Your little one is going to be busy crawling, climbing, and trying to walk. Now is an excellent time to baby-proof the house.
Steps are one of the most dangerous places in the home. Thousands of children end up in the emergency room because of falls, and some die from their injuries (1).
But you can protect your infant by blocking off his access to unsafe places. Baby gates are the ideal solution as they ensure a supervised space. They don’t block the view, and they allow adults to pass through the area (2).
Today, we’re going to review the best baby gates for stairs with banisters. These include gates for the top and the bottom of the stairs as both are essential. Blocking only the top allows your child to climb and risk a fall back down the steps.
Which are the best baby gates for stairs with banisters?
Here’s the TL;DR version:
- Hardware-mounted baby gates are safest for stairs.
- They come in metal or wood.
- Some have adapter kits to let you drill fewer or no holes on the railing.
- Make sure the one you want is JPMA-certified for safety.
There are two types of baby gates. One is pressure-mounted, sometimes with suction cups. We won’t be reviewing those today as they are inadequate for fencing off steps (3).
Instead, you can narrow down your choices by focusing on hardware-mounted baby gates. These are sturdier than tension-mounted gates. Therefore, they are perfect for blocking off the stairs.
I realize you (or your landlord) may object to drilling holes in the railing or the walls. Happily, there are other options like adapter kits for railings that don’t require drilling. And think of it this way – it’s better to fill in small holes in the wall when you move than to end up in the hospital.
Although it’s not ideal, you could place a pressure-mounted gate at the bottom of the stairs (but never at the top). Consequently, you could reduce the number of holes to drill.
As for material, it’s really up to you and your décor. Metal may be more durable, but there are solid wood gates that withstand heavy use, too.
In any case, only settle for a baby gate that’s certified by the JPMA, or Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. They assess the design’s safety by checking the openings’ size to make sure the child can’t climb up or wiggle through the gate.
If you purchase or inherit a used gate, you can check the Consumer Products Safety Commission site for recalls.
Please install the gates by the time your child can pull herself up and crawl. Some experts recommend having gates up by the time your child is 6 months old. Then you could remove them once your toddler starts climbing them, or else opt for a taller gate.
How to select the best baby gate for your stairs
Quick review for busy parents:
- Measure the width of the stairs. Would an adjustable-width gate be handy?
- Can you mount the gate low enough on the banister wall to keep the child from crawling underneath it?
- Will the latch be comfortable for you to manipulate?
- Do you prefer metal or wood? What color?
- How about a self-closing gate?
You’re about to go shopping for a baby gate – have you measured your stairs yet?
You need to know the width of the steps. It also helps to inspect the banister and baseboard to see how high the gate will be mounted from the floor. It will defeat the purpose if your child can crawl underneath the gate.
Some gates have an adjustable width. That’s convenient if you need a baby gate for difficult stairs. Also, some gates can be lifted up out of their mounting hardware and removed.
Next, become familiar with child safety locks. Most gates have a latch that’s supposed to be easy for adults yet tricky for children to open. Double-check that the method will work for you.
After that, it’s nice to consider the color and style that suits your décor. Check the pictures and the fine print. You definitely don’t want a baby gate with a step-over rail on your stairs. Also, pay attention to whether the gate opens in the correct direction, or both directions, and if it’s self-closing.
Best Baby Gates for Stairs with Banisters in 2020
Let’s begin the reviews with wooden baby gates for stairs. These are hardware-mounted.
Summer Banister and Stair, Top of Stairs Baby Gate
Summer Infant makes JPMA-certified baby gates. This particular model is available in white, golden cherry, and white birch with gray accents.
The gate stands 33 inches tall and is appropriate for openings between 32 to 48 inches in width.
It comes with a dual installation kit. This means you can place it between two banisters, a railing and a wall, or in a doorway. It’s suitable for round and rectangular banisters.
If you have square banisters, you won’t need to drill them as long as they are no more than 3 and a half inches wide. That’s because the kit includes fasteners that wrap around the posts.
What’s nice is the gate has a quick-release mechanism. You can lift it off the hinges and get it out of the way temporarily. It’s convenient when you’re vacuuming the stairs, for example.
Toddleroo by North States 42″ Stairway Swing Baby Gate
The American brand North States also operates under the name Toddleroo now. Their products are certified by JPMA and ASTM for safety.
They created this wooden gate to fit openings between 28 to 42 inches wide. It stands 30 inches tall.
The natural wood is non-toxic and harvested from sustainable forests in the USA. The gate bars are 2 and three-quarter inches apart, close enough that curious babies can’t wiggle through them.
Parents like the latch as opens and closes with one hand. The gate is also simple to install with the hardware that comes with it.
The design prevents the gate from swinging open over the stairs. You decide which direction it opens with the included hinge.
Moreover, you can pull the gate off its hinges and place it out of the way if you have a lot of foot traffic on a given day.
Evenflo, Top of Stairs, Extra Tall Gate, Tan Wood
Evenflo’s wooden baby gate also carries a JPMA certification. It fits openings between 30 and 48 inches and is 32 inches tall.
It has a removable swing stop to keep the gate from opening over the stairs. Furthermore, there is a one-handed safety latch that requires two simultaneous actions to unlock. Unfortunately, some parents find it stiff and difficult to use.
