misc.kids FAQ on Babyproofing - Hearths

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May 21, 2006, 12:22:23 AM5/21/06
Archive-name: misc-kids/babyproofing/hearths
Posting-Frequency: monthly

Childproofing a Hearth

From: Harry Jenter, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston VA

Thanks to everyone that responded to my original request for hearth
child-proofing. Here is a collection of the responses that I
received. They're grouped loosely into three categories:

1) physical modifications to the hearth
2) teaching the child to avoid hearths
3) erecting a barrier or placing pads on the hearth

I've editted them a little to reduce space.


From: mi...@eskimo.com (Mike Fields)

What we did for our hearth that has worked out very well was to get some of
those steel angle sheet rock corners (light wt. steel angle iron equiv about
1-1/4 X 1-1/4 inches) and glue polyfoam pipe insulation with a 90 degree
wedge cut out of it to the angle. We then screwed the angle to the hearth
after drilling small holes with a masonary bit. Works great! and the
advantage of using the steel angle instead of gluing directly to the hearth
is that when the kids get older etc, it is easy to remove, leaving only the
small mounting holes. Of course, you have to watch for them trying to eat
the stuff when they are teething (as well as anything else they can wrap
their gums around!!) We also used the foam insulation on the aquarium
stand that I welded up (80 gallon tank ) for the front room. The
pipe insulation comes in 6 foot lengths (I think) and is only a couple
of dollars per length. It is avail in a number of sizes, although the
most common one seems to be for 1/2 or 3/4 inch pipe. This has an outside
diameter of about 2 inches. It is available in off-white, brown, gray
and perhaps some other colors.

hope that saves someone's head/teeth!!


From: tig...@satyr.Sylvan.COM (Grace Sylvan)

There is a company that advertises in _Mothering_ magazine.

Protect your Child from dangerous fireplace hearths.
Starts at $39.95, custom built 6 colors. Call 404-717-0088
Baby Bumpers, Inc. 479 Loma St. Liburn GA 30247

Disclaimer: I have not ordered one, and I don't represent the company,
just passing on info that I remembered seeing


From: mon...@cerl.uiuc.edu (Monica Fortner)

What we did was cover some sheets of 1/2 inch cork with clear contact
paper and then fasten that to the fireplace with Liquid Nails. The
cork was about the same color as our brick, so it looked ok. It has
held up for 3 years. My biggest concern is when we want to sell the
house, we may have trouble removing the Liquid Nail spots.


From: dseg...@oasys.dt.navy.mil (Diane Segelhorst)

I forget where I read this idea. It may have been on misc.kids, and
the originator will mail you a response as well. Just in case (s)he
doesn't, I'll try to summarize what I remember.

Take some of that metal or plastic outside corner strip. It is about
3/4" by 3/4". With small cement or brick anchors, or burred nails,
attach this to the brick corner of the hearth. Use as few nails as
will hold it securely. Then take the foam pipe insulators that you can
get at a hardware store. Cut out one quarter of the insulator, and
glue it to the metal stripping. This provides a nice cushioned
corner. When you are ready to remove it, all you will be left with is
the few small nail holes you used to hold the metal stripping in

I'll _try_ to do an ascii sketch, but who knows if it will help you
understand what I mean!

/ \
Foam Pipe / __\
Cover | | ______ Metal Corner stuff
\ | | ________________________
\___| | |
| | Brick Hearth

EDITORIAL NOTE: I received a phone call from Mike Fields who described
this solution in great detail. He may have been the original
poster mentioned above. Thanks, Mike. --Harry


From: lau...@notavax.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Laura Floom)

If you cant baby proof it, then the best thing to do is to teach him
how to climb up and down safely. I have some cement steps in my front
and back yard, and that's what we did.


From: dl...@weber.UCSD.EDU (Diane Lin)

We have a similar situation--brick fireplace which is never used, but
it's one of the only Off-Limits areas we have in our place left :-).
We just instituted a simple rule: the fireplace hearth was
off-limits. So, when Dylan started making his way over there, we would
say (very calmly and in a normal voice) "off-limits." Then, we would
pick him up and transport him to a safer area, and try to distract him
with something fun to play with. He would keep testing (at 10 months,
so will your son, I imagine) but after being faced with the same, exact
reaction from us, he soon tired of the test. We wanted to save using
"no" for really serious things, like life or limb-threatening
situations. BTW, he started crawling over to the fireplace at about 7
months, and now, at 15 months, he rarely even looks that way, because
he knows what will happen--consistency is all important in the early
limits placing, IMHO. We don't make it fun for him to go to the
off-limits areas (no swooping in the air, for instance), but will make
it more fun for him to avoid that area.

