As first-time parents, we worry about bringing their baby home from the hospital. We’re concerned about child safety in our house.
We spend hours and hours online, looking for baby proofing tips. After reading and hearing so many recommendations, we wind up in a cold sweat thinking how our home will never be safe enough.
But, no need to fret. The good thing is that you don’t need to baby-proof everything at once, just set priorities while doing your baby proofing.
On the top of that list should be installing retractable safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
If you’re in a hurry, here are our top 3 retractable baby gates:
|Top||Summer Infant Retractable Baby Gate||Prime||Buy Now|
|Babepai Retractable Baby Gate Door Grey||Prime||Buy Now|
|Lascal KiddyGuard Avant, White, Retractable Baby Safety Gate||Prime||Buy Now|
What is a baby safety gate?
A baby gate is a protective barrier designed to prevent toddlers and babies from accessing potentially unsafe areas of a home, such as stairways, the kitchen, and high traffic areas.
The time limit to install the retractable gate is when your baby is learning to crawl.
After that, he’ll start to pull himself up and you’ll be amazed how he can get from point A to B in the blink of an eye.
Or maybe you have pets and you are sick of cleaning your upstairs after them. These magical retractable baby gates can also work as pet gates.
They can also be designed for outdoor use.
You won’t be able to watch over your baby all the time when crawling time starts, so a baby gate is a great idea to keep your tot safe.
The most important things to make sure of are that you are using a gate that meets the current safety standards and that it’s the right type of gate for you and your house.
Please, unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t attempt to make your own baby gate.
It will likely not meet child-safety standards or include automatic locks and a two-step opening mechanism.
Baby safety gates are recommended for children between 6 and 24 months.
Our Top 7 Retractable Baby Gates
1. Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate
Retract-A-Gate by Smart Retract Inc. has stellar Amazon reviews and is rated as one of the best baby gates on the market, for both our human and furry kids.
This premium gate is manufactured in the US and although it’s worth every penny, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for when it’s on sale.
Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate is JPMA certified and in fact exceeds Canadian safety standards for baby safety gates.
You don’t have to fix them to the wall if you are using their Stair Banister Adapter Kit. If you prefer not to drive screws into your posts, this is an ideal solution.
One Adapter Kit is sufficient for one side of the opening. If banisters or balusters exist on both sides of the opening, two kits may be required.
Many retractable gates comprise complex parts in order to install them, whereas Retract-A-Gate mounting hardware is simple and easy to install.
None of Retract-A-Gate’s components contain lead, phthalate, latex, BPA, or formaldehyde. The gate is made of scratch-resistant fabric mesh, which is important to families with pets.
The safety gate is also UV and mildew resistant, and can be cleaned with mild soap and water.
If you are dealing with stubborn stains that will not come off with soap, you may use rubbing alcohol without damaging or degrading the integrity of the fabric.
Retract-A-Gate offers models with a 52-inch and 72-inch width.
The mounting brackets are about 2.5 inches wide and the brackets can also mount around the corner of the doorway, either on the door molding or on the wall.
The wall brackets must be mounted at 3 and 31 inches off the floor and require about 2.5 inches of flat surface to attach to.
- Locking mechanism
This is an easy, one-handed operation. It’s also quiet when opening or locking, making it convenient when your little one has just gone down for a nap.
Of course, there is a childproof lock on the top to prevent your toddler from opening it. It also automatically retracts, so there’s no winding by hand needed.
2. Summer Infant Retractable Baby Gate
Summer Infant’s retractable gate is simple to install and one of the best options for narrow doorways, as it doesn’t deprive of already limited walk-through space.
Where most baby gates look inelegant and unaesthetic, this one’s design is discreet and, dare we say, stylish in both its retracted and extended state.
Summer Infant is JPMA certified and prides itself in its design that meets and surpasses ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standards.
This hardware-mounted retractable gate is easy to mount on wood or drywall, for use at the top of stairs, bottom of stairs, or between rooms (hardware included).
