Stairs and gates questions

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alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483
Stairs and gates questions

Okay, finally got DH convinced that base housing is the best for us. It's WAY WAY WAY nicer than the base housing we were in to say the least. Blum 3 However, it has stairs and it's a wide stair case. At this age, do most people still gate off their stairs at the top and bottom? By the time we left from checking out the house today he had mastered climbing them without any issue. We can't drill holes in the walls by the stairs apparently (though if everyone says we need gates and the mounted ones are better, we can ask for an exemption to policy since it's for safety). Any thoughts and suggestions (brands, etc)? We've never lived in a house with stairs (even as kids) other than a 9 month stint when we first got married. We're pretty much stair clueless.

My second set of questions is about gates and outside. Our house will have a desk off of the back door. It's a good sized one too, but we'd need the stairs leading into the yard gated off since there's no yard fence and there's still construction going on near us (maybe even directly behind us depending on what house they assign us). Once again, not supposed to drill into the wood deck. Do I need a certain type of gate or certain material to use back there? Any suggestions? Once again we've never ever lived anywhere with a deck. lol.

jolly11sd's picture
Joined: 02/02/05
Posts: 3327

I would totally put gates on everything. We kept ours on the top part of the stairs with DS1 until he was like 3. I always worried that he would be 1/2 asleep at night wandering to the potty or something and fall down the stairs in the dark. At 2.5 we left the gate off one night and he not only went down and had his way around the house without us knowing but had also gone out the front door and left it open. So that gate stayed on even longer and we started chaining our door at the top. Anyway we rented most of those years with DS1 so we used a removeable pressure mounted gate at all the houses we lived in. Its nice cause you can move them anywhere and use them for loads of things. We just now got ones that screw in the wall a few weeks back since we will be in this house for while. I would check about using a mounted one on the outside deck though since it would be a PITA to have a moveable one there and I would worry about him roaming or rolling down those steps on a bike or something.

Here is what ours kinda looked like...
http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3312378

The coated wire part was different and it may be a different brand as well. This one is also pretty narrow and ours expand beyond 42 inches for sure, more like 52 or so. The ones we have are really sturdy and I avoided the plastic ones like these cause they didn't hold as well. That part was important at the top of the stairs cause Ryland actually used to try and climb the gate for a while and those plastic ones would have just fallen with him going down on top. After 6 years both of those gates we bought are still in awesome condition.

I should add that he could go up and down stairs by this age but like I said I just worried about it at those times that I wasn't right there. We've had our shares of stills with him over the years, even know still.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

I was wondering if it would be worth investing in one of those pressure mounted gates that have the walk through built in. At least for the deck because we would have to do certain activities down in the grass (I want to get him a splash pool and such when it warms up).

Glad you pointed out the top of the stairs and wondering around - totally need something there first no matter what! There may be times where I need to barricade him upstairs (like me showering).

Cherrychip's picture
Joined: 01/31/09
Posts: 1134

We have a pressure mounted walk through gate at the top of our stairs which I really like-it is sturdy and nice that it is walk through so we only had to set it up the one time. For the top or bottom of the stairs, I would only use a walk through gate unless you want to move the gate or climb over it every time you go up and down- tripping hazard or major pain in the rear. And if you are using a heavy duty pressure mount gate, which is the only kind I would use by stairs, they are not all that easy to set up/take down, so definitely use a walk through gate there.

We don't have a gate at the bottom of the stairs-the way our house is laid out, we can block the doorway to the kitchen/dining/living room area which is where we spend all of our time when we are downstairs and dd can't get to the stairs which is in the front entryway. We just use a cheap wooden pressure mounted gate for that since if it falls over with her on it, she won't roll down any stairs and we would see it and stop her before she got to the stairs. She has only pushed it over once. I would like to get a pressure mounted walk through gate for there eventually, because it is a pain to be always setting it up and taking it down and stepping over it when it is up.

