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misc.kids FAQ on Babyproofing - Gates


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Archive-name: misc-kids/babyproofing/gates
Posting-Frequency: monthly

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
===============================================================================
                    Additional Information on Gates
===============================================================================

From: Judy Leedom Tyrer, Locus Computing Corporation, Los Angeles, California
judy@locus.com

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
robert@jetsun.weitek.COM 

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, robert@weitek.COM

*******************************************************************************

From: Pat Homsey, AT&T Bell Laboratories, New Jersey
saavik@cbnewsj.cb.att.com 

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
ncramer@bbn.com 

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|
  |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:

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

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
gregory@csri.toronto.edu 

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
menon@boulder.Colorado.EDU 

saavik@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
clare@nynexst.com 

  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
lauraf@notavax.Jpl.Nasa.Gov 

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
zippy@cbnewsl.cb.att.com 

In article <1966@eskimo.com>, mikey@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
uunet!decwrl!steveg

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

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 
jrichard@astro.ge.com

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
mcsernca@bucknell.edu 

In article <3jt4nj$8ib@news1.radix.net>, mwg@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
michal@gordian.com

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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