Staying Safe In The Home

Safety Gates

Babies and pre-schoolers are especially at risk from accidents at home. You can protect your child from falls, scalds, burns and other dangers by ‘child-proofing’ your home.

One of the pieces of equipment that can help with this is safety gates. They can be used to:

  • Stop small children going up and down stairs unsupervised and reduce the risk of them falling down stairs.
  • Keep small children out of places where it is harder to keep them safe – like the kitchen.
  • Keep small children and family pets separate.

You should think about where safety gates are needed in your home before your baby gets on the move. That way you won’t suddenly find your baby can get around and not be able to keep them safe.

Dive Deeper

When To Use A Safety Gate

  • Once your baby can roll and get from one part of a room to another. 
  • Straight away if you have dogs, so you can always keep them separate from your baby when you are not there to supervise.

How To Fit A Safety Gate

There are a range of different safety gates to suit different situations and spaces. Safety gates are an important part of keeping your little one safe but they need to be fitted with care.

  • Make sure they meet the safety standard BS EN 1930:2011 and fit using instructions.
  • Don’t buy second hand unless they meet the standard and have fitting instructions.
  • Choose the right gate for the right space.
  • Make sure the gate at the top of the stairs uses a ‘screw fix’ fitting and does not have a ‘bottom bar’ to trip over.

Using the right safety gate is important and using it in the right way will make it as safe as possible.

  • Keep the stair gate closed to keep your little one safe.
  • Always open and then close the stair gate to use - don’t climb over it – your child will be learning from you!
  • Check regularly that it is still firmly fixed and will cope with a toddler giving it a good rattle.
  • Never fix one stair gate on top of another to make a taller barrier – this can cause very serious injury.

When Is It Safe To Stop Using A Safety Gate?

Safety gates are important from the age your baby becomes mobile. They should be used until you are confident they can:

  • Manage stairs safely
  • Follow instructions in rooms where there might be dangers, like the kitchen.

There comes a time when safety gates can cause a risk of accident. Then it is time to remove them. Think about doing this if:

  • Your child starts to try and climb over them.
  • Your child can open them.

Don’t try and adapt safety gates to try and stop your child using their new ‘skills’. This can be dangerous.

You may still have smaller children in the house who need safety gates in place. Teach your older child to open and close them safely or ask for your help. Never let them climb over them.

Learning to use the stairs

You can teach your toddler to begin to manage stairs safely with your careful supervision. 

  • Start by letting them climb up 2 or 3 steps with you close by.
  • Going up is easier than coming down and requires more balance, so this skill will take longer. Teach them to ‘bump down’ on their bottom.
  • Always keep stairs clear of clutter.
  • Never let your child play on or near stairs and teach them to use the handrail or hold your hand.


Who Can Help?

If you have any questions or need some support to get safety gates for your family home, you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 

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