I will add that even the heavy duty pressure mount gates state that they are not meant for top of the stairs and must be mounted when used there to be safe, however as we don't leave her unattended and she doesn't try to climb on the gate, we haven't mounted it. If you want to use pressure mounted at the top of the stairs, I would take into consideration how much Aiden will try to climb on the gate and if there is anywhere like a hallway where you could put the gate to block him upstairs instead of right at the top of the stairs, that might be safer if it were to give. I wanted to do that for our upstairs, but with our layout, there wasn't anywhere to put the gate besides right at the top of the stairs. This is the gate we got, it is a cheaper one, but it has been working well for us:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Dream-Baby-Swing-Close-Security-Gate-White/8476756

For your deck, I think a mounted gate might work best if you can get permission to put one in.

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

"Cherrychip" wrote:

If you want to use pressure mounted at the top of the stairs, I would take into consideration how much Aiden will try to climb on the gate and if there is anywhere like a hallway where you could put the gate to block him upstairs instead of right at the top of the stairs, that might be safer if it were to give.

I agree with this.

I have a gate screwed in to the wall at the top of the stairs and a pressure mount at the bottom. I wanted the wall mount gate for the top because I just don't trust my kids not to climb on it or at the very least push on it.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

There isn't anywhere else to put a gate at the top of the stairs since it leads up to an open area that all rooms branch off of.

I'll have DH start the paperwork for permissions (seriously it's 14 different forms just for us to get DirecTV at the house) tomorrow when he goes to formally ask for a house. If nothing else we'll get a pressure gate for the top that we can always use elsewhere once the pounds of paperwork are done. :roll:

Thanks ladies! Appreciate any other thoughts y'all have. Smile

rubber_da_glove's picture
Joined: 12/31/07
Posts: 1527

we have pressure mounted gates top and bottom. Neither boy has climbed on them. But if you have a climber then a fixed one is better. We took them off to get some work done on the house last summer and DS1 panicked he was going to fall down the stairs so I think they will be up a long time

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

I don't have either of my sets of stairs gated, but only because they are both external and I keep the door shut ( no screens). If I had screns and kept the wooden doors open I would likely gate the stairs because Ronin is obessed with them, he is awesome at going up, but not so good going down and my stairs are concrete.

The gate I do have is pressure mounted and is very secure. We only have the back room to the bedrooms gated as it's the only door way thats a normal size and we cane use a gate on. I need something for his bedroom though when he moves in, but the extended gates are way too expensive.

laurensmitty1982's picture
Joined: 07/30/06
Posts: 1117

We still gate.. Natalie can get up and down the stairs by herself but she is risky. She has tried to walk down them which is a no-go, and sit and kinda sit jump them which has led to her flying foward. I think gates are a good idea at this age. There are many metal gates that can adjust to the width of the walls so you dont have to drill. You could always buy a cheap wood one for outside.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Thanks ladies. I guess i'm off to hunt for a pressure mounted gate that will fit at the stairs tomorrow! I'm going to try it at the top for a few days and if I don't think it's secure enough, move it elsewhere and get a mounted for the top. Then go from there. We have permission to put a permanent gate on the deck as long as it's just tiny screws and no bolts and such, though they asked us why we wanted to do that since no one else out here has asked yet. Seriously?! Then this one lady said, "well, why would he be out there without you watching him the whole time?" Ummm...because I don't have eyes on the back of my head! WTF. Plus the grill has to be kept in the grass and not on the deck, so I really want a gate there now since we plan lots of grilling. Blum 3

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Okay, anyone know of a gate product that can go at the top of the stairs without damaging the banister?! Cause they will not let us drill holes into it. Most of the gates I'm seeing aren't wide enough (the stairs are 48" wide) or the walk through part is tiny and makes me afraid that I'm going to trip myself just by getting through it! I can't find anything that works online, so how the heck am I supposed to find something in this tiny city?! :banghead:

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

I have THIS one. You can purchase extensions for it. I like it, it was easy to install and it's easy to use. It's held up to Clara's abuse Smile

