How to Professionally Install Baby Gates on Uneven Surface and Railings

Posted by: Tom Treanor on November, 29, 2012

If have a baby in the home from age 6-24 months, you probably have a need for at least one baby gate. As a local installer of baby gates and baby proofing products in the the Manhattan, Westchester and Long Island areas since 1998, I’ve installed a lot of baby gates. It may seem straightforward to many but there are some things that need to be done correctly to assure the safety of your baby/infant. We will guide you on how to make sure it’s stable and to make sure it lasts for at least the life of your first three children.

With this tutorial, I’ll teach the parents and care givers of New York what to do and what not to do when installing baby gates.

You will need!

Plan for success!

One of the most important aspects of this job is planning.

  • What is the furthest you can mount the gate from the actual steps?  The last thing anybody wants is to be on the top step holding a baby and fumbling with a latch.
  • Locate gate in a place where you can be on a flat surface while opening or closing the gate.
  • Assume that an older child may climb the gate or use a piece of furniture to maneuver over the gate.
  • Not having an immediate drop on other side of gate might save you from an emergency room visit.
  • Figure out your traffic pattern.   Gates should never swing out over a staircase so hinge on side where gate will not interrupt traffic flow.
  • If possible mount in a location where gate can rest out of the way when not in use.  No need to lock the upstairs gate if the baby is down stairs.

Let’s Install It!

If attaching to posts or wood:

  • Remove gate from box. I use cardinal stairway gates for their all aluminum/metal construction, versatility and a locking mechanism that is far superior to any other on the market.
  • Follow manufacturing instructions for assembly of the gate. On some brands such as Kidco, Evenflo, and Munchkin you may need to replace manufacturers hardware with stronger screws. Stay away from “Safety First” gates.  They might make good baby monitors, bassinets, car seats and furniture straps, but I’ve never seen a gate of theirs I would buy for a stairway.
  • Once assembled, place gate in the desired location. Make sure it is straight unless you have purchased a cardinal SS30 or another gate that can be mounted on an angle.
  • Or, if you are attaching to banister spindles or newel posts, make a small mark on each point.  Make note as to which side of the spindle the gate should be. Use double sided tape where gate mounts will meet spindles or newel post. Drill holes in gate mount and attach with cable ties.

If gate is being mounted to sheetrock, plaster:

  • Locate your studs (if possible) it’s always preferable to attach gate mounts to a stud rather then using hollow wall anchors.
  • Pencil mark both walls where gate is to meet.
  • Attach Hinge side 1×2 mount first.  Make sure mounting surface for gate is plumb/level.  Warning!! It is also always advisable to locate any water or electric lines before you begin drilling.  Take special care around walls that adjourn a kitchen or a bath.
  • Attach lock side 1×2 mount second.
  • Install Gate as per manufacturers instruction.
  • If necessary use shims to level off gate before installing locking mechanism.

A professionally installed baby gate should be able to withstand a two year old standing on it while in the locked position.  However NO gate in the open position will be strong enough for even a six month old to hang on.  Extra care and supervision must always be used to prevent this from happening.

Did you find this article helpful?

I hope you found this article helpful. The safety of your baby is my primary concern so let me know if you have any tips or tricks for custom installation of child proofing products.

If you are in the Tri state area and want to talk about your babyproofing needs, feel free to contact me at 1 877 668 7677 or click here to send me an email.

Categories: How to Baby Proof