Stair gate reviews: FAQs

Child holding stair gate

Buying a stair gate is necessary to keep your little one out of harms way when they start exploring the world - whether it's to keep them safe in the room, out of the kitchen or away from the stairs.  

We answer common stair gate questions, including how soon will you need a stair gate, how many you will need and the different types available.

Find the answer to your stair gate questions by clicking on the relevant link below:

Ready to buy? Head to our stair gate reviews to find the best ones that have passed safety and ease-of-use tests to help keep your little one out of danger.

 
Child behind stair gate

When should I get a stair gate?

As soon as your baby start showing signs of moving about. Some babies can start from eight months or even earlier, but some will take much longer to work out how to get going. 

For safety’s sake, get one as soon as your child starts to show signs of crawling or using a baby walker to get about, as they'll soon be moving faster than you realise.

Baby walkers - the best and worst brands 

 

How many stair gates will I need? 

With stairs you’ll need a pair of gates. The set at the top will stop them falling down the stairs and the set at the bottom will stop them climbing up there in the first place. 

Even in a bungalow, safety gates can keep children out of areas where they might get hurt, such as the kitchen or the bathroom. Gates can also be used where you don’t have a door - for example, between a kitchen and the dining room. And a well-placed safety gate across the front of a baby's nursery can keep them away from stairs while you get the bath ready or take a solo toilet stop.

Video baby monitors - for an extra pair of eyes when you need them

 

Children climbing on stair gate

What is the difference between a pressure gate and a fixed gate?

A pressure gate fixes to the wall by pressure, so you won't need to drill holes in the wall to fix it in place. This is a good option if you're in rental accommodation and don't want to mark the door frames or walls. Because most pressure gates have a step-over bar at the bottom of the frame (that sits on the floor), they're not recommended for using at the top of stairs as they can be a trip hazard. 

A fixed gate is, as the name suggests, permanently fixed to the walls by screws, so this is a much better choice if you own your own home or don't mind repairing any damage to your rental property caused by fixing them in place. 

Types of stair gate - discover the pros and cons of each type

 

pressure fit stair gate

A pressure fit stair gate should not be used at the top of the stairs

What's the best type of baby gate to use at the top of the stairs?

A fixed gate is considered best as it's screwed to the wall and doesn't have a step-over bar like pressure gates do. 

If you fit a gate at the top of stairs, make sure it opens towards you, not over the stairs, so that if you lean on the gate as you open it, you won't fall forwards.

Features explained - see the different fittings and fixtures types

 

Can I use stair gates for my dog? 

Yes, lots of people use stairs gates to keep pets in or out of certain rooms. 

We test all stair gates with an impact test where the gates are hit with a 25kg weight (that's roughly the same weight as a small female labrador or a large springer spaniel), three times to see if the gate comes loose or breaks.

Some gates pass this test, but some come loose after a couple of further hits. 

 

Are there stair gates for awkward shapes? 

Yes. Some stairs or doors aren't a standard size, so you can get extensions for most safety gates in order to increase the width the gate will cover. There are also wider safety gates available from brands such a BabyDan, Hauck and Lindam.

The best place to check is the manufacturer website to see what's available before you buy. 

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