Best Baby Gates of 2024, Tested & Reviewed

Easy for you but impossible for baby, these baby gates keep little ones out of harm's way.

regalo baby gate


tali ditye author mommyhood101  By: Tali Ditye, Ph.D., Co-founder
  Updated: January 1, 2024

Mommyhood101 independently tests and curates baby gear to help you make informed decisions. If you buy products through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Ideally, a baby gate will be easy for you to open and close one-handed while also being impossible for babies and toddlers to open.

As a critical element of effective childproofing, baby gates can give you much-needed peace of mind. 

Just for fun, what does ChatGPT think is the best baby gate!?
"I can confidently say that the best baby gate on the market is the Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate. This gate is designed with both safety and convenience in mind, is JPMA certified and meets ASTM safety standards." -ChatGPT

We don't always agree with robots, but we do think this is a great option!

Every year we gather and review at least a dozen baby gates. We test installation locations (doorway, hallway, stairs), sturdiness, safety, ease of installation and use, and versatility.

Full disclosure: Some of these gates, including the Kidco and Munchkin models, were sent to us as free test samples by the manufacturer.

This article has two sections. First, we review baby gates intended for doorways and other wall openings.

Second, we review baby gates intended for use at the top or bottom of stairways. You can jump to the second section and see only baby gates for stairs by clicking here.

Here are our Top Baby Gate Picks (not for stairs)!

Never use a regular (pressure-mounted) baby gate near a stairway!.

This poses a serious trip hazard due to the lower rail. Adults and children can trip over the rail and fall down the stairs. We've read the horror stories and seen the results - do not try it!

baby gate safety warning

In the above photos, notice that the lower bar remains fixed in place when the gate swings open. Avoid this type of baby gate if you're mounting near the stairs.

If you want to place a gate at the top or bottom of your stairs, jump to our Gates for Stairs section!

Below are the top 5 models we've tested, for use in doorways and other openings, but not on the stairs.

Below are the in-depth reviews of each of these options.

a mother carrying a baby and opening the north states toddleroo deluxe decor baby gate

1. Toddleroo by North States Deluxe Décor Baby Gate.

Usually about $90. This top-rated Toddleroo baby gate is the best overall for even the most awkward and irregular installation scenarios. To do so, this baby gate has a very unique configuration with a wide center section and opening, with two side extensions that can be angled in any direction to suit your needs. At about 30" tall, the Toddleroo gate can fit openings from about 38" wide up to 72" wide (the opening itself is about 25" wide). Note that if you have an even wider opening, you can purchase up to six 15" extension panels to fit an opening up to 162" wide! On each side, the mounting brackets will need to be attached to your wall using the provided screws. It is likely that you'll need anchors or toggle bolts unless there is a stud hiding in the wall where you're mounting the gate. The lower mounting brackets are adjustable to accommodate baseboard molding of different thicknesses. There is a small step-over threshold on the bottom of this gate opening, so it is NOT recommended for use at the top of stairs due to the tripping hazard.

cradlewise smart crib

Installing the gate is relatively simple and straightforward. Toddleroo includes convenient paper templates to perfectly position the mounting brackets, and provides a great installation video (see below) that makes it a simple process. You will need a drill and 1/8" or smaller drill bit (or high quality self-tapping screws), and a Phillips screwdriver. Once mounted, the gate was very sturdy and was invulnerable to both fiesty toddlers and clever dogs. Opening the gate is a breeze and easily accomplished one-handed: grab the gate and use your thumb to press the button and simultaneously lift up on the gate to release it. It swings both ways, and if you swing it all the way open past 90-degrees, it has a convenient stay-open function. Even better, if you let the gate swing closed it will automatically close and lock. Perfect! Available in white or bronze, we think this baby gate is perfect for nearly any imaginable configuration. JPMA and ASTM certified. Who else loves the Toddleroo? It's a top pick by our friends at Babylist and Babygearlab! Impressed? You can check out the .

