My wife and I really had a hard time deciding which safety gates to buy for our house. We have only one flight of stairs down to a basement, which should make the task an easy one, but of course, it wasn’t. We also have a cat in our home, and the cat’s litter box is in the basement, but her food is all upstairs in the kitchen. We felt it would be inconvenient to lock the cat in the basement all the time when we spend most of our time upstairs, and moving the smelly litterbox upstairs was out of the question. Also, we thought that the cat would probably be able to jump over the gate from the steps, but would probably hurt itself jumping over the gate and landing on the stairs going down.

Since the stairs are accessed from the kitchen, and kitchens are child-safety nightmares anyhow, we decided the best course of action would be to simply gate off the kitchen completely. This added an additional cost, as our kitchen has two entrances to it, but we felt the cat could easily jump the gate on a level floor, and it would make our home safer by removing the kitchen as a danger, so the price would be worth it.

There are a whole pile of gates on the market, some good, some bad. After a lot of research, we finally settled on the Safety 1st Smartlight Stair Gate. It is adjustable to fit a wide range of doorways and openings, is mounted permanently to the frame of the opening, and is mostly built of out metal. The hinges and latches are plastic, but they have had a fair bit of use and seem to be holding up well. The other thing I like about this gate is that I can easily step over it. I’m 5’11”, and have no problem with it installed at the standard height. Since these gates are installed in high traffic areas of our house, it’s nice not to have to open and close the gate each time. The gate has a motion activated light built into it, but this wasn’t a concern for us so we never put batteries into it.

We found it at Sears, but I’m sure there are a number of places it is available at, including