Friends of ours took a different tack--they surrounded the hearth
with big pillows in case their sons took a fall. Well,
unfortunately, that worked only for a little while, until the kids
were big enough to push the pillows out of the way. And, it didn't
help the kids learn that *all* fireplace hearths should be
off-limits. When we visit other houses, Dylan automatically avoids
the hearth areas. Maybe he just doesn't have a fascination with
bricks :-)


From: lat...@logdis1.oo.aflc.af.mil (Lynette Atwood)

I have the same problem at home. For our first child we had to cut a
large cardboard box (I believe it was a windshield box) and tape it
around the hearth. It looked tacky as hell but saved our little
monster's head. With this new baby (9 months old) we planned ahead.
We had my brother-in-law (who works for a plexiglass manufacturing
company) make a shield which goes around the three sides of the hearth
and is about 24 inches high. All corners are rounded off and the top
has a small (4 inch) shelf which faces in towards the fireplace to
prevent cuts. The plexiglass doesn't distract from the rest of the


From: phil...@bright.uoregon.edu (Chris Phillips)

We never use our fireplace. So I covered the whole lower part with
cardboard (leftover from moving boxes). It is still somewhat hard, but
at least is not as bad as brick or stone. It also helps a little to have
the bends in the cardboard a bit away from the corners they cover. You
would have to take it away when you had a fire (it could catch fire).


From: Craig Seidel <sei...@puma.sri.com>

If you don't mind UGLY, I've heard of people finding a box the same
size as their fireplace. I covered mine with plywood until we could
teach our child to keep away.


From: aut...@sgml.HQ.Ileaf.COM (Betsy Mandrus x2331)

We had this problem so my husband built a fence around the hearth and
covered it with some inexpensive but tough carpetting.



We have a free-standing fireplace in the middle of our living room (we
didn't design the layout!). It's our primary source of heat, and we
have a 3yr old and a 19 mo old, so we need pretty good child-proofing.
We use a big child-gate -- I think they're also called portable
playyards. It's one of those accordian things made out of panels; each
panel about 3 ft long, 18 ft long total. We wrap it all the way

I bought it at a garage sale for $5. I've seen them in stores
(ToysRUs, baby stores) and catalogs for alot more -- about $60-$70.

The other similar situtation we had was with the coffee table -- we
decided it's an essential piece of furniture, but it's also the source
of alot of bumps. When my son was learning to walk, I made a pad out
of foam rubber covered with cloth. It wrapped all the way around the
table and fastened with velcro. Unfortunately we took it off when he
seemed steady on his feet, and didn't put it back on for the 2nd child
until AFTER she ran into it with enough force to require 4 stitches.
The pad isn't pretty, but neither were the stitches!


From: no...@cats.UCSC.EDU

When our oldest daughter was that age she was fascinated with the
hearth (a raised brick platform) also. We stopped having fires,
obviously, so we weren't worried about the flammability of a hearth
pad. We used an ensolite foam pad, the kind backpackers used to use
and held it down with duct tape. It was pretty apparent to anyone who
entered our living room that there was a toddler in the house! But of
all the tumbles she took that launched her into the hearth she never
got so much as a bruise. Gradually the hearth lost its appeal, we
removed the foam pad, started having fires again, and found new things
to worry about. But I will always remember the time I walked into the
living room just as she was climbing onto the hearth and she looked
over her shoulder at me and said "no-no. Hot!", laughed, and continued
climbing up onto the hearth.


From: Laurie Hafner <lha...@vaxa.weeg.uiowa.edu>

We purchased 6 bedsize pillows (inexpensive ones) and my husband's
grandmother made covers for them to match the colors in our living
room. We prop the pillows up against the fireplace. They have
provided an excellent barrier to the bricks. We have not had any
accidents so far - thank goodness. We have a 28 mo old and a 14 mo old
- both boys who are very rough and tumble with each other. When we use
the fireplace, we remove the pillows and are always right there to make
sure they don't get burned or bumped.