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

So we can't find a gate that works with our stairs at all!!! We bought one that several people had recommended to me and it's too tall. If I put it down a step, the hand railing is completely in the way so we can't install it. The ones that we can find that are shorter aren't wide enough. We have to be able to mount it at 46" across at the bottom and 48" across at the top, it has to fit under the hand railing, and we have one of those stupid half walls on one side which isn't tall enough for us to install a gate just past the hand rail. And of course no hallway to put a gate. The builder of this house was dumb.
And of course the only way to fit a gate at the bottom of the stairs is if it's installed on the first step, which means it has to fit below the hand rail again. And then the gate hits the front door damaging it! It's a new house so I know we'll be charged for that door when we move out! :banghead: I'm so frustrated that I'm about ready to just give up and pray that he never falls down the damn stairs.

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

okay, will he ever really be upstairs without you? when DS was little, had just gotten into his toddler bed, we put a gate up on his bedroom doorway. that way we could hear him and he could get up and yell at us but he couldn't go out galavanting around the house without us. just use a pressure mounted gate on his bedroom door or your bedroom door when he's in there with you while you're upstairs doing stuff. you can pop them off or step over them no problem.

can you get a gate at the bottom? the pressure gate I have will adjust different pressure for all 4 of the parts where it touches the door frame. (wow, that sounds real technical, way to go preggo brain :roll:) I'll take a picture, that would be way easier!

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

honestly, he's not that far from being able to navigate the steps well anyway so just use work arounds until then and call it good. teach the cat to lay at the top of the steps and push him back if he gets close to it Lol

Cherrychip's picture
Joined: 01/31/09
Posts: 1134

Are you allowed to mount into the wall, just not the bannister? Maybe something like this would work- if you look at the pictures people have posted of it, it looks like it could be opened and curved around and mounted on the wall on either side of the stairs if you have walls on both sides. It would just curve out into the open space a bit if that makes sense. It also has a door you can walk through.
http://www.amazon.com/North-States-Superyard-Metal-Gate/dp/B000U5FOT2/ref=cm_cmu_pg__header

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

Christa, that is a good thought about gating off whatever room/space he's in with me when upstairs. It's just our bedroom and his bedroom that he'd ever be in. His bedroom would be the only space I'd leave him in, but I'd still be upstairs except for naps (gotta find and dig up that baby monitor since this house is soooo much better insulted lol). The majority of his toys will be downstairs!
Maybe a regular pressure gate would work at the bottom when we're downstairs and I'd just wait to go upstairs when necessary. I'm able to change his diaper in our new giant laundry room downstairs!
I'll keep trying to find something, but if I can't we'll make do.

Cherrychip, did you see that 2nd picture? It cracks me up!!! Not sure if we could make that work. Hmmmm....

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

I rarely go upstairs to do anything until a certain time of day. I hate lugging both kids up the stairs over and over so I've just developed a system of putting off all the upstairs chores until just after lunch and before nap time. It's actually working incredibly, the toys up there are all new every time we go up there Smile The kids have gotten into a routine of knowing we go upstairs after lunch to "play" (aka, work for me).

Good luck!

Cherrychip's picture
Joined: 01/31/09
Posts: 1134

Was that the one with the boy stepping out of the enclosure full of toys in to the perfectly clean room, with the dog by it?

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

"Cherrychip" wrote:

Was that the one with the boy stepping out of the enclosure full of toys in to the perfectly clean room, with the dog by it?

YES! :mrgreen:

Christa, that sounds brilliant. Lol We're off to visit my SIL all weekend and she thinks she might have a gate left from her boys we can have. Just a regular pressure mounted gate, but it would work. Smile

jolly11sd's picture
Joined: 02/02/05
Posts: 3327

What was this builder thinking? Totally frustrating! Fingers cross that SIL has that left over one and you can at least do the plan 'B' thing if nothing else works.

alwayssmile's picture
Joined: 08/26/07
Posts: 14483

It's the same reason the deck is unfinished out back. Not even sealed. We've already decided to sand part of it down b/c it's ROUGH in a few areas with wood already splintering off. But if these are our two biggest problems, I think we'll be okay. lol.