“Safety first”– It’s a phrase we hear all the time.
It takes on a new meaning when your little one starts to crawl.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to baby-proof the house.
One of the priorities is getting the best baby gate for stairs with banisters.
(Or just baby gates in general whether or not you have steps to worry about.)
But stairs pose a particular risk since they are a place where children are likely to be injured.
Let’s learn about which baby gate is best for stairs.
- What kind of baby gate is best for stairs with a railing or banisters?
- When should you install baby gates on stairs, and when should you remove them?
- How can you know if a baby gate is safe?
- Top Baby Gates for Stairs with Banisters
- Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate
- Cardinal Gates Banister Shield
- Toddleroo by North States, Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate
- Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Wall-Mounted Baby Gate
- Evenflo Secure Step Gate
- Evenflo Walk-Thru Top Of Stairs Baby Gate
- Summer Infant Top of Stairs Simple to Secure Metal Gate
- Munchkin Loft Aluminum Hardware Mount Baby Gate for Stairs
- Safety 1st Ready to Install Baby Gate
- Summer Infant Banister and Stair, Top of Stairs Baby Gate
- Safety Innovations No Hole Stairway Baby Gate Mounting Kit
- Munchkin Easy Close XL Metal Baby Gate
- Kidco Y Spindle
What kind of baby gate is best for stairs with a railing or banisters?
You may already know there are two types of baby gates: pressure-mounted and hardware-mounted.
The former uses tension or suction cups, or a combination of these methods, to anchor itself. That’s convenient if you need to move the baby gate from place to place.
Meanwhile, the latter is screwed into the wall or fastened onto the banister. It’s permanent.
Thankfully, there are options for attaching hardware-mounted gates to a railing spindle if you don’t have a wall handy.
If you’re renting, you may be reluctant to drill holes. Have a conversation with your landlord. It’s easier to repair a small screw hole than a broken bone.
Please, never put a pressure-mounted baby gate at the top of the stairs. They just aren’t sturdy enough (1).
You need a hardware-mounted gate at the top.
And yes, you still need a baby gate for the bottom of the stairs. I know it’s inconvenient, but do you really want your infant to climb up steps and fall back down?
At the bottom, however, you can get away with a pressure-mounted gate.
When should you install baby gates on stairs, and when should you remove them?
It’s recommended that you put up baby gates at the top and bottom of the steps before your child is 6 months old.
Once the baby starts pulling herself up, she’s already at risk (2).
Then, once she’s about two years old, or starting to climb the gate, you may remove it. Some parents opt for a taller gate to prevent climbing.
How can you know if a baby gate is safe?
One of the easiest ways to tell if a baby gate is considered safe is to see if it carries a certification from the JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) (3).
The JPMA checks whether the gate is sturdy and if there are openings that could trap little fingers and toes. They see if the openings are big enough for little bodies to try and wriggle through, and whether the gate sits close enough to the floor to prevent passage.
It also only takes a few seconds to check the recalls site to see if that baby gate model was recalled for safety issues.
You can also register with the manufacturer to get notified if there’s a problem after your purchase.
In general, however, there are other guidelines to consider.
Look at the baby gate – most have vertical bars to prevent climbing. Make sure the one you want doesn’t have footholds.
Next, see if you can manipulate the latch. You’d be surprised how many adults end up in the emergency room after falling while trying to step over a baby gate.
After you’ve installed it, give it a good every once in a while to ensure it’s still stable.
Top Baby Gates for Stairs with Banisters
Now that you’re wise about choosing baby gates for stairways, let’s look at the options.
Cardinal Gates Stairway Angle Baby Gate
Cardinal Gates is a manufacturer that carries the JPMA certification on their products. They come highly recommended by Consumer Reports.
Let me point out why this is one of the best baby gates for difficult stairs.
To begin with, it can mount at angles up to 30°. It doesn’t have to be straight across to work.
It’s adjustable in width from 27 to 42.5 inches, and it’s 29.5 inches tall.
Second, the robust aluminum construction consists of vertical bars only. There are no footholds for climbing. And the opening between the bars is too small for little heads to wedge into.
The latch is designed for adults to open with one hand, but it’s too tricky for toddlers.
The gate swings open in both directions if you wish, or you can install the stop bracket. Then the gate only opens one way.
You can use this in any doorway, at the top of the stairs, and at the bottom. It’s available in black, white, or brown with a powder-coated finish.
Cardinal Gates Banister Shield
While we’re on the topic of safety gates for stairs with banisters, here’s another product to consider.
It’s tempting for a child to cram their head into the opening between the spindles.
You can prevent this without making your home look tacky. Cardinal Gates offers shatterproof crystal clear plastic in a variety of sizes.
It comes with all the hardware you need to mount it discreetly.
Toddleroo by North States, Wide Easy Swing & Lock Baby Gate
The Toddleroo baby gate is available in matte bronze or white.
The durable steel construction is sleek and elegant.
It has a latch that’s easy for adults to open, plus you can easily remove the gate from the hardware mounts if needed.
The design prevents it from swinging out over stairs.
Even if you have an ample space to cover, it adjusts from 28.68 to 47.85 inches in width.
Regalo 2-in-1 Stairway and Hallway Wall-Mounted Baby Gate
Regalo’s baby gate expands from 29 to 43 inches wide. It’s 30.5 inches tall. But what makes it ideal for stairs with banisters is the mounting hardware.