From: Jean Jasinski <je...@hpfcso.fc.hp.com>

We bought a 2 inch thick piece of foam the length of the hearth and
covered it with a blanket. The foam extends over the front edge which
is also draped by the blanket so if they hit the top edge, they don't
catch the edge of the hearth. We also put some corner guards on the
corners. It doesn't look the fanciest, but I am more concerned with my
kids' safety.


From: har...@LONEX.RL.AF.MIL (Debbie D. Harden)

We, too, have an "evil" hearth. For awhile, a thick blanket draped
over the hearth worked well. Then James learned how to pull it off.

We received a mail-order cat. called "Perfectly Safe." In it they have
hearth bumpers you can purchase, but you have to call for a $
estimate. If you're interested, I can bring it in tomorrow and e-mail
you their number.


From: har...@LONEX.RL.AF.MIL (Debbie D. Harden)

The company is called "Perfectly Safe." Their customer service number
is 1-800-837-KIDS, Monday - Friday, 0900-1700.

They show a similar shield for coffee tables that costs $44.95 to fit
tables 93" - 192" around. The hearth guard is pictured on page 22 of
their catalogue. If they ask for a number on the mailing label (to see
which catalogue you're talking about) it's FA170.
Harry L. Jenter hje...@sparky.er.usgs.gov
U.S. Geological Survey COM: (703) 648-5890 FTS: 959-5890
Mailstop 430, National Center "Sometimes you're the bug.
Reston, Virginia 22092 Sometimes you're the windshield."


>From smi...@mof.govt.nz Thu Jul 2 13:20:10 1992

re: childproofing a woodstove
These are used widely in New Zealand. Studies have shown that
children rarely touch woodstoves deliberately, as they are usually
deterred by the heat. ( Adults are the main culprits, as their faces
are generally too far above the stove to feel the heat )

most cases of burns in children are caused by them tripping and falling
against the stove. Skin will stick to the glass doors and cause terrible

The best safeguard against this is a wrought iron ( or sometimes
aluminium ) "cage" around the stove. Even a couple of inches
from the stove is effective, as the cage prevents contact with
the stove. Although the cage may get hot from radiation, it will not
cause burns.

Vertical bars twelve inches apart are effective. Here, the cages
are made at reasonable cost by people who make gates, fences, pool
enclosures, etc. Many are made by D.I.Y .


From: Susan Raymond, University of Michigan

I have a source for babyproofing a hearth that I would like to mention.

In the last paragraph a man from New Zealand mentions putting a wrought iron
cage around a wood stove and that many local craftsman make these. I had a
hard time finding one here in the US. (Although it would seem logical to
sell these at wood stove stores.)

The following catalog carries a wrought iron cage at a reasonable price. For
about $60 plus shipping and handling:

Plow & Hearth
P.O. Box 5000
Madison, Virginia 22727-1500

24 hr ordering 1-800-627-1712
toll-free fax: 1-800-843-2509
Customer assistance: 1-800-866-6072


From: Tom McBrine

We have a fairly large hearth on our fireplace (8' long, 2 1/2' deep and
at least 8" high). What we did was build a wood cap which incased the
hearth on 3 sides, padded it with 1" styrofoam, and covered it with
contact paper in a color that matched the rug in the room. Due to it's
weight, there's no need to anchor it down. It ain't going anywhere!

You can't have fires, but it has really saved our kids from serious
injury. Just the other day our oldest, Jenny (2 1/2 yrs), tripped on a toy
and when she fell her forehead struck the front corner of the padded
hearth. She cried from the impact, but there wasn't a scratch on her.
This is a good example of why I feel teaching a child to avoid the hearth
isn't good enough. Accidents do happen!



May 21, 2006, 12:22:23 AM5/21/06
Archive-name: misc-kids/babyproofing/gates
Posting-Frequency: monthly

Additional Information on Gates

From: Judy Leedom Tyrer, Locus Computing Corporation, Los Angeles, California

Well, I can tell you I hate ours. We got one that you don't permanently
attach, but it uses a foot clamp that pushes two rubber pads up against the
edges of the doorway. Well, it falls out with the slightest provocation.
I think it was made by Gerry. Grey with a blue foot pedal. It DOES have
hinges you can use to permanently attach it, but we wanted to be able to
move it from room to room.


From: Rober Plamondon, WEITEK, Sunnyvale CA

Every gate I've seen is junk. They all work real hard for a "no tools
necessary" installation, and it makes them unreliable, unwieldy, and
expensive. I'm looking for a "great big cordless screwdriver required
for installation" gate myself. Anybody know of one?