What’s interesting is that the gate both retracts and swings open.
If you’re concerned about installing and using the gate, the manufacturer has an instructional video.
For superior durability, strength, and longevity, I’d recommend a metal baby gate.
Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Wall-Mounted Baby Gate
When you shop for a baby gate, it’s nice to know if it will fit and install correctly and if it’s going to be sturdy enough. This one is a top seller with generally positive reviews and a reasonable price. But it may not be ideal for difficult stairs.
Parents recommend installing it with sheetrock anchors on the wall instead of the hardware included in the kit. This keeps rowdy toddlers from pulling it loose. Owners also point out that it won’t fit tapered posts without modification.
With that said, the gate has a lot going for it. It’s JPMA and ASTM-certified. The coating is PVC-free, too.
It stands 30 and a half inches tall and fits 28 to 42-inch openings. Thankfully, the manufacturer is explicit about specifics regarding installation with baseboards, two banisters, a post, and a wall, and so on.
The design is suitable for nearly all stairways, and it comes with a built-in leveler. The kit also includes banister corner protectors, plastic wall spacers, round and square banister adapters, and mounting hardware.
Like many hardware-mounted gates, you can lift it up and remove it for storage.
The squeezable latch will require a little bit of practice for parents but is pretty much impossible for small children to open.
Lastly, it comes with a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty.
Toddleroo by North States 47.85″ Wide Easy Swing & Lock Gate for Standard Stairways
You can get this adjustable metal gate in warm white, matte bronze, and white. It’s 36 inches tall and expands between 28.68 and 47.85 inches wide.
It’s JPMA and ASTM-certified, with narrow openings between the vertical bars so that toddlers can’t climb up and over.
It opens for adults with one hand and swings in a single direction. If you need to remove it for a while, the door lifts off the mounting hardware.
Toddleroo by North States 72” Deluxe Décor Baby Gate
If you have very wide stairs, this is the perfect baby gate. It expands up to 5 feet in width. You can also mount it in doorways, around fireplaces, and on angled walls.
Choose from warm white or matte bronze. The metal frame is rugged and comes with robust mounting hardware.
The gate unlatches with one hand (for adults) and has a hold-open feature that keeps it from swinging closed if necessary.
Munchkin Loft Hardware Mounted Baby Gate
Munchkin’s baby gates are JPMA-certified and come with a one-year warranty. This one is made of aluminum. It’s 30.5 inches tall and adjusts between 26.5 and 40 inches wide.
The Indexed Sizing System lets you quickly get the right fit with preset positions. Then, there’s an Integrated Tuning System that compensates for when walls aren’t level.
Like most hardware-mounted baby gates, this one has a quick release to let you remove it. It also swings in either direction. It has a double lock system on the latch, yet it only requires one hand to manipulate.
Munchkin Extending XL Tall and Wide Baby Gate
This baby gate can be set to open in only one direction for stairs or two ways for doorways. It’s 36 inches tall and fits openings between 33 to 56 inches wide.
It has an integrated tilting hinge, which puts less strain on walls. But the mounting hardware still allows you to release the gate and remove it if needed.
Dreambaby Liberty Auto-Close Security Gate with Extension
This baby gate is convenient for two reasons. First, it closes automatically behind you and latches. And second, you can set it to stay open if you need to make repeated trips.
It fits openings between 29.5 and 36.5 inches if you use the included 3.5-inch extension panel. The manufacturer also offers additional extensions to fit spaces up to 54 inches.
It comes with all the hardware you need to install it for stairs. Typically, this is a pressure-mounted gate that is appropriate for the bottom of the steps. But the mounting kit includes parts to fasten it to the wall or banisters.
Evenflo Secure Step Gate
The neat feature of this gate is that you can see at a glance if it’s securely closed. The indicator will be green.
It’s 30 inches tall and fits openings between 29 and 42 inches. It has a relatively thick safety latch for adults only.
To install it, you’ll need a drill with a 9/64-inch bit, a screwdriver, and something to mark the wall, like a pencil.
KidCo Safeway Hardware-Mounted Baby Gate
Choose from either black or white if you like this no-nonsense baby gate. It has a clean design with all the basics you expect.
It was primarily designed for use at the top of the stairs. It has a directional stop that allows it to swing in only one direction.
Owners with difficult stairs like how the hinge hardware can be mounted on an angle. But be aware that mental banisters require different hardware. However, there is a no-drill adapter kit available.
The adjustable width lets the gate fit between 28 and 42.5 inches. If you purchase an extension (sold separately), it can cover up to 63 inches. It stands 31 inches tall.
I’m delighted you visited today and hope you discovered the perfect baby gate for your stairs.
Shopping for the best baby gate is more than just getting the measurements right. It’s choosing safety first.
If you get a baby gate that’s comfortable to use, it will become a natural part of your home’s everyday life.
1. https://www.asecurelife.com/home-accident-statistics/ by Brianne Sandorf, published December 5, 2019, accessed December 15, 2020
2. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Safety-for-Your-Child-6-to-12-Months.aspx updated August 30, 2018, accessed December 15, 2020
3. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/safety-gates/buying-guide/index.htm published May 13, 2020, accessed December 15, 2020
4. https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, accessed December 15, 2020