All necessary hardware is included to ensure a secure installation.
If you have baseboards, the inclusive baseboard kit makes for a relatively hassle-free installation the top or bottom of the stairs.
The manufacturer does advise that, should you be installing the gate at the top of the stairs, to only place it on the top-stair level, and not any stair below, and at 6 inches away from the top step.
To complement modern home decor, this gate consists of an easy-to-clean, decorative, and durable mesh fabric that is housed in a post of silver satin finish with accents in charcoal.
The gate is 30 inches tall and fits openings up to 50 inches wide, which is perfect for those with wide openings.
- Locking mechanism
The automatic dual-locking lever is convenient with a simple push down / pull up mechanism to lock and unlock respectively.
It also features a comfort-grip handle that affords you one-handed operation, although a few parents have commented that, due to the tight tension and need for both the top and the bottom of the gate to be aligned, it tends to be a little difficult to pull out and lock with one hand only.
3. Babepai Retractable Baby Gate
Babepai is a versatile, sleek-looking gate much like a Retract-A-Gate, albeit a more affordable version thereof (currently just under $70 on Amazon), with the only major differences being in certification and durability.
Babepai gates do not have JPMA certification.
This gate is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and can be hardware-mounted to the bottom of stairs, doorways, hallways, and patios.
It’s easy to move and detach in order to store or move to another area where mounting brackets have been installed.
Babepai is easy to assemble; it comes with detailed instructions with step-by-step pictures to ensure safe and secure installation.
It’s also very forgiving in cases of non-standard and non-aligned layouts.
It comes with an extra set of mounting adapters for backup, allowing the alternate usage at two different locations and/or angles.
Some people, however, have reported inferior hardware quality.
The lightweight woven mesh fabric is surprisingly tough and scratch resistant to hold up against assaults from pets.
It’s less durable than other gates, which is understandable given its more economical price.
For instance, the mesh material doesn’t offer the same mildew and UV ray protection as Retract-A-Gate.
If used outdoors, you’d have to bring the mesh part inside after each use to ensure longevity.
The mesh screen is 34 inches high and 54 inches wide. When fully extended, it stretches to 58 inches wide.
- Locking mechanism
It comes with a turn-dial latch that you can operate one-handed.
Its dual-lock mechanism works by twisting clockwise to lock and counterclockwise to release.
The mesh automatically rolls up when unlocked.
4. Gaterol Active Lite Retractable Safety Gate
One of the more affordable brands (half the price of Retract-A-Gate), Gaterol Active Lite is a great option for active families with kids and pets.
This safety gate complies with current European and North American safety standards (EN1930:2011 and ASTM F1004-16).
It can be fitted to stair or door openings with wide and narrow apertures, either inside or on the wall beside the opening/stairway.
It can be mounted on wood (using screws only), concrete or brick (using drill holes and wall plugs). It can also be installed on baseboards.
Gaterol provides a step-by-step installation manual, as well as templates that make it easy to mark where the wall hooks and locking hooks should be installed on the wall or frame.
Just as with Babepai, an extra set of brackets comes included in the delivery at no additional cost, allowing alternate usage of the gate at two different locations.
The tough, reinforced, heavy-duty mesh is great for withstanding abuse from large pets, easy to clean, and BPS-free.
It is very high, coming in at 36.6 inches, but that’s good because taller is safer. Fits narrow and wide openings from 18 to 55 inches – a particularly great option for small openings.
- Locking mechanism
This gate auto-locks by hooking the locking catch onto the locking hooks. To open, extend the gate to unhook it and let it automatically retract.
It is also a simple one-handed operation, but there have been a few negative Amazon reviews about difficulty in opening and staying latched.
Also, the gate makes a warning sound when it rolls up, which is great in alerting you if the barrier opens unintentionally, but can get rather annoyingly loud.
(This can be avoided if you hold the button down until the gate fully retracts – a two-handed operation).