Robert Plamondon, rob...@weitek.COM


From: Pat Homsey, AT&T Bell Laboratories, New Jersey

Sorry, don't have one of those. :-) But I do have one I've
been able to live with. I don't know the name but I'll try to
describe it. We actually bought it when we had a dog (pre-kids era).

It's a white gate with plastic cris-cross mesh with openings about
2 sq.in. on a diagonal. It stays in place very nicely with tension
bars at the top and bottom. You have to turn them to tighten against
your door jam. It doesn't take much time to tighten or loosen.

It's also short enough that I can step over it and I'm 5'4". The
kids were unable to climb it due to the small openings.

Crude picture alert!
)------------------------------( <- there area knobs at the four
|/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\| corners that tighten/loosen.


From: Nichael Cramer, Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge MA

We found a *great* one (well, two actually) at Somerville Lumber (which, of
course, means nothing if you're from outside New England). Unfortunately,
we've had it for +3yrs, so I don't remember the brand name or anything.

I'm going to steal Pat's picture to give you some idea what it looks like.

| |
|XI ________________________________ XXX|
|XI )------------------------------+---X|
|XI |/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\| o|X|
W |XI}{|\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/| |X| W
A |XI |/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\| |X| A
L |XI |\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/| |X| L
L |XI |/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\| |X| L
|XI |\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/| |X|
|XI |/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\| |X|
|XI |\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/| |X|
|XI}{|/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\| |X|
|XI |\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/| /XX|
|XI )______________________________|/XXX| (Pieces not to scale)
|XI -------------------------------/ XXX|

Basically, it's a hinged gate. Two permanent attachments are made to the
adjoining walls, but the itself gate is removable.

On the left, the "X" part is attached to the wall. In cross-section it
looks like this:

(Wall)|X******** ....

Where the "X" is the part attached to the wall and the "*" is the part of
the gate to which the hinge is attached. The gate part can be lifted out
and moved to be used in another doorway that has its own the "permanent"
pieces in place. (The "permanent" part is attached to the wall with 2 [3?]
screws and was very simple to attach.)

On the right side is the "latching" mechanism. This is a little hard to
draw, but in cross-section this looks like:

------------ |
********* XXXXXXX|
... ********* XXXXXXX| (Wall)
********* XXXXXXX|
------------ |

Where the "*" is the gate and the "X" is a strip that is attached to the
wall. The "-" part is one piece that slides up and to the left (i.e.
towards the center of the gate) and so swings free of the part attached to
the wall. (NOTE the "o" in the main diagram is a "bullet-latch" to keep
the moving part in place.)

This is almost impossible to describe and/or to draw, but is really very
simple in real life.

We have two which we use at the top of stairs. They're pretty heavy duty
and have lasted us through two kids with no mishaps so far.


From: Kate Gregory, CSRI, University of Toronto

Yeah, the Gerry that Judy hates :-) [Robert deleted the part where she said it
screwed into the wall but they wanted to move it around]. We bought it because
it was one of the few screw-into-the-wall types available, and we we had quite
a clear run up the the top of the stairs. We were concerned that Beth could
work up a full head of steam, smash into the gate, and knock a rubber-bumper-
type right out of the doorway. Various people told us that was indeed possible.
So we bought the Gerry.

It is really hard to open. In fact I was insisting we should take it back till
I suddenly got the knack. We had to teach everyone to open it, and I usually
had to help the first 4 or 5 times. Somehow that didn't make us just leave it
open. It was also VERY hard to open from below, because as you push on the foot
switch it gives a little when opening from the other side.

All in all though, I liked it and would recommend it. There was no other place
we wanted to gate, so a movable gate held no appeal for us. In fact I liked the
fact that this one hinged like a door and was waiting for you when you came
back to close it.


From: Deantha Menon, University of Colorado, Boulder

saa...@cbnewsj.cb.att.com (PMH) writes:

>It's a white gate with plastic cris-cross mesh with openings about
>2 sq.in. on a diagonal. It stays in place very nicely with tension
>bars at the top and bottom. You have to turn them to tighten against
>your door jam. It doesn't take much time to tighten or loosen.

we also have one of these for the dogs. it works well for its barrier
purposes, but it leaves marks on the walls that require paint jobs
to repair. so unless you don't mind marred walls.....


