Baby Gates for (Much) Older Kids

Cynthia Dermody

Photo by Domzmom2005

My kids are 6 and 5 and I still use a baby gate at the top of the stairs at night. I no longer need it. I'm not afraid of my kids falling or wandering downstairs alone.

No chance of that, no sir, no such luck. Not when every weekend morning at 6:53 a.m. little feet patter into my room and up to my side of the bed and blare directly into my ear that is still so deep in the throes of sleep that it doesn't recognize sound yet: "Mommy, I'm ready to go downstairs now."

"Huh?! What? Oh. Go ahead, I'll be down in a few hours or so."

"But I'm afraid. I want you to come with me," my daughter says.

"Don't be a scaredy cat, there's nothing to be afraid of. It's light, sort of. Go play with your toys and if someone knocks on the door, run and get me."

"But I don't waaant to ...."

Lately my all grown up 6 year old son wants to serve himself breakfast. I leave several cereal boxesand his bowl and a spoon on the counter place a cup of milk on the top shelf of the fridge. He doesn't know how to finagle the baby gate so he's asked us to start leaving it down so he can get up and do his thing without bothering us. I'm so proud of him.

But my husband and I don't want to. We feel safer with the gate up. We had a flying squirrel problem a few years ago, so bad that one night some wayward baby squirrels got into the house from the basement and were climbing the stairs to get to their home in the attic. They woke us up as they crashed into the gate; they couldn't get passed it and get near our bedrooms.

And I always envisioned that if an intruder broke in to murder me, if I didn't hear him stalking up the creaky stairs then I'd certainly be awakened by the loud squeak-thud sound our gate makes when disengaged from the wall. My husband and I figure that would allow another 5 seconds for him to grab the bat ... We are such scaredy cats.

Do you still use the baby gate with your big kids? What age were they when you finally took it down?

Other posts you'll like:

Stylish Baby Gates: Would You Invest in One?

Extreme Baby Proofing

Read More