Pressure Fit Clear-View Stairgate
Stair gates frequently top the most useful baby products list in our surveys of parents. You may want to consider them even if you don't have stairs to keep your baby safe from other hazards.
Find out about the different types available – pressure, screw, roll-up mesh and travel gates, and read about the features you should be looking for.
Get a stair gate as soon as your child starts to show signs of crawling or using a baby walker to get about. They'll soon be moving faster than you realise.
The type of gate you choose will depend on its purpose and where you are putting it.
Major brands include BabyDan, Lindam and Safety 1st and Kiddyguard. Their stair gates tend to be constructed of wood, metal or fabric mesh, and they can be fitted by screwing them into the wall or by pressure fit.
A wooden or metal stair gate that is side-opening will need quite a bit of room to swing open into, so you need to think about whether this will cause any obstructions, or be awkward to navigate around.
A retracting or concertina stair gate could be the answer for areas with restricted space or if you want the gate to disappear when not in use.
Stair gates at the top of the stairs should open towards the landing, not towards the flight of stairs, as you could fall forwards while opening the gate. You should only use screw-fit gates at the top of the stairs.
How easy is it to open and close the stair gate? You don’t want your toddler to be able to flick the mechanism open with ease but, at the same time, you may also need to be able to open and close the gate with a wriggling child under one arm. Some stair gates close automatically.
Consider the space you're covering – a particularly wide opening will limit the options available to you, but you can buy wide gates or extensions.
This depends on what style you want and the width of the space you're closing off.
A simple, cheap stair gate can cost as little as £10 to £15, but if you want something more stylish, or that has to fit an unusual space – such as a narrow stair gate or an extra wide stair gate – it could cost up to £100.
The gate sits within a fixed U-shaped frame that is held in place by pressure at four points. Extensions are often available if your doorway or stairway is wider than average.
They can be made of wood or metal. If the pressure is insufficient, then wall cups can be used to increase the security of the fixing.
These are fixed to the wall with metal screws and can be made of wood or metal. You need to measure up carefully before buying your gate as you may need to buy extensions.
These types of gate can be retracted when not in use so they're less obvious. They're usually either made of heavy-duty mesh which rolls up like a window blind, or hard plastic that folds in on itself like a concertina fan.
They need to be screwed into the wall.
These are made of mesh, don't sit in a frame and completely come away from the wall when you release the pressure. They act as barriers rather than gates.
Once you no longer need your stair gate, first off consider whether you might want to hold onto it for another use such as keeping a dog out of a kitchen.
If pets aren't on the horizon, you could try selling the gate on an online marketplace. Just be sure to check there are no areas where the gate has weakened from one too many shoves or rattles by a determined child or pet.
If possible, sell the gate with the original instructions and all fixings. This is usually easy enough if you have a screw-fit gate.
For pressure-fit gates that use wall cups and adhesive pads that hold the wall cups in place, make sure you include spare sticky pads or screws so it can be installed that way.
Stair gates are difficult to recycle as they're usually made from a mixture of metal railings and plastic fixings.
However, you could take it down to your local recycling centre to see if it can be recycled. Otherwise, it will need to go to your council waste centre to be properly disposed of.
Lots of people use safety gates as dog gates for stairs and to keep pets in or out of certain rooms.
Some stair gates also come with a small door inset into the gate if you want to let a smaller pet through while keeping large people and dogs out.
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.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some dog gates are not appropriate for babies, as they may have horizontal slats that your baby might use to climb up and over the gate, or small parts that can fall off and be a choking hazard.
If you're planning on getting a dog (but a baby could also be on the horizon), you're best choosing a baby stair gate that holds up in our tests as then you'll know it will be suitable for protecting both.