How my Aunt Did a Classic Baby Gate Mistake

A classic baby gate mistake? What the heck is that?!

Well, this is a mistake that I have seen many times. I might have done this mistake myself a few years ago, but luckily i know better now.

And to make things worse, if we look a bit closer the mistake can actually be mentioned as two mistakes.

Alright, get on with the story already!

My aunt

My aunt recently became a grandmother. Therefore she has to make the house ready for the her new grand-daughter.

She has done all the normal stuff like making sure all electrical sockets are secured, taking steps to avoid the baby to get burnt on the stove, etc.

A few days ago she called me up and asked me if I had any suggestions for her regarding her stairway.

She has a narrow stairway with hard wooden boards that looks really uncomfortable to fall on. These stairs leads down to the basement where she has some kind of a TV room for her youngest son who is 15.

Anyway, because the baby will only be upstairs, i suggested that she installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs. I also said, thinking of safety, that she should not get a pressure mounted baby gate. These are not the safest to install at the top of stairs as the mounting is not as sturdy as with hardware mounted gates.

She really liked the idea and said that she would go out to buy one right away.

Knowing my aunt I expected her to call me for help with installing the gate, but to my surprise I heard nothing from her.

So yesterday I decided to go over to her place to ask if she needed a hand.

Retractable Gate

She smiled a bit more than usual when she welcomed me in.

When we walked down the hallway she said that she had something to show me. (Yes, i did understand what she had done, but i chose to play along.)

At the stairway, the gate was (of course) mounted.

She was so proud that she had accomplished it all by herself.

To be honest, she had actually done a pretty good job with mounting it. It does require a bit of skill aligning the parts and screwing the screws in. (Aunt, if you are reading this, i am not being ironic here. You did a good job with mounting.) (Sorry for writing this by the way :))

I immediately saw two problems that was so severe that we actually had to take the gate down.

The first problem was that she had installed a retractable gate here. Some people mean that it is OK to have a retractable gate at the top of their stairs, but i do not like it at all. Children leaning against the mesh fabric is like waiting for an accident to happen. It might not be a problem, but she would not feel comfortable with it. When dealing with the safety of a child, it is much better to be safe and secure than sorry.

The second (and most severe) problem was that she had mounted the gate above the baseboards. This left an ugly gap between the mesh fabric and the floor. It was big enough for a child to get under with ease.

Getting a New Safety Gate

I contemplated on how i should bring this up. She was so proud, and i did not want to give her the hammer, so to speak.

Luckily, she took it really well and agreed that we had to return the gate and get something that was better suited for the task.

She ended up with the Stairway Special from Cardinal Gates, one of my favorites.

I decided to let her mount the gate herself this time as well.

She once again did a wonderful job with the mounting, and with being a bit wiser she now has a perfect baby gate at the top of her stairs.

I did not write this to talk about my aunt.

I wrote it so that you guys (my imaginary readers) will not do the same mistake yourselves.

Lessons From the Story

So what is the lessons here:

  1. Do not use retractable gates at the top of stairs
  2. Make sure that the gap below the gate is as small as possible
  3. If someone asks you for advice on the same problem, be sure to tell it to them
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