5. Lascal Kiddyguard Avant Retractable Gate
If you’re looking for an attractive gate to match your traditional or modern interior style, then The Avant is the product for you.
Because of its unique and superior quality Swedish design, it’s no wonder it’s the most expensive brand on this list.
This retractable gate is JPMA certified and meets both the US ASTM standard and European standard (EN 1930).
This is a fully retractable hardware mounted gate that’s completely out of sight when not in use, so it’s out of the way and eliminates tripping.
It’s safe to use on the top of stairs. It can be mounted not only on the inside or outside of wall openings, but also hollow walls, square and round banisters, and baseboards.
The Avant is easy to install in a variety of openings up to a full stretch of 48 inches.
Available Kiddyguard accessories include baseboard and banister installation kits to ensure correctly configured mounting. It can also be installed to open either from right to left or vice versa.
The Avant is made of a strong, flexible mesh panel (in either black or white) with square brushed aluminum housing.
The mesh panel and gate housing is 32.3 inches and 35.3 inches in height respectively.
- Locking mechanism
The gate can be opened, closed, and locked as a one-hand operation.
After it’s attached, it locks automatically. Its patented locking mechanism also features an intuitive timer to give you a little additional time.
6. Dreambaby Retractable Gate
This lightweight and easy-to-install retractable gate makes it onto this list for its versatility.
It’s suited to both indoor and outdoor use, but should be brought in when bad weather strikes.
Luckily, it is easy to relocate because of its two sets of mounting hardware, allowing for a quick swap-over to more than one location.
Dreambaby Retractable Gate conforms to ASTM F1004 and JPMA safety standards.
This gate fits perfectly inside a variety of narrow and wide indoor spaces up to 55 inches wide.
It can also be mounted on the outside of door frames up to 51 inches wide.
It retracts completely and is therefore not a tripping hazard.
It is a hardware mounted gate and it includes two sets of fittings. That allows you to easily move your retractable gate from one location to another.
The Clip On/Clip Off system makes the gate easy to remove and reposition into a second set of fittings in a different location.
Spacers (which are sold separately) are required to accommodate baseboards / skirting boards.
The fittings and mounting template is included to ensure an easy installation.
This gate is made of metal and high quality plastic mesh, which is UV-treated to prevent it from fading in the sun. It is available in black, gray, or white colors.
Dreambaby Retractable Gate is space efficient as it retracts entirely. Its stretch peaks at 55 inches in width, and measures 35 inches from the floor to the top (32 inches from the mesh bottom to the top).
- Locking mechanism
This gate can be made to stay open whenever you choose, which will also increase the longevity of the retractable mesh due to limited exposure to the elements.
However, for all other times, it has the convenience of auto-close, which ensures constant and reliable safety of a gate that closes automatically from any distance, every time.
Many Amazon customers consider Dreambaby the better solution for outdoor retractable gates because of its wide and auto-close mechanism.
7. Perma Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate
This gate is the best choice if you’re looking for a real affordable, versatile indoor and outdoor-use safety solution for both infants and pets (from 10 to 40 lb).
Rarely do you find a retractable safety gate that’s this resistant to the elements while still retaining functionality indoors.
And what really makes it stand out from the crowd is its extra length to accommodate those extra wide openings.
It has been tested and certified to the highest safety standards, meeting or exceeding both ASTM or EN standards.
The gate can be mounted on wood or hard wall with the help of included screws or anchors respectively. Should you wish to mount on drywall, extra wood support would be needed (at your own cost).
Taking mere minutes to install, this outdoor retractable gate includes all that’s needed for an easy installation, such as screws, catch mounts, and wall spacer shims for baseboards.
It also comes with a straight-forward installation guide.
It is made with a durable UV-resistant, rust-proof, and claw-resilient mesh that’s able to withstand high-traffic areas. It comes in 3 color options (black, grey, and white).
Perma is an extra tall and extra wide gate, extending 33 inches tall and up to 71 inches wide.
