Do I need a safety gate?
You'll be amazed at how quickly your baby becomes mobile and, once that happens, you'll be run off your feet. Babies are naturally curious and adventurous and they want to discover the world as soon as they possibly can, oblivious to all the dangers.
The moment your baby starts to crawl, a safety gate will become essential. This will allow you to block off access to potentially dangerous areas, such as the kitchen and the stairs. Most safety gates are made to fit a standard doorway, though there is usually a certain amount of leeway, depending on the brand. To be on the safe side, measure the doorway or stairway before you go shopping. Another thing to check is that you can open the gate easily with one hand. Some gates only open in one direction; consider this factor when fitting them on stairs.
What should I buy?
There are two main types of safety gate, permanently fixed and moveable; both have advantages and disadvantages. Permanently fixed gates are screwed to the wall and cannot be moved. This makes them very safe and secure, especially when used at the top of a flight of stairs. The disadvantage of permanently fixed gates is that they cannot be moved around according to where your baby is. So you'll probably need at least two, one for the top and one for the bottom of the stairs. Moveable gates are held in place by tension and so can be moved around easily and safely, provided you fit them properly each time you reposition them. To be secure, moveable gates should be fitted at right angles to the wall or door frame to prevent them from slipping.
The majority of safety gates are metal, though some are made of wood or plastic. The advantage of plastic gates is that they can be folded and easily transported for holidays or short trips away from home.