Toddlers are like miniature ninjas. One minute, they’re quietly designing entire cities with building blocks. The next, they’re exploring the concept of gravity by taking on the stairs. When properly installed and used, the best baby gates for stairs (otherwise known as child gates), including the ever-popular Retract-a-Gate, keep intrepid, rambunctious toddlers contained and safely away from fireplaces, steep stairs, or the great outdoors.
If you need further proof — besides observing your curious and active child — that a top of stairs baby gate is a good idea, consider this stat from a 2012 long-term study in the journal Pediatrics: “A child less than 5 years old is treated in a US emergency department, on average, every 6 minutes for a stair-related injury.”
For tops of stairs gates, experts strongly recommend that parents go with hardware-mounted baby gates. Simply put, those are the most secure because they’re screwed into place, even though they do leave holes in your walls. Pressure-mounted baby gates are another option; they’re more flexible because you can move them from place to place and are best for flatter areas, like doorways.
This gate can be both pressure-mounted and hardware-mounted. It extends from 29.5 inches to 40.5 inches. It's also easy for adults to manage: You just pull and lift the handle. We also like the dual-locking mechanism, which allows door to swing in both directions. It's suitable for use in doorways and on stairs.
If DIY is truly not your thing, you only need a screwdriver to install this baby gate. It goes from 29 to 42 inches in width. You can use it in doorways, hallways, and on staircases.
How do you know your baby gate is actually shut? Well, in this case, you see a green indicator that tell you so. This gate can be installed within an opening or doorframe, or at the bottom of the stairs. And you can pressure-mount this gate without having to drill into your walls, which is an added bonus. But don't use this gate at the top of the stairs. It has a maximum width of 37 inches, but can be 48 inches wide with extra extensions.
A great mesh retractable gate, this one can be operated single-handedly, and is pressure-mounted. It can be used with or without baseboards. There's a red indicator that shows parents when gate is open and it extends up to 52 inches.
Now you see it, now you don't: That's the basic idea between this fairly brilliant 52 inch hardware-mounted gate that can retract when not in use. You can also purchase extra mounting kits if you'd like to be able to move the gate around to different locations.
Another retractable gate, this one extends up to 55 inches wide and is 33.7 inches tall, and fits any doorway up to 55 inches. The mesh can be completely retracted when not in use, saving you space and being less of an eyesore. A mechanism at the top can be locked or unlocked, and the gate is hardware-mounted.
If you're in the market for something with more height, this baby gate is 36 inches tall and fits openings up 28 to 48 inches wide. It has an auto-close feature and works both for doorways and stairways. You can hardware-mount it for added security, or pressure-mount it.
A simple, affordable, and durable wall-mounted gate for the top of the stairs, this one is 42.5 inches wide. Adults open and close it using a one-handed latch system. It has an optional stop bracket that prevents it from opening over a stairway. It installs at angles up to 30 degrees.
At 53 inches wide, this baby gate is perfect for bigger or taller openings. You have two installation options: Hardware stairway installation (which we recommend) or a no-drill doorway mount. The gate door has a feature that gently closes the door behind you, and a hold-open feature if you, well, want to keep it open. It also has a built-in door stopper that will prevent your gate from swinging open.
This hardware-mounted aluminum gate has a powder-coated finish that's rustproof and weatherproof, so it can be installed on the stairs of a porch or deck. It's 42.5 inches wide. Although the gate can swing freely both ways, the company also includes an optional stop bracket that prevents the gate from being opened in whichever direction you choose (such as over a staircase).
So you live in a palace, with a massive staircase? And other, regular baby gates just won't do? You need this behemoth, which fits openings up to 72 inches wide. It's a swinging safety gate with a childproof double-locking system. You can hardware-mount it on to straight or angled walls. And parents can open it one-handed.
If you need something for angled openings or the bottom of the stairs, this hardware-mounted baby gate is for you. It can expand to fit openings that are 192 inches wide, and comes with eight 24-inch panels. If you opt to use it as a play yard, it can create 19 square feet of play space. It has a walk-through design with a safety locking feature.
If you'd rather not see a baby gate at all (after all, a design marvel it's not), here's a virtually invisible one. It's made from see-through acrylic and can be installed within an opening or doorframe, or at the bottom of the stairs. Because this gate is pressure-mounted, do not use at the top of the stairs. It's 30.3 inches tall, and fits openings 29.9 to 37.8 inches. There's a glow-strip at the bottom to stop you from tripping over it.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.