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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Got a question for the experts at Safe Beginnings?  Browse through this FAQ for the answer

Q: I am looking for a fire escape ladder that will attach to our deck. Can you help?
A: Our ladders are designed to attach to a window sill. They have "stand-offs" and should rest against a wall for stability. You would probably be better off installing a permanent staircase from the deck or planning another route for an emergency escape

Q: Do baby safety gates come with hardware for installation or do you have to purchase the hardware separately?
A: Baby gates are sold with hardware to mount them in ideal locations. This means they can be mounted to a wood framed doorway without having to purchase any additional materials. If you are mounting safety gates to walls, posts or railings you will need Safety Gate Mounting Kits.

Q: Help! My baby just started to crawl and I need to babyproof my home. Whatís the best way to get started?
A: Welcome to the next stage of parenthood! It seems to happen overnight but your baby has now entered a new level of development. Here are a few tips to get started. Youíve probably already heard about the "crawling tour" so itís time to get down on all fours and see the world from your babyís perspective. Start in one room and make your way through your house. Be on the lookout for small items that may be hiding under the sofa or underneath the cushions. Now is the time to inspect everything you own to see if it should be put away until your baby is older. This includes the obvious items such as cleaning supplies and also things such as perfume and mouthwash which contain high levels of alcohol. Now is the time to take "plant inventory" and remove unsafe plants from your childís reach. Install childproofing items in all areas of your home will help keep your baby safer and will also give you more peace of mind. Safety gates will help prevent a tumble down the stairs, locks and latches keep tots from exploring your cabinets and drawers, and specially designed covers keep tots from exploring electrical outlets. Although safety products are not a replacement for adult supervision, they can keep you a step ahead of extremely curious tots!

Q: My one year old is climbing out of his crib. The Cozy Crib Tent is perfect for use at home but I need something that fits his playpen for use when we travel. Can you recommend anything?
A: The same company that makes the Cozy Crib Tent also makes a Cozy Playard Tent. It fits play yards measuring 28"W x 40"L to 31"W x 44"L.

Q: Our preschool/daycare center is looking for safety latches that the children can't open for the gates on the chain link fence surrounding our playground. Any suggestions?
A: You can try calling a chain link fence company. They should have child-resistant latches designed for use at preschool and daycare centers.

Q: My brick fireplace is 14"X77"x21". What can I do to pad the front of the fireplace to prevent my son from falling backwards and hitting his head?
A: There is no product available that covers the whole hearth in padding, however you may want to take a look at cat #2700 (Hearthgate) it encloses the hearth completely.

Q: The windows in my baby's nursery are very close to the floor but they are brand new and have a flip lock that enables them to open only a few inches. Do I still need window guards?
A: We do recommend using window guards for several reasons. First, there is always the chance that a curious toddler could flip open the latch. There is also the risk of someone, whether a houseguest, someone cleaning your home or another family member forgetting to flip the latch back into the locking position. Window guards will help protect your child from the glass as well.

Q: We have electric baseboard heaters and I am worried that when my child starts crawling that she will put her hands in the opening and get burned. Is there any type of shield for baseboard heaters?
A: Unfortunately, there really isn't any product available to prevent your child from getting to these heating units. Possibly, because anything that would block them would also block the heat from functioning properly. You might try rearranging your furniture to "hide" them a bit. Keep a lot of interesting toys in the middle of the room to distract your child from this area, too. The good news is that this is usually only a temporary interest and as soon as your child begins to walk there will be something else that interests her!

Q: My 22-month old son has discovered how to unlock the scree/storm door. Any suggestions on how to prevent him from being able to open the door?
A: You can install a slide bolt on your screen door. This item can be purchased at a local hardware store.