Toddleroo Installation Video:


mother sitting at a desk and looking at a baby playing behind a regalo 192 inch super wide baby gate

2. Regalo 192-inch Super Wide Gate and Play Yard.

Usually about $90. Do you have a huge opening, or want to close off an entire section of the house, block the fireplace, or secure a large opening between rooms? Then the Regalo 192" super wide gate is probably the best option for you. This gate is comprised of eight independent detachable gate sections that can be put together in any configuration (like two on one side, four on the other), with the door counting as one of the eight sections. This means you can set up the gate in a doorway, between room openings, or even configure it as a large play yard by making an octagon shape. When we received the box for testing we were immediately overwhelmed by how large the gate is, how many pieces there are, and how much hardware it comes with. But we quickly realized a few cool things: first, the entire thing stands on its own like a big accordion, so you can stand it up while configuring it, and make markings on the wall (for mounting) super easily, and second, after a few minutes of reading the manual and arranging the gate around our room, we realized it was just like any other gate, but much more versatile. Another great feature is that on the top of each joint where two gate sections come together there is a tightening knob that will effectively fix the gate into your desired position.

We set it up in front of our fireplace, and then again as a play yard. For the fireplace, we used the included hardware to mount each end to the wall on both sides of the fireplace (we found studs first, otherwise you'll need to use anchors). It was an awesome way to make sure your baby is safe during the colder months when you might be operating your fireplace or wood stove. The door works pretty well and seems well-constructed and sturdy, though we do want to point out that it requires two hands to open. My husband figured out how to open it with one-hand, but he has pretty big hands and frankly it looked a little awkward when he did it. The door is not spring-loaded so it doesn't close on its own, and there is a step-over bar on the bottom, making it structurally rigid even when the door is open. Putting it together as a play yard involved removing some of the mounting hardware, pulling together the two sides, and sliding a connector rod down into the holes. Once we figured out how to do it, it was pretty straightforward. We love testing this super wide baby gate, and think it's an awesome way to make flexible configurations around your house, in doorways, between rooms, and more. Other than the two-handed door lock, we think it's perfect for most people and situations. Who else loves the Regalo Super Wide baby gate? Our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, and WhatToExpect also call it a top pick! Interested? You can check out this Regalo 192-inch Super Wide Baby Gate here.


two babies sitting and playing behind a cumbor baby gate

3. Cumbor Baby Gate, 30.5" or 36" Tall.

Usually about $80. This is a pressure-mounted baby gate that can also be mounted with hardware for extra strength. The Cumbor baby gate has attracted some attention from parents since being honored with the Mom's Choice Award, and for good reason! The Cumbor is available in two heights, at either 30.5" or 36" tall, and in three colors - black, brown, or white. For width, it is expandable to openings as narrow as 29.5" and as wide as 40.6". If you mount it using pressure-mount only, it will resist up to 150 pounds of force; but if you mount with the included hardware, it will resist up to about 200 pounds of force. Great specs! Configuring the width is done by virtue of two included extensions - one double-bar and one single-bar extension. Other features include automatic swing-shut hinges, a stay-open setting, the door can swing open in either directions, and it has a relatively wide door opening (22").

cradlewise smart crib

Out of the box, we were impressed with how lightweight but durable this baby gate felt. We were also impressed with the clarity of the installation instructions. To install, remove the plastic wrap but DO NOT cut the zip-tie securing the gate together until after installation (ours had a big warning on it). You can install the gate using only the pressure mounts and avoid the plastic positioning hardware altogether, or you can get extra security and stability by using the included hardware. We used the 3M tape and a screw on each of the four plastic wall cups, which gave us some extra security and peace of mind (highly recommended!). If you do not have studs or wood trim where you are mounting the gate, it also includes screw anchors. Once you get the gate installed and adjusted, you can cut the main zip tie and do some fine-tuned adjustment. Installation was a breeze, and we loved how clear the instructions were. The gate opened and closed smoothly, and the lock can be opened/lifted with one hand (and it's surprisingly toddler-proof). We appreciated how the gate swings in either direction, how it swings shut on its own, and how you can lock it into the fully open position. However, we noticed that the gate will not automatically latch or lock shut when you let it swing closed, you'll need to give it a final nudge into the locked position. The only other con is that Cumbor advertises this baby gate for the use near stairs, which we strongly discourage for safety reasons! Other than that, we love this new addition to our list. And we're not alone - it was also recently given the prestigious Mom's Choice Award! You can check out the Cumbor Baby Gate here.


a mom playing peek a boo with a baby doing tummy time in front of a summer infant baby gate

4. Summer Multi-Use Decorative Extra Tall Baby Gate.

Usually about $65. The top-rated Summer Multi-use baby gate differs from the North States Toddleroo in two primary ways. First, the Summer Infant gate is 34" tall (36" tall at the peak) while the North States gate is only 29" tall, making it an extra tall walk-through gate. It is difficult to know whether this is a pro or con. On the plus side, parents don't need to reach down so far to open the gate, and they don't need to worry about climbing as much. On the negative side, in our testing we realized that a lot of men and taller women like to simply step over the gate sometimes, especially when their hands are full or they're in a hurry. You will be hard pressed to step over this extra tall gate, so that's a definite down-side of its tallness. Second, the Summer Infant gate swings shut (swings closed) and locks automatically, which is super helpful - no more turning around and pushing it to shut. However, this also means that it uses a stop bracket (which is reversible to change swing direction), which sometimes snags your pants leg as you pass through. Couple that with the narrow opening (about 17" wide opening), and it can be a pain sometimes.

