Avoid This Gate to Stay Safe
- What: Summer Infant Step to Open Baby Gate
- When: Never
- Why: Hard to keep mounted straight, rarely closes properly
- Where: Amazon
We got a baby gate before our first child was born. That’s partially because we had a dog that liked to escape down the stairs and leave small unexpected gifts, but also because I’m paranoid about safety. After five years, I mistakenly thought it we should upgrade because a small bit had come loose from the old gate.
Maybe the new gate isn’t that bad. But after my husband knocked it over then stepped on it, it irritates me almost daily. At this point in our lives, with a 3, 5, and 7 year old who can all manage stairs just fine, we don’t need a gate. Now the gate serves mostly to confine the dogs (because the only thing worse than dogs eating out of the cat’s litter box is cleaning up when they throw it all back up again).
We installed our gate around a corner from the top of the stairs, so we got lucky enough to use a pressure-mounted one (versus one where we had to hardware mounted with screws in the walls). Because I often come up the stairs from the back door loaded with babies and groceries and who knows what else, I wanted a hands-free version. This one had both a hands-free option via the foot pedal and a handle. The extension panels we needed for our extra wide doorway came included in the price. It even promised to close itself, and I thought – sign me up!
It isn’t pretty. Literally. I banged my knee today. I leave it open so often (because the dogs can’t tell the difference) that I assumed it was open and for once, it had actually closed. Because it got stepped on once when my partner made the same mistake and knocked it down, it doesn’t mount right. And the mounting pads don’t have rubber like the old one, so they move easily under regular use. So the upper and lower latches never line up, and it takes an act of extreme motherhood to get both of them to catch and lock. I rarely have the patience, the time, or the interest.
Because the gate often had a gap between the handle and the side latch, even my two year old figured out how to open it. He slipped his finger in the gap and simply lifted the small tab that latches the gate. I tightened it over and over again, but because the mount didn’t stay in position, it constantly leaned and the gap reappeared.
I miss my old gate.