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When my husband and I had our first child, we lived in a tiny townhouse that had very steep stairs leading up to the bedrooms. One afternoon when our daughter was about 13 months, we were rushing to get out of the house. I was downstairs in the kitchen cleaning, and my husband and daughter were in the living room playing. Then he ran upstairs to grab his wallet for what he thought would be a second. However, when he got up there, he couldn’t find it and had to search.
Meanwhile, I was loading up the dishwasher and not paying much attention to our daughter. Then we heard one of the most sickening sounds a parent can hear. Thunk, Thunk, Thunk, Thunk. In the few moments while he was upstairs and I was preoccupied (and no one put up the baby gate!) she had climbed up more than halfway up our steep stairs and fallen back down. Thankfully, she wasn’t seriously hurt, just bruised and very scared. However, in 2004 in the United States alone, there were more than 1,000 people killed because of accidents on the stairs. This figure doesn’t even include the broken bones, bumps, and bruises like my daughters’.
So, what is the best way possible and practical to protect your children? Baby gates for stairs come in all different price ranges, shapes and sizes, and are just as important to use in your home as cabinet safety locks, so before you leave the house to go to shopping for one there are some things to consider. First off, the location you need to have blocked off will affect what type of baby gate you purchase. For example, at the top and bottom of the stairs, you never should use the pressure mounted baby gates. If a child puts enough weight on the gate, it could cause the gate to collapse. Also, the square mesh gates are easier for children to climb over and are not recommended for child protection use anymore.
In heavy traffic areas, you might want to consider splurging on the more expensive gate that screws securely into the wall or doorjamb and has a handle or spring that unlatches. These are much more convenient since you won’t have to put up and take down the gate one hundred times a day. Also, the more convenient a gate is to use, the more likely a person will be to use it and consequently, the safer your baby will be. If a person is concerned about the appearance of the gate, in the past few years there have been many different designs that will please almost any shopper.