The North States gate swings both ways for convenience, but doesn't auto-close like this one. Also, the Summer Infant gate is tension-mounted (even with the hardware kit, it's still tension-mounted) and very sensitive to the amount of tension you set during installation; if you over-tension, it will squeeze the opening too narrow and the gate won't shut; this isn't specific to this gate, however, so if you find your gate isn't closing properly always check tension first. So, there are some pros and cons for each, and you'll need to make an informed decision for your particular situation. Overall, however, you're getting one of the best gates currently on the baby market, regardless of whether you choose the Summer Infant or North States Supergate. Note that the Summer Infant Multiuse gate markets itself (on Amazon and on its own website) as good for use in doorways or at the top of bottom of stairs. They do this by allowing you to choose whether you're using a tension-fit (doorways) or mounted (stairs) option, while making sure you change gate swing direction so it doesn't open over the stairs. In our opinion, however, because the gate has a bar across the bottom that may pose a tripping hazard, we do not recommend installing it at the top of stairs. In fact, a parent emailed us and let us know that the instruction manual for the Deco actually says "to prevent falls, never use at top of stairs." In our testing, the widest doorway we could fit the gate into was 48" using the included extensions, so this definitely qualifies as one of the wider gates that could be used in larger doorways and openings between rooms. Who else recommends the Summer Infant Deco baby gate? Our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, and WhatToExpect! Interested? You can check out this Summer Infant Baby Gate here.


a dad holding a baby while standing behind a dreambaby chelsea gate

5. DreamBaby Chelsea Extra Tall Baby Gate.

Usually about $90. The DreamBaby gate is very similar to the Summer Infant option above. It is a tension extra tall gate with a 2" threshold along the bottom edge, very sturdy construction, a child-proof locking mechanism, one-handed opening, swings both directions, and automatically swings shut. The opening is about 18" wide, which is better than many other options. This gate, if bought from Amazon, includes extensions for people with doorways larger than the typical 31", which is why it's the "extra tall and wide" version. In our tests, we could get it to fit a doorway as small as 38" wide, and as wide as about 70" (which is more like an opening between rooms than a doorway!). If your doorway is smaller (normal, like 28-32" wide), you can get the same gate but not as wide for about $50. Disadvantages? It doesn't have a hold-open feature to keep it open at 90-degrees, unlike the North States safety gate. Also, in one of our test units, the locking mechanism failed after a few months of use. The other one is still going strong without issues, so not sure what happened in the quality assurance department. As with any gate, be careful of small parts (screws, nuts) that can fall off if not tightened properly, so be sure to occasionally check the gate for loose parts. Interested? You can check out this DreamBaby Gate here.


Here are our Top Baby Gate Picks for the Top or Bottom of Stairs!

The top of the stairs is a difficult and dangerous location, and there are only a few baby gates for stairs that we recommend. Do not use a pressure-mounted baby gate at the top or bottom of your stairs!

Here are our criteria: no step-over bar along the bottom edge (you do not want to trip at the top of your stairs!), can be attached to a variety of configurations (railing posts, banisters, walls with moldings), wide enough to fit a variety of stair configurations, doesn't automatically swing shut (so there is no risk of the gate swinging and bumping you or a baby in the back, risking a fall down the stairs), is easy to use in our hands-on testing, and well-reviewed by both us and fellow parents.

