Crawling is one of the most exciting milestones your baby reaches. Watching them learn to get around on their own is beautiful and hilarious to watch. However, your baby’s newfound mobility also presents a whole new set of risks for their safety. Potential risks and dangers are much more accessible to a crawling baby. Your child will easily venture near stairs, doorways, and hazardous rooms such as the kitchen. If you have pets, the risks may be greater. It’s vital to ensure your baby stays in safe areas of the house that are free from danger. Properly outfitting your home with the right baby gates provides extra assurance that your child is safe while exploring your home.

There a several key tools parents can use to help ensure their child’s safety around the house. One of the best tools is the popular baby gate. It’s tempting to assume that the first baby gate we buy at the store is good enough, but not ever baby gate provides the same level of safety. As parents, we want what’s best for our child. Before settling on a baby gate, consider these 5 safety aspects that ensure your child will be kept safe and out of mischief.

1) Consider the Location. Baby gates are designed for specific locations in your house. “Pressure-mounted” baby gates are designed to fit snuggling between doorways or narrow wall space.  They work well for hallways and room blockage but are not strong and secure enough to block stairways. Areas such as this are safest with “hardware-mounted” baby gates that are securely fixed within the wall.

2) Consider the Gate’s Design. Baby gates come in all shapes, sizes, and patterns. Gates with wide holes and slots provide dangerous holes that can trap or pinch your child. Look for gates with a fine, mesh-like spacing no greater than 3 inches wide. The gate should also include a straight-top upper rail. Avoid “accordion-style” gates with large diamond shaped openings. These gates are known dangers.

3) Consider the Size. JPMA guidelines specifically state that the gate should be at least 22 inches tall and less than 3 inches off the ground. These specifications help ensure that you as the parent do not trip over the gate and your child does not become trapped beneath. When it comes to child safety, even an inch can make a huge difference!

4) Consider Your Child’s Age. Baby gates aren’t the solution for older children; we shouldn’t rely solely on them for our child’s safety and supervision. The perfect age range for baby gates lies between 6 months and 2 years old. Children older than this can easily find ways to escape the gates, defeating their entire purpose.

5) Consider Other Parents’ Reviews. Doing your homework is a must when it comes to your child’s safety. Check trusted websites, blogs, books, and magazines for helpful reviews on products other parents were happy with. Note gates that produced bad reviews and stay far away. Many of these sources also include cash-saving tips to help simplify your shopping. Also, talk with friends and family members who’ve used baby gates and see what they recommend. Products with the JPMA seal and good reviews ensure your child’s safety.

Although baby gates are not the perfect “babysitter” for our children, they do make life simpler when we need to quickly step out of the room. Finding the safest model gives great peace of mind. Statistics show that in the year 2003 alone, approximately 1,800 child injuries were attributed to unsafe baby gates. These numbers are extremely frightening, but they serve as good reminders to always be alert for safety risks. Enjoy your baby’s crawling stage and take time to treasure these moments. However, be on guard for the proper safety tools you and your child need. For more information on baby gates and child safety, please contact us today.