From: Clare Chu Ayala, Nynex Science and Technology

I wish I had asked before getting that gate. It is made by Gerry
and we failed utterly at installation. We drilled the doorway and
put the hinges in. Little did we know that the hinges would be
so unsteady. Basically even with the hinges in, you still need to
push the rubber pads up against the edges of the doorway. If the
doorway is not perfectly parallel, it doesn't fit correctly.
We got it because it had a foot pedal and we thought (incorrectly)
that my mother-in-law would be able to use it without bending down.
Now it is just $30 junk sitting in her closet.

Incidentally, we do have a Supergate (about $20), and that gate has
a kit inside that has 8 plastic cups (4 for doorway, 4 for rails)
that you can screw into the doorway. We screwed 4 in (2 on each
side) at the same level as the rubber pads. Now that gate is easy
to put in (just fit it in between the plastic cups, extend and
latch). Our son can no longer understand why he can't push the
gate down anymore! We might try using the remaining 4 plastic pads
(for rails) with that blasted *#%@#!& Gerry gate (I don't know if
it'll work), but if it did, we'd only use it without the foot-pedal,
taking the time to twist the two tightener knobs every time and
forget about it swinging.

For pressure-rubber gates try the SuperGate (I got mine at Service
Merchandise). It is grey, has diamond-like plastic pattern, and
has a plastic lever-like latch in the middle that you can bend down
in 3 positions to get the desired tightness. We've found that after
installing the 4 door pads, we only have to use the least tight position.
This also evened out the non-parallelness of our doorway. That gate
also has hardware for hinges (although we haven't tried that since it
works pretty well with just the pads).

Don't get the Gerry gate, it's worthless!!! I wish I could just get
gates that have hardware on both sides. Maybe I'll make one myself.
I'll use the Gerry gate, drill some holes and attach a hinge on one
side and a latch on the other side. That's an idea.


From: Laura Floom, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

For a good mail order source try the Perfectly Safe Company (1-800-837-kids).
I had a gate that I bought locally, but is also available thru them. It is
wood and has vertical slats. On each side of the door frame you connect two
eyebolts. Then there are three hooks (2 on one side, one on the other) that
hook into the eyebolts. Then instead of a hook for the forth eyebolt there is
a little clamp thingy that keeps the whol thing from being taken off too
easily. You can remove the whole gate easily (and with extra eyebolts - use it
in more then one location), or you can disconnect the side with the clamp and
swing it aside, You can even collapse it in a bit. The come in two sizes. One
fits most standard doors, and the other size expands up to 96 inches. The gates
cost $19.95 for the 27"-48" model and 39.95 for the 52"-96" one. I used the
larger one to seperate the living room from the dining room. Worked great.

I am not good at describing this sort of thing.

P.S. I think it is made by Cosco, but dont hold me to it.


From: Steve Albert, AT&T Bell Laboratories

In article <19...@eskimo.com>, mi...@eskimo.com (Mike Fields) writes:
> On to the reason for the post. What we have is called the "Walk-thru Ultra
> Gate" by Nuline industries in Wisconson. It locks/releases with a latch at

I have to toss in another endorsement. We use the Ultra Gate in 3 different
spots, each of which is installed slightly differently. The gate is very
easy to open/close (for an adult) and can be mounted in what might otherwise
be "non-protectable" spots.


From: Steve Glassman

We made very simple (but effective) baby gates (or fences) with 2x4's and 1 inch

Cut 2 2x4 lengths equal to the width of the doorway. Drill 1 inch diameter
holes about 5 inches apart (measured from center of one hole to the center of
the next - 6 inches is too wide since it leaves a 5 inch gap between the bars).
The leftmost and rightmost holes should be only about 4 - 4.5 inches from the
ends or the end gaps will be too big.

Cut the dowels to 2 foot lengths. Assemble with one 2x4 on the bottom, one on
the top and the dowels in between.

Baby gates tend to be virtually permanent (from about 6 months old to ?). So
you can just nail the 2x4's to the wall.

The result is secure and looks pretty good (especially if you finish the 2x4's
and dowels).

We used the railing from a banister as the top of the gate, so that it looked a
little nicer. We also did a slightly fancier connection to the wall, just in
case we wanted to take it down temporarily (we haven't yet).

The only tricks are cutting the 2x4 lengths correctly for moldings at the base
of the wall, and adjusting for the width of the moldings when drilling the
holes for the dowels so that the dowels line up vertically. Measure carefully.


From: Jeff Richards

Just read your FAQ on Baby Gates and found that no one mentioned the ones that
we have.