When picking a baby gate for use at the top or bottom of stairs, be sure to first survey your situation and figure out what surfaces you need to attach to. Are they wood, metal, or drywall? Also check the angle of installation: are attachment points directly across from each other, or will the gate need to be installed at an angle? Once you survey the situation and take measurements, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision about which gate might work in your situation. Feeling confused? Feel free to send us a message on Facebook or email, and we'd be happy to help!

a mom holding a baby walking up the stairs and opening the toddleroo gate

1. Toddleroo by North States Baby Gate for Stairs.

Usually about $50. The Toddleroo replaces the old North States Supergate, which was also an awesome gate for the top or bottom of stairs. The Toddleroo has a bunch of great features, including one-handed open, swing-over-stairs prevention, highly adjustable from 29" to 48" width, a good height (31" tall), durable constuction, and a gate that swings closed very easily. For testing, we purchased the gate for about $50 directly from Amazon, and installed it at the top of our basement stairway. In our home, there is no door at the top of the basement stairs leading down to the finished basement, so it's a pretty dangerous spot for curious kids. The gate uses hardware installation so we suggest having a power screwdriver (or at least a manual one), measuring tape, and level. The instruction manual was pretty clear regarding how to install, and installation only took about 20 minutes to put the gate into a 37" wide space at the top of the stairs. Once installed, the locking latch allowed for a one-handed operation, making it really easy to open - you basically grab the gate with one hand and push down on a button with your thumb. We really like this locking mechanism! The gate swings open and shut freely and easily, without any spring-loaded shut, which is ideal for the top of the stairs.

cradlewise smart crib

We actually had a slightly off-level mounting surface that caused the gate to try to swing shut a little bit automatically, which is why we suggest using a level to make sure your wall is truly vertical (unlike ours!), and using shims under the mounting hardware as necessary. The other things that are ideal: the installation hardware prevents the gate from swinging open over your stairs, there is no bottom kick rail that you could possibly trip over, and the gate swings open really wide to really open up the stairwell when open (which great for when you're carrying something up or down the stairs). Since not all mounting services are even with one another and one side might be at a slight angle, another benefit of this gate is that the hinges can be mounted at an angle up to about 15-degrees while still being able to effectively close the latch on the other side. After a year of use, the locking mechanism and hinges all work like new, without any obvious wear and tear on any of the hardware. We're impressed with the simplicity, safety, and style of this baby gate and think it's the perfect baby gate for the top or bottom of your stairs! Who else loves the Toddleroo stair gate? Our friends at WhatToExpect, Babylist, and Babygearlab call it a top pick! Impressed? You can check out the Toddleroo here!

a mom holding a baby behind a summer infant deluxe gate

2. Summer Infant Deluxe Stairway Simple to Secure Wood Gate.

Usually about $60. This is a great bang-for-the-buck baby gate that has some great build quality, safety, and usability. We were really impressed by what Summer Infant has squeezed into this inexpensive baby gate that's designed for the top or bottom of stairs. Out of the box, it had a nice classic wooden style that reminded us of older gates, but this one definitely has much better modern features. Assembly and installation was just as involved as the other stair gate options given that you need to attach everything to the side walls and make sure that you have a good anchoring there (i.e., either to a stud in the wall, or using super strong anchors - preferably not the little ones provided with the gate). We were able to install it in our rather wide (44") hallway at the top of our stairs without any issues. One side was attached to the top bannister post of the stairs (a 3" x 3" wood post), and the other side to the wall that happens to have a stud in it. If you're not comfortable screwing the gate into your wooden bannister, then you can buy a separate installation kit that basically uses straps to attach that side to the bannister so you don't need to put holes in the wood.

While we got it installed into a wide 44" opening, it can go even wider - up to 48" wide, according to the manufacturer (or as narrow as a 30" span). So that's pretty wide, especially for a relatively inexpensive gate. The gate itself is 32" tall, and it gets mounted about 1" above the floor, making it about 33" tall in total. which is about average for a baby gate. While we mounted the gate at the top of the stairs, it could theoretically be mounted in doorways or anywhere else, since the upper and lower unidirectional swing-stoppers are removable. Those are important safety features when used by the stairs, but not necessary when used anywhere else. We liked the one-handed operation, the strong and sturdy construction and hook-latch closure. We didn't like that you can't just swing it shut, the wood was a lighter color than in the photos, the wall mounting kit is pretty confusing and imperfect, and it doesn't include the kit for attaching to your bannister without screwing into it. But then again, it's only $40 so maybe those concerns aren't that major! Interested? You can check out this Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Gate here.

a mom walking up stairs while carrying a baby and opening the evenflo gate

3. Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top of Stairs Gate.

