Even though pet gates and baby gates serve a common purpose, there are subtle differences that make them appropriate for keeping either pets or babies within or outside an area in the home. Some rooms in the home have things to protect from breaking or being chewed up while others have electrical fixtures that may pose physical risks to children or pets.

Baby gates just as the name suggests are meant for babies especially when they start crawling. Baby gates are recommended for use if you have children between 6 months and two years of age. Baby gates are no longer required as safety devices once the child attains an age when they learn to open it or climb over it.

The use of the gates will make life easier and safer for your child since they prevent them from reaching potential danger such as stairs or hurting themselves with fixtures in the home. The use of baby and pet gates will come in handy when separating the child from pets that aren’t very friendly. Many toddlers are treated for bites from dogs and cats every other year.

Some groups of people will argue that a safety gate is a safety gate and it doesn’t matter whichever is installed in the home. However, some baby gates may not be suitable for containing large breeds of pets whereas some pet gates may not be entirely safe for children.

There are several factors that you should consider when finding an appropriate pet gate or baby gate. It will help to have the right type of gate depending on the purpose it will be put into the home. Top in the list of factors to keep in mind are material and design of the gate, the height of the gate, weight of baby or pet, durability, and the method of mounting the gate.

Material and Design of Gates

There are a variety of materials used in the construction of baby and pet gates. The most common materials for baby and pet gates are metal and wood. Common metals are steel, aluminum, and wrought iron gates. Materials used to construct the gate will determine the durability of the chosen baby or pet gate.

Design of the gates is important since it determines the use as baby or pet gates, and where the gates should be used in the home such as below or at the top of stairs and indoors or outdoors. Gates for babies have a unique design that prevents babies from opening the gates but adults can open and close them as required.

Mounting of Gates

There are freestanding pet gates and baby gates that can have a different application in the home. Freestanding pet gates are ideal for little dogs and puppies. On the other hand, freestanding baby gates are not ideal for babies unless under supervision to prevent the risk of falling.

Pressure mounted gates are installed by pressing against opposing walls and prevent drilling of walls. The pressure mounted baby gate for puppy is not ideal for safety below or at the top of a stairway. Babies can push them away exposing them to the risk of falling and severe injuries. The gates are most suitable when used between rooms to curtail access to risky fixtures or simply restrict movement to a small play area.

Hardware mounted baby pet gates are the best for the safety and protection of baby or pet. These gates are impossible to move or climb over since they are affixed to nearby walls or hardware in the home. The gates are installed using screws and brackets that are fixed onto a door frame or wall framing. Ensure the baby gate opens to the landing and not out to the stairway.

Height of Gates

The gates installed in the home should have a minimum height of 22 inches. The height of the gate should be approximately three-quarters of the height of your child. For a child that is taller for their age-group, choose a higher gate to prevent them from climbing over and getting into harm’s way. Some baby gates have heights of up to 39 inches. The gates are no longer reliable and safe if the child attains a height of 36 inches and a weight of more than 30 pounds which usually happens at two years old.

On the other hand, pet safety gates may be smaller in height depending on the type of pet. The pet gates may therefore not adequately meet your needs concerning a child.

Sturdy Construction and Slat Spacing

When choosing a baby gate, check for sturdy construction and even smooth finishes. For example, gates made of wood should have rounded edges that do not have splinters. Squared edges may not be safe since they can cause cuts if the baby falls on them. Read more about that and different types of baby gates here.

Slats on the baby gate should be vertical and not more than 3 inches apart so prevent entrapment of the baby’s head between them. Slat spacing should be such that they do not provide a foothold for baby to attempt to climb over the gate or get their foot forcefully trapped in between and cause injury. Babies should be able to dislodge their leg or foot from between slats. Slat spacing is a characteristic that differentiates baby gates from pet gates especially where big pets are involved.

Avoid gates that have a bar crossing the floor between walls when opened since these may cause tripping and dangerous falls. Choose baby gates that have been certified as having met safety standards and from reputable manufacturers.

Latches and Latch Indicators

Baby gates should have latches that can only be opened by adults and never opened by the young child. There are different types of latches such as the dual-action latch, squeezing mechanisms, foot-pedal latches, and pressure-release handles. Research and try them out before choosing a type of baby gate to buy.

A good number of baby gates also have a latch indicator that shows the gate is properly locked. Some have a color indicator or an alarm to alert you if the gate is not closed appropriately. Latches are not a very big feature for pet safety gates even though some are quick to learn and may make attempts at earning some freedom.

Baby gates and pet gates have many similarities but look out for the above-listed features which are subtle differences that make baby gates best suited for their purpose.