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Best Retractable Baby Gates for Bottom of Stairs and Halls

What's a baby gate?

A baby gate is used to provide a barrier to keep the child from going to areas that may be dangerous or where you can't keep an eye on them. They are useful for blocking of areas of the house and usually fit between doorways or entry ways. If you use a baby gate to confine an infant or toddler to a room, you may want to setup a baby monitor to watch the baby if you leave the room.

Our poll shows that over 72% of people are looking for a baby gate to prevent a baby from going up the stairs.

This guide has been updated for 2014 - 2015

Going down stairs or going up

Protecting an infant from a Gateway

After the birth of a baby, it's admirable that parents will take the steps post pregnancy to protect an infant from falling down stairs and fracturing a bone or some other type of injury where they might break something. A gate is an excellent solution that restricts access and is much more preferable than the alternative of a trip to the emergency room.

I'm not sure why, but babies seem to love stairs, so just as important it is to protect a baby from falling down stairs, putting a gate at the bottom of stairs will prevent them from climbing up them in the first place.

Find the Best Baby Safety Gate

Picking out a baby safety gate can be more complicated then it sounds. The most important piece is making sure that the baby gates fits the space that is designed to block. Second, if it's a common walkway, then you may want a gate that is easy to step over or that is a retractable. The third thing to consider is the aesthetics of the baby gate. There are wood baby gates, and plastic gates that come in a large variety of styles and colors.

Another decision to make for your baby gate is whether you want to mount it to the wall or if you want a pressure mounted baby gate. Pressure mounted safety gates can use compressed air or a lever system to keep pressure on both sides to secure the gate. I'm concerned about using this type of gate at the top of stairs, and prefer a mounted version. The downside of the mounted gates is they require hardware to install.

Why Do I Need A Baby Gate

Baby gates are an effective safety device to protect children from hurting themselves.

Common uses of baby gates:

  • Placing baby gate to the entrance of stairs. Stairs can be very dangerous to an unsupervised child. It's important to protect babies from climbing up stairs as well as going down them.
  • Preventing a baby from entering the kitchen. The kitchen can be a dangerous place for babies. Hot stoves, cleaning supplies, heavy pots, and knives are just a few dangerous things that a baby can hurt themselves with.
  • Hallways often do not have doors. Safety baby gates can be used to act like a door and prevent the baby from escaping down the hall to rooms with opened doors.
  • Blocking closets without doors. Sometimes dangerous chemicals are stored in closets or there are items that can be pulled down on the baby. A gate can provide needed safety in this case.
  • When it's hot. During hot days, you may want to open the door to let cool air or breeze come in, at the same time, you don't want your baby to crawl out the door. Placing a baby gate in the doorway, will allow you to let cool air in and prevent the baby from going out the door.
  • Closing off a bridge. Gates are a good method of blocking off bridges. Especially if they are high off the ground or over water. For people that have small streams in their yards, they may require additional fencing.

Evenflo Baby Gates

  • Evenflo Baby Gates - Is the #1 Preferred Baby gate base on our previous poll
  • No longer makes the SimpleEffort Electronic baby gate.

Regalo Baby Gates

My research shows that Regalo sells the most popular baby gates in 2012 - 2013. These include several models that are easy to step through by undoing the latch. Extra wide models as well, but there are better options like the Summer Infant for extra wide and tall gate needs.

However, this gate is popular because it's relatively inexpensive and fill the basic gate needs.