Usually about $50. This is the second year the new Evenflo Easy Walk Thru gate appears on our list, and it's here for some really great reasons! The gate stands about 30" tall, which means that if you mount it 2-3" off the floor, it will stand about 32-33" high. It has no bottom rail, so is intended for use at the top of stairs, though we were also able to get it working very nicely in regular doorways as well. It expands to fit openings from about 29" to 42" wide, but is not as versatile as the Toddleroo in terms of the angles it can accomplish or types of surfaces it can mount to. It uses two screw-mounts on each side to mount to most surfaces, including wood and drywall (assuming a corner with a stud behind it, or the use of heavy duty anchors). It can be mounted in either direction (left or right-handed opening), as the gate can swing either way. It includes a removable swing-stop bar that can be attached to prevent the gate from swinging out over the steps. We thought the lock release handle was pretty easy to use, and after a few tries can be opened with one adult hand, while still being too difficult for even our sneaky 3-year-old to figure out.

cradlewise smart crib

Speaking of the lock, there is a handy red/green indicator to tell you whether the gate is securely locked, which is reassuring. Note that if you have an opening wider than 42", there are no extensions available that we are aware of, so we suggest going with the Toddleroo. After 6 months of use, the gate shows consistently great performance, without any signs of malfunction coming any time soon. We do suggest that once you have the gate mounted in your preferred position, that you use something like a zip-tie or a bolt/nut to tighten the gate into your preferred width. This is because the width of the gate can actually be pushed and pulled when the gate is open, and this gets more possible over time. With a little zip tie to secure the two gate pieces together, the problem is solved forever. You can also go wild and drill a hole through both pieces and attach them to each other using a bolt and nut, but it seems like overkill! Overall, an excellent and easy to use baby gate with some great features! Interested? You can check out this Evenflo Baby Gate here.

a woman holding a baby while standing in front of the cardinal gate

4. Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate for Stairs.

Usually about $70. This Cardinal baby gate comes in white (pictured), brown, black, and wood. It uses a really unique locking mechanism that none of our testing kiddos could figure out, which is a good thing! The best part is that it took about 5 tries for adults to master it, and once they did it was easily unlocked with one hand. The secret is to push down on both latch tabs while pulling up on the gate. That type of manual dexterity won't be found in a sneaky toddler trying to thwart your every attempt at keeping them safe! It meets all of the criteria we mentioned above: no step-over bar along the bottom edge, it can be attached to railing posts and/or walls, and is very well-reviewed. It doesn't swing shut automatically behind you, though it does close automatically if you give it a forceful swing shut. What's most unique about this gate is that it can be mounted in all sorts of awkward mounting situations and angles. It can accommodate up to a 30-degree angle for those imperfect stairway scenarios, making it a great option for unique angles between railings and adjacent walls.

Notice how the pictured gate is mounted at an angle, that's a great capability that can fit basically all sorts of wall and railing layouts. A lot of parents message us asking what type of gate to get when they don't want to drill into wooden banisters at the top or bottom of their stairs, and this is the one we suggest. The reason is that it comes with straps that can be used for mounting instead of screwing holes into the wood. It does have a stop-bracket to prevent swinging out over the stairs, but this is optional if you decide not to install it (which we don't recommend!). The width adjusts from 27" to 41.5" wide, and it is just under 30" tall. In our testing, we found the Cardinal gates installation a little complicated, but we do note that there is a great video here (see the 5th image) that shows a step-by-step installation. Very helpful for those who aren't super handy! Interested? You can check out this Cardinal Baby Gate here.

a mom carrying a baby while walking up the stairs and opening a qdos crystal clear gate

5. Qdos Crystal Designer Baby Gate for Stairs.

This see-through baby gate by Qdos is most expensive baby gate on our list, coming in at about $230! Do you loathe the sight of a big ugly baby gate ruining the asthetic of your modern home? Well, this might be the solution for you! The Qdos Crystal designer baby gate uses a completely clear see-through acrylic plastic that helps keep your home design visible and the baby gate less likely to stick out like a sore thumb! When we first got our hands on the Qdos for testing, we honestly thought it was overpriced and frankly a bit silly. But then we installed it at the top of our stairs and it actually looked beautiful and way less cluttered and noisy than a typical white baby gate. The Qdos gate expands from about 29.5" wide up to 39.8" wide, and has decent flexibility being mounted at an angle up to about 20 degrees. Perfect for the top or bottom of stairs, or in doorways or openings.

