Curiosity in children often motivates them to enter areas that pose potential danger. The unfortunate injuries and deaths of children caused by these dangers has led to the development of child and baby safety gates. The proper usage of these gates substantially reduces these risks.
Types of Baby Gates
Gates are available in two main categories, pressure-mounted and screw-mounted. As the name implies, pressure-mounted gates use tensile pressure between two points to maintain position. They also feature a rail that runs along the bottom of the gate.
Screw-mounted gates require inserting a screw through a gate and into the abutting wall. However, despite their greater difficulty in installation, they are generally more secure than pressure-mounted gates. Pressure-mounted gates are less expensive and may be more suitable for particular situations such as traveling.
The common requirement among all gates is the assurance that adults can solely open them. Most models are effective means of containment for children up to two years of age. Most kinds of gates offer both screw-mounted and pressure-mounted models. Stair gates separate adjoining rooms at different levels. The pressure-mounted variety may be wedged into a door frame.However, experts caution never to use pressure-mounted gates at the tops of stairs as children may trip over the bottom rail and fall down the steps.
Another type of stair gate is retractable. This type must be screw-mounted. Still another type, banister and balcony guards span the lengths of banisters and balconies and thus prevent children from sticking their heads and necks though the spaces between rails. Experts recommend using a mounting kit to install gates except when mounting the gate to a flat surface.
Generally, gates vary in composition. They may consist of various materials, such as wood, plastic, or nylon. Wood and plastic are common materials, however nylon may allow more flexibility. They range from 660 millimeters to 10 meters in length and are generally a meter high. Many models also offer extensions and others are designed for irregular fittings. As with any safety device, you should not buy safety gates secondhand.
Even with gates securely in place, child injuries may occur. Experts recommend avoiding certain behavior patterns and reinforcing others. First, you should not let your child observe anyone climbing over a gate. Children are often highly imitative and may attempt to copy another climbing over a gate. Some recommend a gate that swings open, helping to avoid that situation. You should also train yourself to always close a gate even if your child cannot see you doing so. Also remember to test the locking mechanism after closing the gate.
Newer models should carry a seal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This certification was established in 1985. If you purchase an older model make sure that the gate does not have "v" or diamond shapes through which children might stick their heads and necks. Also, if the gate features vertical slats, take care that the space between the slats does not exceed 23/8 inches as a child may attempt to stick his head or neck through the gap. Pressure-mounted gates may cost from twenty to thirty dollars and screw-mounted gates may cost from twenty-five to seventy-five dollars.
In conclusion, safety gates constitute valuable implements that decrease the hazard of children entering dangerous areas or falling down stairs. When choosing a gate take care that you buy one that will fit your space securely as gates vary in mounting type, size, composition, and materials. Take care that your gate is certified by the JPMA and if it predates certification that it meets current standards.