Safety gates are most often used to protect babies and small children from hazardous situations, such as chairs, fireplaces and kitchens. They can also be used to prevent a baby from entering unwanted rooms, to separate him from the family pet, and to keep him from getting under foot during tedious chores. Safety gates are separated into two basic types: hardware-mounted and pressure-mounted. Within these categories are various types of gates.
Hardware-mounted gates, also known as permanent gates, are installed using screws. In order to provide adequate protection, they must be screwed into door frames or the studs located behind walls. Permanent gates are recommended for protecting babies from the dangers of stairs. These gates are made from metal, wood, or enamel-coated steel and can expand up to 43 inches (1.09 meters) without an extension and 66 inches (1.68 meters) with one.
Besides keeping babies off the stairs, there are others styles of hardware-mounted gates. Hearth gates are used as a deterrent to separates small children from the dangers of the fireplace. Configure gates can extend up to 288 inches (7.3 meters) to accommodate odd sized openings. Railing protectors are transparent shields used to prevent children from sticking their heads through stair railings.
Pressure-mounted safety gates are held in a doorway, or other opening, by applying pressure against the frame or walls. They are made of two sliding panes that adjust to accommodate most openings. These gates are made of wood, aluminum, enamel-coated steel, plastic, wire or nylon mesh with rubber-coated end tubes to prevent damage to the walls. Pressure-mounted safety gates are small enough to be portable and don't leave any scars on your walls. There are very few styles of pressure-mounted gates, due to the fact that they require two strong frames to provide the necessary pressure to hold them up.
A majority of the time, standard pressure-mounted gates are used keep children or pets out of rooms for a short period of time. Because they operate on pressure alone, they can't be used to block access to stairways. Walk through pressure gates operate like a hardware-mounted gate, in that the external frame is pressure-mounted to the wall, while the inside of the frame can be opened with a latch. Most styles of pressure-mounted gates can accommodate opening of 28 (71.12 cm) to 60 inches (1.52 meters). Extensions are available to accommodate larger sized openings.