Baby Gate Caution

Keeping your baby safe is a big job. Last year an estimated 43,000 young children were hurt on stairs. Using a baby gate can prevent serious injury to little ones. Consumer Reports just tested gates and found some are far safer than others.

Two year-old Timothy Borowiec seems to get into everything. So his mother Pamela uses a baby gate to keep him out of harm’s way.

Pamela Borowiec said, "The gate has been extremely helpful to section off an area where I can put him knowing that he’s safe and I can go about my business."

Author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, Sandra Gordon, and tester, Rich Handel, looked at baby gates, 11 in all, to see how they stand up in everyday situations.

They evaluated two types. The first you mount with hardware. You drill holes in the door frame and then attach the gate with brackets.

A second type of gate is pressure mounted. You adjust it to the width of the door and then wedge it in place.

To see how the gates hold up testers used this weighted basketball to simulate the impact of a running two-year-old.

Consumer Reports, Rich Handel, said, "We impact the gates 20 times or until it’s dislodged or broken."

This pressure-mounted gate gave way with the first impact.

Sandra Gordon, CR Best Baby Products, said, "Pressure-mounted gates are good for less hazardous areas — like between rooms — say you’re cooking and you want to keep the kitchen off limits, or at the bottom of stairs so a child can’t climb. But never at the top of the stairs. That’s where a hardware -mounted gate belongs."

Consumer Reports says hardware-mounted gates are the only kind to use at the top of stairs. Look how well this one held up in the test.

Consumer Reports has a caution about accordion-style gates. While they haven't been manufactured for years, sometimes people pass on their equipment. With baby products that's generally not a good idea. The accordion-style gates have caused some serious injuries.

There's all sorts of helpful buying information in the newly-published Consumer Reports Best Baby Products book. You can find it on sale in bookstores.

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