- Locking mechanism
The gate requires a 2-step action to open and close, and only one hand is required to smoothly operate the mechanism.
The auto-lock feature also provides that extra peace of mind.
Another advantage is that once the gate is locked in place, it won’t continue to roll should your baby or pet lean on it.
A friendly warning, though: Similar to a car seat belt, it’ll lock on you if you stop midway, forcing you to start the process over.
How to choose a proper retractable gate
Baby proofing isn’t such an easy job.
If you want to choose the best and most secure gate, you’ll have to pay attention to a few things.
Here are some tips to help you pick the right baby gate:
- Measure the width of every opening where you plan to put the baby gate.
- Choose the fixation of the gate. Pressure-mounted gates fit all doors and staircases. They are ideal for rentals or occasional use, because you can fix the gate without drilling into the walls. Fix-to-wall gates are recommended for the top of the staircases and for long-term use. You’ll need to make holes in the walls and use screws to fit the gate into them.
- Decide on what kind of locking mechanism is the best for you.
- Choose material that goes with your furniture or that is the most cost effective for you.
And then some additional tips before your final choice:
- You’ll need to put a gate at both the top and bottom of stairs.
- Hardware-mounted gates are more secure, especially at the top of the stairs, because your baby can’t move them or fall over it.
- You should keep the gates up until you are convinced that your child can walk up and down the stairs safely. This is usually around the 3-year mark.
- If you have a wide landing and aren’t sure if an ordinary baby gate will fit, buy a configurable gate with extensions.
Another important thing to look out for is that the baby gate is JPMA certified.
For more than 40 years, JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) has helped parents feel confident in choosing safe products for their baby.
Each certified product has undergone sample-testing at an independent lab and meets the highest standards for safety, performance, and functionality.
And finally we came to our list of the best retractable baby gates. Scroll down to find the best of these child-proof products to keep your little one safe and give you peace of mind.
Although we’re focusing on retractable baby gates, there are of course a number of alternative safety gate models that get the job done just as well.
Here’s one that we feel is certainly worthy of our spotlight today:
Evenflo Easy Walk Thru Top-Of-Stairs Gate
These “babysitters” are both safe and convenient.
The sturdy steel design of Evenflo baby gate can withstand up to 210-pound impact, ideal for families with big pets.
And also, you can use these gates until your baby is 36 months old.
This baby gate meets JPMA and ASTM standards.
Evenflo comes in both hardware mounts (for top of the stairs) and pressure mounts (which won’t damage your door frame or walls).
This steel-framed gate installs in minutes, and you can take it down and reinstall just as fast, with no extra tools required for pressure-mount installation.
In the unlikely event you do struggle, however, they have a 24-hour support team online.
This gate is made of metal and durable plastic. The spring tension on the latch is strong enough that only older children and adults can squeeze and pull it back.
This gate is super high at 30.5 inches and fits openings up to 43.3 inches wide. If you plan to use baby gates for children over 24 months old, then this is the right choice for you.
This gate is 30 inches tall (33 inches if you install it 3 inches off the floor) and expands to fit openings from 29 to 32 inches wide.
- Locking mechanism
Evenflo is a metal pressure gate with a swinging door in both directions, perfect for allowing quick one-handed pass through between high-traffic areas.
The easy glide lock-release handle has a built-in safety lock indicator that conveniently displays red or green color to show when the gate is open or locked.
The only downside about this product is some find it less attractive than other brands.
You may find it a little tougher to combine it with your interior furniture.
Everyone would like to be able to watch over their babies 24/7, but sadly, it’s impossible since we have a million other things to do too.
Babies become mobile practically overnight and it’s better to be prepared ahead of time.
Dangers lurk everywhere around our children – our job is to find the avoidable ones and fix them.
That’s why retractable baby gates are a great solution for all parents to ensure safety and in and around the home.
And now that you know your little ones are safe, there’s nothing stopping you to have fun with them and turn your home into play area!
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