cradlewise smart crib

Installation was relatively straightforward, though the instructions left a little something to be desired. The installation hardware does come with a couple convenient things: one is that the mounting rails can be easily installed using two screws on each side, second is that the kit includes handy baseboard adapters that help comform to relatively thick and tall baseboard trim. If you don't want to screw into your wall or banisters, Qdos sells a great stair mounting kit. They also sell a great baseboard kit to fit even larger baseboard trim. Once installed, the Qdos opens one-handed using a sliding thumb mechanism, and opens and closes relatively smoothly. There is a horizontal bracing piece that makes it less likely your toddler will walk or run right into the gate without noticing it's there. Some might think it would look better without that piece, but we think it's a good safety feature. Other than the poor installation instructions and the high price, we have no real cons to report. Overall, we think this is an excellent and innovative baby gate that, if it meets your asthetic and budget, is totally worth the price! Interested? You can check out this Qdos Crystal Designer Baby Gate here.

Our Testing Process

Once your baby starts crawling and pulling up on furniture and toys, you will realize just how dangerous your house is! Stairways, fireplaces, exterior doors, glass furniture, fragile decorations. You name it, your baby will soon find it! To prevent your baby from getting hurt or gaining access to a certain area, most parents install baby gates at various places around the house. For instance, at the top and bottom of stairs, blocking a fireplace, or in the middle of a room as a little baby corral. Parents also use them to secure play areas, like a play-room, without having to close the door. Baby gates are also great for keeping that curious, jealous, or toy-gobbling dog away from a newborn! Not surprisingly, there are different gates that are better or worse suited for each of these uses.

There are a lot of considerations when choosing a baby gate. Here are some of the more important ones:

Where you plan to put the gate matters! Simple swing-open gates are great for doorways and at the top and bottom of stairs. But the ones that are tension-fit require walls on each side to support the outward pressure mounts; do not attempt to install these tension-fit gates in situations where one side is a wall and the other side is a railing post (like at the top or bottom of stairs). The outward pressure mounts will push the railings to the side and eventually give you a wobbly railing. The outward pressure mount gates are easy to install, but simply not safe near stairs. Also, do not install a gate at the top of the stairs if it has a bottom (step-over) rail - this is a serious tripping hazard, and should always be avoided. Because of these different uses of baby gates, we categorize gates by their primary uses: ordinary/doorways, versus top-of-stairs (sometimes called a banister gate). If you ever plan on using the gate near the stairs, then check out something like the Kidco Safeway gate, which is fantastic and can also be used in doorways if needed. The other option is to seal off an entire area (like a baby corral), or seal off a room with a very large entranceway; in either case, something like the North States Metal Superyard gates would work really well. 

The gate needs to be sturdy! Babies will amaze you with their ability to foil all your best attempts to keep them safe. They will try to pull the gate, push the gate, climb the gate, lean on the gate, or bite the gate! All of the gates recommended below are rated as the best in terms of sturdiness, to help you keep your sanity when you can't have your eyes on baby 100% of the time. And if you're using a baby walker (see our best baby walkers here), you'll want to be extra careful!

The locking mechanism needs to be child-proof! This seems obvious, but there are a lot of gates on the market with locks that babies figure out before their second birthday. Avoid gates with a simple button lock, or a simple lift-open mechanism. Your baby may not figure out how to open the gate now but give him or her another year and you'll be kicking yourself for not buying a gate with a better, relatively child-proof lock. All of the gates recommended below have well-reviewed locking mechanisms that are reliable, easy for parents to use, and difficult for babies to figure out (or physically grasp).

Little fingers pinch very easily! We don't recommend any of the wooden retractable gates, wooden expanding gates, or the gates with the pressure locking bars. These increase the risk of finger pinching, and in some cases lacerations, and should be avoided. But if you have a pet-only home and you're trying to keep your dog in certain areas, they're quite good for that purpose!

You want to open the gate with one hand! Carrying the baby? A laundry basket? Groceries? Talking on the phone? The last thing you'll want to do is put something down because both hands are required to open the gate's locking and swing mechanism. All of the gates recommended below have well-reviewed locking mechanisms that can be opened with one hand. It's a complicated trade-off between making it difficult for a baby to open, while keeping it easy enough for an adult to open with one hand. This usually means the locking mechanism will require larger hands to grip and pinch/rotate/slide. As a result, some adults with smaller or weaker hands (like older relatives) tend to have some difficulty with modern gate locks.

Make sure your doorway isn't too wide! Some baby gates come with extensions to accommodate larger doorways, but other gates do not. Keep in mind, if your door opening is greater than 31" wide, then you will likely need at least one extension. In our recommendations, we provide specifications regarding door widths and when available, links to extension kits that fit the application.

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