It comes with banister corner protectors and both round and square banister adapters. There are also wall spacers and a leveler. With the included hardware, you don’t need to drill into the railing or the woodwork.
It comes with a user guide to help you install it.
Put it at the top and bottom of the steps or in any doorway. You can always pull the gate off the mounting hardware to move it out of the way.
It has a child-proof safety lock that squeezes to open.
Moreover, it’s certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Evenflo Secure Step Gate
Evenflo’s gate latch here is different from the competition. It really is easy to use with one hand, or even an elbow in a pinch.
Furthermore, the Secure Step Gate is made especially for securing the top of a stairway. But feel free to use it in other areas, too.
It opens in both directions and fits openings between 29 to 42 inches. It’s 30 inches tall and has no floor bar that you can trip over.
The sturdy metal structure installs in about 15 minutes. To put it up, you’ll need a drill with a 9/64-inch bit, a screwdriver, and something like a pencil to make marks.
Evenflo Walk-Thru Top Of Stairs Baby Gate
If you prefer a wooden gate, take a look at this one from Evenflo. It fits openings between 30 and 48 inches.
It has a squeeze latch that you can operate with one hand. Plus, it comes with a swing stop that lets it open in one direction only if you wish.
Parents explain that it is easy to install, and they like the natural wood appearance. But some were concerned about the difficulty of opening the latch.
Evenflo offers a 90-day warranty on the baby gate.
Summer Infant Top of Stairs Simple to Secure Metal Gate
This metal baby gate has a thumb latch that parents say is very sturdy and secure.
It also comes with a stopper that prevents it from opening over the top of the stairs.
The only con mentioned in some reviews is the quality of the plastic wall anchors. But it’s simple to replace them with a different wall anchor.
Install it at the bottom and top of the stairs. It’s 30 inches tall and fits in openings from 29 to 42 inches wide. The Precision Fit Template ensures that you don’t have to rely on measuring or guesswork.
Munchkin Loft Aluminum Hardware Mount Baby Gate for Stairs
Instead of the typical white or black baby gate, you can also enjoy silvery modern aluminum.
This baby gate is designed for blocking access to the stairs. It has a squeezable latch that children are unable to open. Push it shut, and it automatically locks.
The 30.5-inch tall gate extends from 26.5 to 40 inches wide to fit virtually any stairway or entryway. It swings open in either direction.
What’s more, it features quick-release wall mounts to pull the gate off the mounts and out of the way.
The installation system has an Integrated Tuning System that compensates for when walls aren’t level.
Safety 1st Ready to Install Baby Gate
For easy installation, this metal baby gate comes fully assembled. It’s a top of stairs baby gate – no drill required.
You can install the whole thing in 15 minutes with just a screwdriver. (Yes, you will be making holes with the screws.)
It fits openings between 29 and 42 inches wide with no drywall anchors needed. But it requires a flat mounting surface that’s at least 3.5 inches across.
It has a stopper that prevents it from swinging in one direction if you desire.
It’s JPMA-certified, and it meets ASTM standards.
Summer Infant Banister and Stair, Top of Stairs Baby Gate
Stairs with banisters aren’t ideal for mounting a baby gate. But this gate solves the problem with a dual installation kit.
You can secure one side of the gate to square or round banister posts without drilling them. Then the other side can be mounted to the wall.
Moreover, it’s made of honey oak wood to match the banister.
Put it at the top and the bottom of the stairs as it fits openings between 32 to 48 inches wide. It’s 33 inches tall.
Safety Innovations No Hole Stairway Baby Gate Mounting Kit
Here’s a kit to adapt a baby gate to fit stairs with railings. It fits posts that are at least 2 and three-quarters inches and not more than 3 and 5 eighths inches wide.
You’ll need one kit for each post, but you won’t have to drill the post if you use it.
It consists of sturdy clamps with metal bolts, not cheap plastic straps. The clamps secure the gate to the post in place of screws.
The manufacturer recommends watching the video before purchasing and installing.
Munchkin Easy Close XL Metal Baby Gate
At the bottom of the stairs, you can use a pressure-mounted baby gate like this one. The cute design resembles a miniature door.
Fortunately, the miniature “window” openings are high enough that most babies won’t be able to use them for climbing.
At 36 inches, it’s taller than the typical baby gate. But you need to keep in mind that it has a bar at the bottom that you’ll need to step over.
In other words, pressure-mounted gates like this one could become a trip hazard on stairs. You never want to put them at the top of the steps as it’s dangerous to do so.
It fits in spaces measuring 29.5 up to 51.6 inches in width, plus it’s JPMA-certified.
Kidco Y Spindle
What if you need a baby gate for difficult stairs? Like the bottom of the stairs with only one wall and a wrought iron railing?
This adaptive kit will simplify installation. It’s compatible with most pressure-mounted baby gate models.
The padded spindle secures one side to thin posts of the banister.
If you have railings on both sides of the stairs, Kidco makes a kit for that situation, too.
I’m happy you stopped by today to see reviews of the best baby gates for stairs.
I hope you found the indoor safety gate that best fits your situation.
If so, come back and drop us a comment below.
1. http://www.proofed.com/blog/why-buy-a-baby-safety-gate by Mandy Schort, published September 21, 2015, accessed August 4, 2020
2. http://www.proofed.com/blog/can-baby-gates-be-unsafe by Mandy Schort, published July 20, 2015, accessed August 4, 2020
3. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/safety-gates/buying-guide/index.htm published May 13, 2020, accessed August 4, 2020