Baby gates are essential for both safety and convenience. When used correctly, they can create a safe area for children or pets without redesigning the house with permanent walls or fences completely. If you are looking to buy some baby gates, knowing how long they will last before replacing them is essential. This article will help you decide what length of time is appropriate for your needs based on the materials of your gate and its intended use. The hardware-mounted gates work on the same principle as a permanent fence and usually come with all the necessary tools to mount on a frame. Pressure-mounted gates require some degree of DIY skills or hiring professionals to install, and they tend to cost less than buying a pre-made one. These gates are great for areas that don’t get used very often and can withstand frequent use and even outdoor conditions.
How Long Do You Need Baby Gates For?
Baby gates are a must-have for a lot of parents, but they can also be a safety hazard. Find out when it’s time to take those baby gates off the doorway.
In general, you should keep baby gates up as long as your child is still learning to walk and cannot reach the top of the gate without help from you or another adult. The younger your child, the less time you need to keep them out of places they shouldn’t be — like around furniture and stair steps — with a baby gate.
1. The Child Can Climb Over the Gate
If your child can already climb over the gate, you will need to purchase a taller model. If you want to use it longer, you will need to make sure that the gate is sturdy and cannot be easily broken by a toddler. The tallest ones are usually around 36 inches, the maximum height that an average toddler can reach. However, it is recommended to use gates that are even higher than this, so your toddler doesn’t try to climb over it in the first place.
If your child can reach the gate, you might be able to fix it by adjusting the mounting hardware.
2. When Your Child Can Navigate Stairs Without Problems
When your child can walk up and down stairs without hitting their head, it is time to start safety-proofing the home. The top of the stairs is one of the most common places for accidents in the home, especially when pets are climbing over things or if young children are running around. You will need to get a gate mounted on the wall across from the top of the stairs, which is usually at eye level.
3. Opening the Gate Is No Longer a Problem for the Little One
When the child can open the gate, it is time to replace it with a more childproof latch. Make sure that the gate is still accessible for adults to open but not easy enough for little fingers to undo. The safest place for the latch would be at the top of the gate, where you will need both hands and body weight to open it. Some parents choose to install mountable latches that an adult can open with one hand without pulling down on the fence.
4. The Child’s Chin Is Above the Gate
The gate needs to be as high as possible, especially if there are stairs involved, because the older the child gets, the more room they will have to rush past any obstacles in their path. Don’t forget about pets! They can bend down further than a young child and quickly find a way past a lower gate than their body.
5. 2-Year-Old Child
If your child is between the ages of two and three, they will be able to crawl over any gate that you install. If the gate isn’t mounted correctly and your child is climbing and crawling out of doors, they may never reach it once they get to the top. It is recommended that you place a gate at the highest point in their house – ideally where you can see into their room – and replace it with a taller one as soon as your child reaches the top of the stairs.
Once your child is older and begins to walk, the gate should come down. Remove Baby Gates at 8 Months
At about 8 months — when a baby has good head control and can sit up — you can take down the baby gate. We recommend waiting until this point before taking down a gate because it’s not ideal to leave the house with an infant who hasn’t quite mastered standing yet. Once standing, it’s much easier for your child to really start moving quickly and doing more damage if he heads downstairs.
There is no hard and fast rule as to how long do you need baby gates for. It all depends on the severity of your needs, the area you are installing them in, and what kind of materials you use. Professional installers will probably recommend buying a gate for at least two years, but your child may continue to climb over it for longer than this period. Be aware that the chances are very high that your child will be able to climb over any gate if they are determined enough.