Q: Can you offer some safety precautions I can take before dressing and changing newborns as well as one year olds? I'd like some advice about types of clothing and how to most easily put on my baby's clothes?
A: Thanks for your excellent question. In fact, we think many new parents would appreciate the information so we are going to post it on the FAQ on our website.The most important advice we can give is to prepare your changing table area in advance. Start with a clear area to place your baby. Remove any unsafe items in the area such as blind cords, mobiles or anything your baby can reach. Then, make sure that all the items you will need are within easy reach (but out of your baby''s reach). This includes items such as clothing, wipes, lotions and diaper ointment if needed, several diapers (just in case one gets wet or soiled in the process!). By the way, baby powder is not recommended since it unsafe to breathe the talc.) To make the changing process more special set aside a toy or two--it gives you another opportunity to bond. Always keep one hand on your baby and use the safety strap at all times. Newborns like to be warm and swadled so make the changing process go as quickly as possible. One piece outfits with snaps tend to be easier for diaper changes too. Undress and immediately dress one part of your baby (such as removing the top area of clothing and putting on the new clothing on top before you begin the bottom). Since a baby's skin is very sensitive you'll have to watch for signs of allergic reactions to laundry detergents, labels, etc. and make necessary adjustment. Also, check to make sure sleepwear is actually safe for this purpose (some articles of clothing are not for use as sleepwear).For older babies who tend to be gymnasts, you''ll have to make sure your muscles are in good shape. Hold your child firmly and get the diaper changing done as quickly as possible. Be assured that soon your child will outgrow this phase and there is also the time that he or she will finally be potty trained!

Q: Can you help me find a child proofing consultant to come to my home in Massachusetts?
A: Yes. Safe Beginnings, Inc. offers a home childproofing service. Visit or call 800-780-9949 for more information.

Q: Iíve seen so many different types of safety gates, latches and other childproofing products. What is the difference between them?
A: Like anything else, childproofing products come in a variety of styles, shapes, sizes and prices. Generally, the more expensive items tend to have finer styling, choice of colors/finishes, added convenience and safety features. For example, some safety gates are much easier to open and close, some lock automatically, Additional upgrades include more rugged construction (i.e. steel versus plastic construction), taller height and additional safety features such as gates that only open in one direction (They can be adjusted so they will not open into a stairway.)

Q: When should I childproof my home?
A: Typically, babies begin to crawl at about 6-9 months but some start earlier and some later. Some even skip crawling and go straight to walking, even at 9 months! To really be prepared for the "mobile" stage, think about childproofing your home when your baby is about 4-5 months.

Q: Should I childproof my entire home or only the rooms where my baby will be?
A: Itís usually not practical to limit your baby to only two or three rooms of your home. Itís also not practical to assume that you will be limited to only those rooms as well. Thatís why it makes sense to make your entire home child-friendly. It will be safer for your baby and easier for you, too!

Q: Help! I have a very large and unusual shaped area with stairs leading to my front door. I canít figure out what to do so my baby will be safe from the stairs, the tile floor and the door.
A: The solution: the ConfigureGateô (#2901). It can be customized to fit unusual areas especially like the area you described near your stairway or entryway. You can even create enclose home exercise equipment or create the ultimate play area since this gate conforms to the size and shape you need by simply adding 24 inch wide sections. It has a walk-through gate section that opens and closes easily like a door.

Q: How can I put a protector on my stone fireplace that has a curved hearth?
A: You can use #2700 Hearthgate to surround your hearth, this would be the best or you can use #2132 padding and #v24 Velcro kit if the bend in your hearth is not too extreme.

Q: Do you have any switch plates that have the extension poles that attach to the light switch that allow a toddler the ability to turn the lights on?
A: I'm sorry but we do not have the product you described. You can try some other safety/children's catalogs or do an internet search using the words "light switch extender". Good luck in your search!

Q: I need gates for the top and bottom of my stairs but I have molding along the floor and I canít find a stud there either. What should I do?
A: Since safety gates were designed for an ideal installation location, you have to create one of your own. Hereís where our Gate Mounting Kits (#GM1, GM5 and GM6) come in handy. They enable you to simulate an ideal mounting location, that of a wood framed doorway. Each mounting kit comes with wall anchors to use in locations where there is no stud and a strip of wood and a wooden spacer so the wood is the same distance from the wall at both the top and the bottom. Our No-Hole Baby Gate Mounting Kit (GM5) even lets you mount safety gates without having to drill into your wood posts!

Q: I have a wrought iron railing. How do I mount a gate?
A: Our Gate Mounting Kit (#2610) comes to the rescue again! Youíll need to use two kits for each side so you can build a "frame" (use one strip of wood on each side of the wrought iron) and then mount the gate to the frame.

Q: Help! I have a stone hearth that takes up a good part of our family room. Weíd like to be able to use our fireplace and still keep our baby safe.
A: Our HearthGateô (#2700) lets you surround your entire fireplace area to keep tots safe from wood stoves and the sharp corners and edges of your hearth. The standard HearthGateô fits hearths 6 feet wide by 2 feet deep (24 inch sections can be added for larger areas). There''s a walk-through gate that opens in either direction with a convenient one-hand adult release. Its non-toxic, heat-resistant finish lets you use your fireplace, too.

