A pressure-mounted gate is a style of baby safety gate that uses outward tension to maintain its position. It is generally constructed of two panels that slide parallel to each other, with rubber stoppers that rest against opposite walls. Once the gate is adjusted to the desired width, it is secured with a tension bar, which puts pressure on the wall or door frame on either side, effectively holding the gate in place. This keeps a curious baby or toddler contained in one area and restricts access to dangers in other areas of the house. Using a pressure-mounted gate has many advantages over other types of gates, but they are not appropriate in all situations.
One of the greatest advantages of a pressure-mounted gate is its portability. Installation is temporary and requires no tools or hardware, so the gate can be moved from room to room as needed to restrict different areas at different times. Pressure gates are generally lightweight and flat, so they can be taken with you when you are traveling or visiting relatives; some even come with a special case for transporting. They are fairly inexpensive and, because they can be moved from room to room, they can save money over installing gates at each doorway in the house. They also won't damage the walls if they are mounted properly, because there is no hardware.
The major disadvantage of a pressure-mounted gate is that it can become loose if a child is leaning or pushing on it. This poses a risk of injury if the gate falls on the baby, but the greater risk is that once the gate is down, the baby has free access to possible dangers. A pressure-mounted gate should never be used at the top of a staircase; if the gate gives way under the child's weight, both could tumble down the stairs, resulting in serious injuries. Another limitation of the pressure-mounted gate is that it can only be used in areas where there are two flat surfaces directly opposite each other, such as a doorway. If a baby gate must be installed at an angle, another type of gate should be used, such as a hardware-mounted gate designed for angled installation.
Before choosing a baby safety gate, parents should give careful consideration to the location and situation in which the gate will be used. A pressure-mounted gate is ideal to temporarily block off a specific area at a specific time, such as to keep a crawling baby out of the kitchen while cooking. Always read and follow the manufacturers instructions before using any type of baby safety gate. Most gate manufacturers recommend removing the gate entirely when the child gets big enough to attempt climbing over it.