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Baby Gates

  • 1.  Baby Gates

    Posted 04-09-2021 02:29 PM
    Hello, HELLO! is my first post, as I am new to the NAEYC. (ALthough I have been in this field for 7 years now.) I am hoping that one of you might be able to help with a constant struggle we are dealing with in my classroom.
    I work in a toddler classroom (children range in age from 12 months-28 months.) There are two areas of our classroom that have to be gated off for safety reasons. (both block access to an exterior door.) The gates are the most popular thing in the classroom to "play with" (and by play I mean destroy!) I know that this is probably because we have told them over and over that they may not touch the gate. The trouble is they shake them so aggressively that we are going through at least one gate a month.

    Do any of you struggle with the same problem? What solutions have you found? I would like to help the children learn to stay away from the gates for their safety, but also think a studier gate might be the answer. We have tried lots of different brands and types, but each one has its own set of flaws.
    Additionaly one of the areas that we need gated off is much wider than a normal entry. (I would say it is at least 12 feet wide. Meaning we have to find a much larger gate, usually one meant for pets.
    Thanks in advance for any advice, or well wishes you can send my way.

    Portland Lloyd
    Nursery Director
    Springfield Public Schools
    Springfield MO

  • 2.  RE: Baby Gates

    Posted 04-10-2021 06:43 AM

    I understand your frustration. I'm in a struggle with two year olds and a playground exit currently myself.

    I would suggest a few things:
    when you google "baby gate alternative" there are a number of fabric or mesh like gate alternatives. You may not be able to get around installing actual hardware to the door frame or area in question. 

    Also, I have found that the more time we spend outside of the classroom, the less of a fight I get with the door. They are probably trying to communicate that they need a change of scenery or some variety in the only way they know how. 

    Healthy distractions are also good. So maybe when they are congregating at the gate you take them on a wagon ride or start blowing bubbles and do a fun song or activity. I have found that when children are doing things they know they aren't supposed to, they are more than likely craving more stimulation.

    I hope this helps!


    Derricia Walters, MA
    Carepointe Academy
    Fort Wayne IN

  • 3.  RE: Baby Gates

    Posted 04-10-2021 10:47 AM

    Oh this is such a challenge, isn't it?
    One of the BEST ways I have found to keep children away from things is to tell them what they CAN do - rather than what they CANNOT do!

    Since young children think in pictures, we need to give them images to help them be successful in following our directions. For example, "You can shake -- over here, like this (demonstrating)."

    When we tell them NOT to .... jump on the couch, throw toys, run inside, etc. The only picture in their mind is what we're telling them NOT to do!  But, if we say instead: Sit on the couch, jump on the mat, throw balls, build with blocks, run outside, walk inside...then they have a clearer picture of what they CAN do. Therefore, they are more likely to be successful in doing that.
    i hope that helps! Wishing you well!

    Kate Fraiser - Parent Coach
    Las Vegas, NV

  • 4.  RE: Baby Gates

    Posted 04-14-2021 01:44 PM
    We have dealt with this issue, as well, and have found a few fairly sturdy options that allow the children to see, but not access the items behind them.
    This one is made for a large space, but also has a walk-through gate that can be opened by the teacher, but not the kids.  It has been a good way to separate areas in both infant and toddler rooms and has withstood a lot of shaking and abuse!
    This one is for a smaller area (like a doorway), but it also easily opened by staff, but not children.  It has the benefit of not requiring any mounting as it has a tension system in place.  Again, able to withstand a lot of shaking from eager ones and twos!

    In other programs, we have used fence/walls from Community Playthings and have also used clear-backed shelves as blocking mechanisms.  Good luck finding the elements that work best for you!

    Holly Dalferes
    George Cottage at St Martin's Episcopal School
    Metairie LA