Baby Gates and Brownstone Stairs

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    I’m looking for a way to make a child safety gate work with a brownstone staircase. The gate would fit at the top of the stairs, where there is a large newel post. The issues are (i) i’d prefer not to drill into the newel post, for obvious reasons; (ii) i don’t want to use pressure-mounted gates, as those aren’t very safe for staircase use and they don’t really fit right anyway; (iii) the stair-friendly gates i’ve found so far don’t work with big newel posts (i.e. they come with clamps that can’t fit around anything wider than a skinny post); and (iv) our stairs are relatively narrow so some gates don’t fit at all.

    i’d appreciate advice, experiences, etc. on dealing with this sort of situation. thanks in advance!

    9 Replies

    1. I bought a gate that lets you add extensions and made the gate long enough to fit from wall to wall across the hallway in front of the stairs. I mounted the gate hardware to the wall which can be easily patched rather then into post…

    2. If you want (& can afford it) a friend of mine hired a carpenter who made a stanchion that matched the newel in shape & color that was strapped onto the original & he screwed into that. It was almost invisible & they kept it for years since they had visitors w/ small kids long after their own were safe.

    3. A piece of wood *strapped* onto the post…. seems simple in my head. Of course you would need straps and buckles and a piece of wood and so on. But it could be something totally different in application — like that Kidco kit, I can see that not working for a lot of reasons.

    4. One idea that is not good for everyone but you may want to consider… gates are made up of two parts, the actual gate and a smaller part that it closes into. Use only the gate part, screw it to the wall. Now ‘tie’ to the newel such gate; you could use one of those baby-proofed things that are used to keep cabinet doors closed. You may end up never actually opening the gate and just climbing over it, which is what so many parents soon start doing, rather than bothering to open the gates. If so, you could use one of those ties that are used by electricians, you can cut them but cannot open them.
      Just an idea.

    5. I have 2 kids, and installed the pressure-type gates. Bear in mind that you won’t need gates for that long. Just 12 months.

    6. I spent a small fortune putting in gates, and NEVER ONCE actually used them. Kids are smarter than you give them credit for, and learn how to navigate stairs faster than you think, especially if they are carpeted…..

    7. I assume under (iii) above you’ve checked out the non-drill accessory kits from Kidco.
      Besides amybnyc’s suggestion, you might also want to consider Kidco’s ConfigureGate. It takes up some more room, but allows you to assemble short and long pieces to move the gate’s end-piece to the proper place for wall attachment.

    8. This might not be helpful, but what we did is babygate the rooms and simply not allow the babies/toddlers into the hallway unattended. Not sure if that works for your set-up though…

    9. The only thing I’ve seen work is to build a little wood “box” around the newel post and drill into that and the other wall. The box is from the floor to just above where you would need to drill. Not super pretty but definitely better than drilling the newel post.
      good luck! I’d love to hear other answers…