Using a baby gate?? - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > Using a baby gate??
Lunaria's Avatar Lunaria 09:42 AM 03-02-2012

I'm wondering how you mamas feel about using a baby gate to keep a toddler from getting into trouble? I've always been anti baby gate for my kids, I feel like they should have access to the house and it discourages hands on parenting. BUT with my 2 year old I'm rethinking my stance. I have 4 kids, 7,5,2 and 4 months. I can't be watching my 2 year old constantly. When I'm busying nursing or putting away laundry etc, she goes into the kitchen and opens the fridge or freezer, or the sliding pantry(that I can't tie closed). She takes out food, eats it or just smears it all over the floor. I also usually put my 4 month old in the kitchen to nap with the stove fan on, and she regularly goes in to wake him up. I am at my wits end! I try to get her involved in helping me but I can't keep her with me constantly, she goes off to get into stuff regularly.


So..what would you do? How do you feel about using a gate to shut off the kitchen when I can't be in there with her? Obviously when I'm in the kitchen she can be too.



APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama 10:04 AM 03-02-2012

I'm all about creating an environment in which I don't have to say no constantly.  You say you don't have gates because you want her to have access to the house but that's not really true.  You don't want her to access your fridge and make a huge mess ;).  Also you want to hands on parent but I have an infant too and if I'm running to stop my three year old from digging in the fridge and then spend 10 minutes cleaning up, I'm not hands on parenting anyone.  I'm cleaning up another mess. Use the gate mama. Parenting is hard enough without setting up additional arbitrary requirements for yourself.  Also your daughter will not have to hear you tell her she can't do whatever.  The gate will be there to let her know what the limits and boundaries are and she can focus on playing with the things that are accessible to her and appropriate. 

Lunaria's Avatar Lunaria 10:15 AM 03-02-2012

Aaaah thank you:) You have a very logical view on the situation! I'm going to see if I can borrow one from my in laws and see how it goes. I sure hope it works and things can be more peaceful around here.



ciga's Avatar ciga 11:47 AM 03-02-2012

I second that.  I only have one very rambunctious toddler and I am all for baby gates.  My house is under construction and it is impossible for me to keep him safe without them.  Even if it wasn't under construction, there are basics like...I have to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner during which times I cannot have my full attention on what he's doing.  I am still aware of him because even with the baby gates he can get into trouble but I am able to perform my basic daily tasks knowing that he isn't going to fall down the stairs or eat a bag of loose tea (yes he did).  I don't have to chase him around stopping him all day long. He just plays where he's allowed to play, which in all fairness is still most of the house.

Lunaria's Avatar Lunaria 03:19 PM 03-02-2012

Thank you for chiming in:) It's funny how each of my kids has caused me to become more flexible and open minded. What I once felt so sure about I now see in a different way. Parenting sure is a growing process!





newmamalizzy's Avatar newmamalizzy 03:47 PM 03-02-2012

I'd say go for it with the gate (for the reasons posted), but just be careful about which one you choose.  DD lost her two first teeth when she tried to climb a baby gate and wrenched it backwards out of the wall.  My traumatized mind envisions all sorts of trouble that a toddler could cause with a baby gate.  Rule #1 for us:  No lattice.

lovepickles's Avatar lovepickles 07:45 PM 03-02-2012

I used a gate for the kitchen prior to my toddler turning 2 because she was ALL over the place. She began showing signs of wanting to go over it close to 2 so I got some stove locks, fridge straps and some cabinet latches. I still use the gate when doing a LOT of cooking but not for very long because she starts finding stuff to stack up and climb over it. I think the use of the gate is going to be limited as is so you might want to go ahead and add a few child proofing conveniences to your kitchen and save yourself the money. As far as your 4 month old sleeping with the oven fan on you might want to consider getting an air filter in a quiet room to nap in.


I'm not anti-gate for closing off a dangerous or inconvenient area to child proof but it might be better all around to save yourself the money and chaos and lock a few things up. I have a few cabinets for her to open but I'd go insane if she had free access to all. We also recently purchased a Learning Tower to get her up to the counter and she LOVES it and doesn't fuss too much in the kitchen when we have it set up for her. We usually have a box of crayons and paper taped to the counter and she gets up there while we do stuff in the kitchen. It has been a great alternative as it keeps her pretty busy and she feels involved in the hustle and bustle but is not underfoot.