We are quite pleased with them and have bought 3, one for each entrance to
our kitchen.

They are made by Fischer-Price and cost around $25.00 US. (or at least they
did 2 1/2 years ago).

They are the rubber-pressure type, and if _really_ pushed on hard (harder
than a toddler will push) if installed correctly will move. If installed
or adjusted incorrectly, they will not stay up at all. When installed
correctly, I would lean against it with all my 190 lbs to determine if
I had it right.

The catches are a) the walls must be no more than 38" apart, no less than
30 " apart (I may be a little off on the dimensions)
b) the walls must be flat
c) the gate must be adjusted _properly_ and installed _properly_
d) the gate must be installed with the _adjustment_ controls
on the _OUTSIDE_, meaning, so the kid can't get at them

These gates have the same diagonal criss-cross design that all the other plastic
gates appear to have.

As mentioned, they are adjustable. You can even re-adjust it in about a minute
if you want to move it somewhere else.

To adjust it, you release the controls, size the gate to the opening, take the
gate out of the opening, manually size the gate to 1/2 to 1" larger, then
re-clamp the controls.

Then, you just grab the handle on the top, and push the buttons (two, one
for a lefty or righty), put it in the opening, and release. Pressing the
buttons _pulls_ the pressure spots in.

Since you size the gate _larger_ than the opening, the pressure holds it
in place.

Taking the gate down or putting it up with your right hand while carrying
a 20 lb. toddler is no problem at all.

One caveat. I would _NOT_ use this gate at the top of a stairs.

For the top of the stairs I actually had to install a 2x4 on one side, and
drill into some faux-wrought iron to install one of the accordian style gates.

We have never had a problem with the Fischer-Price gates. Is it that no one
knows about them, or that they are considered a no-no that it's not in the FAQ?


From: Mary Csernica

In article <3jt4nj$8...@news1.radix.net>, m...@radix.net (Marie Goldenberg) wrote:

> We need to put gates at the top of 2 stairways, plus one in an open
> doorway (no door, just a passageway) between the kitchen and living room.
> Several people have told me not to put the swing-out type at the tops of
> stairs, so I guess the sliding type are the only ones to use.
> 1. Looks like the sliding type must all be removed to walk through. Is
> this true?
> 2. Someone at the Baby Superstore told me that none of the gates are
> 'approved' for stairtop use - something about the manufacturers being
> afraid to make this claim for fear of liability suits. Are there any
> that are actually approved for stairways?
> 3. Because of the way the stair rails go, the first gate I bought was too
> tall and would not fit. Looks like a 24" tall gate would fit - are there
> any out there?
> 4. A neighbor who has the same floorplan said theirs was (he thought) a
> Safety First; and it attaches using hardware, in such a way that it fits
> on the front of the newel posts, rather than between them. Anyone know
> where I can find one of these (the neighbor didn't remember)?
> Any general recommendations for/against a particular gate?
> ...Mom to soon-to-be-mobile 'Fang'...

I don't know what your floor plan is like, but we have a split level
home where the stairs are pretty much part of the main living area, so we
wanted to _be sure_ that whatever we put would be safe. Since it's split
level, the whole staircase area is really two staircases wide (one up, one
down). And there's just a metal bannister between. Here's what we did:
First we bought some pegboard and tied it in several places to the
metal bannister so Peter wouldn't get his head stuck or fall through. Then
we basically built a half door: we nailed piece of panelling to a frame
built of 1x4's, screwed a small 1x4 into the wall, and hinged the two
together. The door is just slightly wider than the staircase going down,
so it hits the bannister/pegboard when closed. There's a hook and eye on
the bottom of the back side to hold it closed.
We then use a cheap pressure-type gate on the half of the staircase
that goes up. This is wedged between the wall and the pegboard.
I don't know if this makes sense to you, but if you want more
information, let me know.


From: Michal Peri, Gordian; Santa Ana Heights, CA

We have a gate we use at the top of our stairway. It has
two spring-loaded catches on each side that clamp onto
eyelets screwed into the wall. If you unclamp the catches
on one side it swings open (the catches on the other side
act as a hinge). You can also unclamp the catches on both
sides to completely remove the gate.

It was the only gate we found that did not explicitly warn
against use at the top of stairs.

The gate is a Gerry. It cost about $20-25, I think. We got it at
HomeBase. They had a better selection of gates at a lower price than
the baby specialty stores.


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