Stairs and babies can be a dangerous combination and all baby gates are not made equal so it’s important to do your research. We’ve looked closely at safety features and parents’ reviews to put together our list of the best baby gates for the top of the stairs – as well as showing you what to look out for.
Buying baby gates for the top of the stairs
Anywhere else in the home a baby gate is keeps baby in one place and out of another while keeping her safe in the process. A gate at the top of the stairs has to work a whole lot harder! It needs to be robust enough to stand the knocks, barges and pulls delivered by our little ones to protect them from potentially serious injury. Here are the main things to look out for:
There are many types of baby gates available but usually the ones that screw into the wall are best suited for use at the top of the stairs – but there are exceptions! That doesn’t mean that you’re restricted to swing gates alone – we even found a super strong pressure gate that’s up to the job! (See our buyer’s guide for more information.)
If you buy a swing gate for the top of the stairs it’s important that it can be adjusted to swing one way – away from the stairs. A gate that opens onto the stairs can quickly become a hazard; reaching out for a gate that is over the stairs can make us unbalanced.
Ease of use
Most baby gate manufacturers understand that busy parents with young children rarely have two hands free, so most gates have a one-handed operation. Although they do vary from gate to gate.
Size of space
No two houses are the same so most gates have some degree of flexibility in terms of width – either built into the operation of the gate or by using extension kits.
Here’s our pick of the best baby gates for stairs.
Width: 76 – 82cm
This stair gate is an absolute steal! With squeeze and lift handle it’s easy for adults
to use one-handed, but with the reassurance of a u-shaped power frame to provide solid pressure fitting and a pressure indicator to ensure it’s safely installed. A second lock at the bottom gives extra peace of mind. If the maximum width doesn’t quite cut it an additional extension is available which gives you a total of 117cm.
We say: A solid, bargain of a baby gate that goes up in five minutes and you don’t even need your own tools. We love! (Best suited to the bottom of the stairs because of the bottom bar).
Width: 62 – 102cm
This gate has a couple of unique features: huge extension capability without having to buy a separate kit and no step over bar for trip-free use.
As you would expect there is one-hand opening (because let’s face it, how many mothers have two hands!) as well as a dual action release mechanism if you need to move it around the house. This gate can also be set to open either one or both ways which makes it super safe for the top of the stairs.
We say: Extra safety features make this is a great choice for the top or bottom of the stairs. Star buy.
Retractable stair gates are a personal favourite of mine. They’re a bit quieter to use, and the mesh is soft but really tough – less chance of a banged head if little ones bang into them – and they’re just so neat. No visible gate to worry about when you’re not using it, it’s all rolled up and tucked away – perfect for smaller spaces.
This one comes in three whopping widths on Amazon: 140cm, 150cm and a super-wide 180cm. It has one-handed operation as you’d expect, is super safe and it comes with extra brackets so you can move it around the house easily wherever the brackets are installed. All screws etc are supplied.
We say: A bit more expensive than a metal stairgate but you get a lot more width for your money and the added benefit of being able to hide it away when you’re not using it. A good solid choice for a safe baby gate for stairs – top or bottom.
This is a really flexible option for another gate that folds away therefore great for tight spaces – but great for wide spaces too thanks to BabyDan’s different extension options which you can buy separately. The baby gate can be fixed either inside or outside a door so check the different dimensions here to make sure it will fit your space.
Like all retractable options there is no threshold, so it can be used at the top or bottom of the stairs. Reviewers say that it’s sturdy, easy to fit and simple to use.
We say: A great discreet and versatile option for use anywhere in the house.
Width: 62.5 – 106.8cm
Safetots’ extra tall stair gate is a good choice for the top of the stairs thanks to screw fittings, sits at over 103cm tall and is pretty wide too.
Reviewers say that it can keep three-year olds at bay and that the opening function is easy enough for adults to open but more than tough enough for toddlers.
We say: For some people – especially those with toddlers that climb or are themselves tall – extra tall gates are a must. This is a solid brand a super flexible option.