Kidco Baby Gate

  • Kidco Baby Gate
    • Kidco Safety gates meet government standards for safety. This is the only one I saw advertised this way.
    • Full line of pressure mount gates
    • Three types of hardware mount gates
    • Three specialty gates for extra wide areas and irregular shapes
    • Fireplace and wood burning stove baby safety gates that block the entire area around to prevent a child from burning themselves
    • Play area gates enclose the child in an area and act a like a pen
    • Supports extra wide areas and irregular shapes

First Years Baby Gate

  • First Years Baby Gate
    • Tomy makes the First Years Baby Gate
    • My favorite gate is the Everywhere baby gate that is tall enough to prevent a toddler from climbing over the top.
    • This gate can be hardware or pressure mounted

Dream Baby Gate

Dream Baby Gate

  • This may be the gate with the best reviews
  • Several people claim it's easy to use and effective
  • Comes with extra tall option

What Brand Make ths Best Baby Gate

Questions about Infant and Toddler Gates

1. Will a baby gate keep Germs out?

Answer: No. Baby gates are not for germs. They are to restrict access to gateways to prevent injuries, not illnesses caused by bacteria or germs. Some heppa air filters may do the job.

2. Can I use a baby gate in a Windowsill?

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Answer: Yes. If you have low windows, get a gate fit for the windowsill or window frame casing. You may also want to invest in child proof window locks as an additional precaution.

3. How to protect a baby from falling through railing?

Answer: The gaps in railngs must be blocked. Some solutions include stapling a thick plastic guard across the railing. Baby gates can be used to block them from getting to the stair railings, but aren't suited for keeping them from falling through the railings.

Questions about Baby Gates

bassinet on May 02, 2011:

Great advice on purchasing a baby gate. I know it will be an important decision and I want to make sure we get one that has been time-tested and proven. I had no idea so many varieties are out there but this list will help to narrow it down.

Blog Lady from USA on February 01, 2011:

We love our Dreambaby gate. Great post and well-written.

Yes, baby gates work for pets too. I've read some people put one gate above another to keep their pet cats from jumping over.

2uesday on July 20, 2010:

We used baby gates when our children were small to keep them safe from stairs etc. I can remember wishing that I had bought one that opened, like a gate, as climbing over the one we had with a baby in my arms and also a toddler to lift over it was not easy. In those days the release mechanism on our child safety-gate was time consuming to remove and re-fit the gate. So you are right about the importance of selecting the right gate for its purpose.

aufderkartbahn on June 16, 2010:

We also had trouble finding a gate. Eventually we took a thirty year old baby gate from my mother-on-law. It's a (g)oldie!

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on August 18, 2009:

My husband and I are in desparate need of finding the right baby gate for the bottom of our stairs. We have an open stairway (no banister), which comes down to a landing then turns 90 degrees to the right for two more steps down into dining room. We need a "L" shaped gate to secure to the outside wall in the dining room and outside wall of the staircase. Please do you have any suggestions?


If you have an unusual shape that you need to block, you may want to hire a carpenter to build a custom baby gate. It's possible to build something that is temporary. One idea is to build a small wall for one side of the "L" and then put in a traditional gate for the other leg.

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on June 25, 2008:

@LdsNana, I often hear grandparents say that they need baby gates. My parents have been looking at them for their house as well as for their swimming pool. We've been pretty worried about the kids at their house since there isn't a gate to keep them away from the water.

Kathryn Skaggs from Southern California on January 17, 2008:

Very good information. Believe it or not, I need to purchase a new baby gate for when my grandchildren are here. This is most appreciated.



Earth Angel on October 27, 2007:

Hey Paul!! Women just love the signs of men nesting!! Even those of us who do not have children!! I agree with Jimmy in his second comment as I have a house full of fur!! Although they are allowed to sleep anywhere they want, and of course it's ALWAYS in bed with me, sometimes they need a time-out from each other!! This is where baby gates come in most handy for me!! A few minutes in their own territories and they are willing to make love once again!! Blessings to you and the entire clan!! Earth Angel!!

Jimmy the jock from Scotland on October 27, 2007:

I forgot to mention Paul that baby gates are also effective when you have a pet dog, to keep them from straying upstairs and sleeping on your bed.....jimmy

Jimmy the jock from Scotland on October 27, 2007:

For a moment there I thought you were going to tell us about Bill's children Paul, lol, good information for parents to be, nice hub.....jimmy

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