For sliding pantries you could always use those window locks that flip down to prevent opening. There is a device for everything and if you pick and choose i think childproofing is a flexible decision based on individual needs and personalities within the family. Do what you have to in order the kind of parent you want to be. <3

CalaRei's Avatar CalaRei 10:39 PM 03-02-2012

We use gates all over the house.  I agree with the sentiment that it's just easier to create an environment that you're not constantly saying no.  And realistically, we still say it all the time.  It allowed me to make a safe zone so I could do things like get a shower.  Keep kids away from stairs.  Keep them out of the kitchen so that I can get a meal together without my stress levels going through the roof.  I know other families manage to leave these areas open, but with two of them, and their personalities, our house is happier with gates.  I also have used them across the bathroom doors because the bathrooms have skylights and let nice light in, but they couldn't be trusted in there until recently.


I agree that the latice gates are only until they climb.  Our other gates are either a soft mesh travel gate, or extra tall "bar style" gates that can't be climbed easy.

sk8boarder15's Avatar sk8boarder15 11:31 AM 03-04-2012

With five dogs and a toddler our house is a maze of gates. Gotta keep everyone safe, so that means gates. If I'm not in the kitchen baby is not in the kitchen. Period. He has a fantastic play room and the living room always accessible to him, in my mind that is pleanty of freedom and much of the day he accompanies me to the kitchen, where he can play supervised. 

~adorkable~'s Avatar ~adorkable~ 03:48 PM 03-05-2012

i personally never understood how someone gets thru the toddler phase without a baby gate or two. now i have 14 month old twins and there is no way in hell i could!  i dnt think about it as hands on or hands off, it is just a matter of safety of them and my things. i can't have them wander in to a room with things that they can destroy or get hurt by, but i also need to be able to have those things in the house.


so mommies sewing project on the table? the gate gets closed when i need to go to the bathroom so i dont have to pack the whole thing up 23 times per project. without the gate i would have to do that stuff behind closed doors and that would take me away from the kids way more than the gate does. while I'm there i let them play under foot while i sew, because then i can teach them not to pull the machine down on their head, hard to do that from the bathroom.


the dinning room floor got covered with messy food from lunch? close the gate that keeps them safety in the living room where i can chat with them and they can watch while i sweep and steam mop without them smearing it further or getting burned by steam.


i personally do not yet let my kids in the kitchen, they are young and the area is just not that easily made safe. since we have a whole shared open wall between it and the dinning room, we have a huge double wide gate and they have a blast playing just on the other side. we can chat and talk and i can get food made or dishes done way faster so i can go back to playing with them. they can always see and chat with me and they learn to explore on their own. I'm surprised how long they go totally ignoring me and playing with a toy or empty box they got that day. (i might be particularly lucky in this way because they are twins) and then just wander back and check in with me and see what I'm doing. it works really well and i really dont feel like we are separated. 



the gates in my house provide options, sanity and most of all safety. I do not think twice about them


Mandy613's Avatar Mandy613 09:47 PM 03-14-2012

we put up the door recently to the kitchen ever since we bought a new flat top stove (never had anything blocking kids out of the kitchen before).. my 2 year old noticed the bright red lights one day and he tried to touch it. so i kicked him out lol

we never baby proofed our house. our therory is if its not safe, its my job to teach that to you. Also my friends all have much older children, so i need to have my 2 year old and my 6 month old know now that whats not safe in our house is still not safe anywhere we go to. I dont think its fair to ask the world to baby proof their homes for my children's sake. 

however we use baby gates for the stairs. and at night i put a pressure locking (non mounted for fire hazard sake) baby gate in front of my 2 year olds closed bedroom door as his room is on the main floor and we have a fear of him escaping his room and falling down the basement stairs. 


that being said any baby safety product does not replace adult supervision, it simply buys you time to get to the scene of a possible accident. 

TheDivineMrsM's Avatar TheDivineMrsM 10:19 AM 03-20-2012

I put a gate up in my kitchen. Like a PP said, it doesn't replace supervision, but I can't see how else to keep her safe and out of there w/o it.

Tags: Toddlers