Q: My windows have metal frames. How do I install window guards?
A: You can drill into metal with sheet metal screws. There are also different styles of window guards that install differently and may suit your needs better.

Q: Do you have any suggestions preventing my cat from jumping into the crib?
A: Yes! A Crib Tent (#6001) is a mesh dome that attaches to the crib. Your cat canít get into the crib and your baby can easily see each other. Thereís a large zipper to make it easy to get baby in and out of the crib.

Q: My kitchen cabinets do not have any wood between the drawers to install a safety latch. Is there any product to keep my cabinets and drawers locked?
A: You have European style cabinets which do present a challenge when it comes to childproofing. With this style of cabinet you can most often install a Tot-Lok which is a magnetic style lock that uses a special key to release the locking mechanism. Also, check cabinets and drawers to see if you are able to mount latches to the side of the cabinet. If so, a good solution may be the Swivel Latch.

Q: I have an 8 month old baby who has just started to crawl and a 7 1/2 year old. What can I do to keep my baby safe from my older childís playthings which are unsafe for my baby and also give my older child some privacy, too.
A: An ideal solution to this situation is to install a safety gate at the entrance to your older childís room. It will give her privacy and will keep your baby from playing with your older childís toys and personal items.

Q: My son almost locked himself in the bathroom. Luckily I caught him just in time. What can I do to prevent a "lock-in?"
A: Here are a few suggestions: Try taping the latch so it wonít insert into the strike plate. There is also a product called an Emergency Door Lock Release (#571) that keeps the door locked with normal use but if you need to "rescue" your toddler a strong, forceful push will open the door.

Q: My 18 month old is climbing out of his crib. What can I do to keep him inside?
A: Your baby is really young to be in a bed. You might try our Cozy Crib Tent (#6001) but youíll have to make him feel itís his special hideaway. Remember, itís something new and he may not take to feeling confined. When heís older you can try placing his mattress on the floor, removing all the hazards and installing a safety gate at his door.

Q: Should I childproof based on my babyís level of development or do it all at once?
A: Itís a good idea to get your entire home childproofed in anticipation of each stage of your babyís development. That way youíll give your baby a safe environment to play and explore, while you keep one step ahead in helping to prevent injuries. Youíll also have time to get accustomed to using the new equipment so it becomes second nature to lock the gates and latches every time you use them.

Q: Whatís the safest gate for stairways?
A: The first thing to look for is a hardware mounted gateóone that you install into the walls or banisters. Youíll also have to check the width of your opening and remember to measure from the widest point. If the gate is being mounted in a straight line youíll have more options. But you can also mount some gates on an angle. Another consideration: the height of the gate (the taller the better) and construction--wood, metal or aluminum. Look for a safety gate that is designed for use with children, not pets. Vertical slats are preferable to accordion style gates because they are difficult to climb. A good safety feature to look for is a gate that can be set to swing in only one direction. This way it can be installed so that it will not open into the stairway. Youíll probably also want to consider convenience features such as one-hand or automatic locking.

Q: I have a stove with knobs mounted to the front. I have purchased the knob locks, but they all won't fit. Is there a guard that will cover all knobs together instead of individually?
A: Since the knob locks are flexible you might want to cut the sides so that they can be placed closer together.

Q: Do you have a gate that would fit a 51" space, that doesn't have to be mounted with screws or hardware, to the cabinets?
A: There are a variety of baby gates from which to choose: The Kidco Center Gateway #2240, Tee Zed Extra Tall Walk-Thru #1701, Evenflo Crosstown Travel Baby Gate #5262 and the North States Auto-Close Auto-Locking Baby Gate #4800 . †For more options, †check out our selection of Pressure Mounted Safety Gates at

Q: Does the auto lok gate have it's own hardware for installation or do you have to purchase the hardware separately?
A: Yes it does come with hardware. However you may need some 2610 gate mount kits depending on where you are mounting it. Please call us at 1-800-598-8911 for assistance with installation information.

Q: Would the Kiddy Guard gate be suitable for a deck?
A: The Kiddy Guard gate is not really suited for your deck, and at this point there is no gate that has been designed specifically for use outdoors. Our suggestion is the Stairway Special #5540 for your deck. Although some of the parts are made of steel (these parts can be sprayed with Rustoleum or a similar product), the gate itself is made of aluminum so it won't rust.

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