Since you can’t keep your wee tyke contained with safety gates forever, you’ll need to know when it is safe do take them down. Learn and follow a few guidelines to determine how long you should have them up and what to do with them afterward. Whether the gates are up or not, there is no substitute for parental supervision.
The general guideline that people tend to follow for keeping safety gates up is an age range. According to Consumer Reports, safety gates are meant for infants and toddlers between 6 months and 2 years old. However, you can install your safety gates prior to the 6-month mark, if you want to get a jump on your baby proofing.
Even if your child hasn’t quite reached the 2-year mark, there are instances when you may want to take the gates down earlier. When your little one starts to climb up the gate or has figured out how to open it, it’s safer to take it down than it is to leave it up.
If your child’s chin has reached the top of gate, he has outgrown it and you should take it down. If your infant or toddler is tall or heavy for his age, you may have to take the gate down sooner than the 2-year mark. This is especially true for a pressure-mounted gate, as he could just lean on it and cause it to fall over.
After the Gates
Once the baby gates are down or you know you will be doing so soon, you must teach your child how to successfully navigate the stairs. Show him how to properly scoot up and down each stair first. When he starts to sharpen his large motor skills, you can teach him how to hold onto the railing while he uses his feet to climb each stair.
What to Do With the Gates
You may ask yourself, "Now what do I do with these things?" You can leave hardware-mounted gates up or take them down. If you have pressure-mounted gates, you can keep those around for other uses. These work well for containing pets to one area. They can also act as a barrier during parties or family gatherings. If you have a damaged, accordion-style, recalled or old, hand-me-down gate, you should toss it.