggle underneath – though toddlers and children will be thoroughly secured by the gate.
3. Dreambaby Retractable Gate, Black
In third place is the Dreambaby Retractable Gate in Black. This is a very popular option for parents, and is a high selling item that has gained a lot of positive reviews, as well as multiple awards from various parenting and baby product review bodies, which proves that this is an extremely safe and satisfying baby gate.
A highlight of this particular gate is that there is enough hardware included to install the gate at two different locations in your home, so the gate can easily be moved from one place to another, for example guarding the kitchen during the day, but the top of the stairs on an evening or night time. This is accomplished by simply unclipping the gate from the mounting brackets and clipping it into the second location. This could save parents a lot of time and money, and it’s always great when a product can adapt to your needs. And this doesn’t only adapt to different uses inside your house, as it can be used indoors as well as outside, so can keep your baby safe on a patio or stop them leaving a garden – and the mesh is UV treated so it won’t fade or succumb to wear and tear from being used outside.
This can fit doors up to 55 inches wide, so should work for most homes, and is easy to lock and unlock with only one hand. While this is easy for parents to use, having a double locking system makes it impossible for children to use, they won’t be able to escape. This is lightweight, and very easy to initially install, though it can only be affixed to walls, and not attached to bannisters, or the underside of cabinets.
2. Gaterol Active Lite White Retractable Gate
The Gaterol Active Lite Retractable Gate comes in second place on the list, and is such a high rated gate due to it’s extra safety features. With a high rating on Amazon, this is a product you can trust, and at 36.6 inches tall, this is one of the highest gates on the market, and will serve families well even as their children grow and begin to attempt climbing and escaping. There is no chance of a toddler being able to make it over this baby gate and run into any danger.
Being higher is also better for parents, as you won’t need to bend down as much to open it, so it’s easier to use when you’re carrying things while trying to get through the gate. And not only is this easier to use as it’s higher, but it can really be used with one hand.
This will fit doorways up to 55 inches wide, so should absolutely fit any standard doorway. And once this gate is installed, when it’s open the gate essentially disappears, and so there is nothing to rip over, and there’s just a lovely clean and tidy open space. This can be used inside and out, so will protect your baby in all areas of your home, including the garden, and also has the hardware for the brackets to be installed in two different places, so the gate can be unclipped and simply clipped into another location in your house.
This is simple to operate, and won’t rip or be damaged by regular use. Plus the safety of your child is ensured as the mesh can’t hurt them if they run into it.
1. Summer Infant Retractable Gate
The retractable baby gate in first place is this offering from Summer Infant, which is sleek, stylish, and simple to use. When not being used this just leaves an open space, unlike traditional gates that would need to be dismantled completely, or remain closed and locked in case they swing and hit someone’s legs. At thirty inches tall, this is high enough to stop toddlers from escaping, and if you are using the gate for pets too, it’s high enough that most dogs won’t try and jump it. This is a great option for just about every family, as it is affordable, fits spaces up to 50 inches wide, and the black mesh can fit into every room. The mounted hardware is very secure, which absolutely necessary, especially if it’s being used at the top of the stairs, as it provides extra security. However, to be mounted, this does need to be affixed to baseboards so it can’t be used on a bannister. The mesh is tough and durable, and this will last your family a long time, and always provide a secure and reliable guard to keep your little one out of danger.
Overall, the retractable baby gate you choose is dependent on the needs of your family, your budget, and your style. However, it is important to find one that works for you as they are such an essential item in keeping your baby safe, that whichever of the above baby gates seems like it would fulfill your needs would be an amazing investment in your child’s safety. Keep them safe in rooms where they can’t come to harm by blocking the danger zones like stairs and kitchens with a quality retractable baby gate.