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The best wide baby gate fits a variety of configurations

One of the most perplexing baby-proofing challenges for parents is how to erect gates when they have open floor plans and/or hazards in rooms that get regular use, such as hearths or media centers -- and Christmas trees during the holidays. Many standard baby gates are available with multiple extensions, but experts warn that increasing the width on a basic baby gate can destabilize it. When parents have particularly large openings or hazards to shield, the North States 3-in-1 Metal Superyard emerges as a clear winner for its strength, stability and coverage.

Unlike typical baby gates, the Superyard is designed to act as a freestanding play yard with six interlocking panels that include a doorway in one panel. However, the panels can be configured in a number of ways, including stretched against a large opening and mounted to an opposing wall, or arranged in a semi-circle to block off an area of the home. In addition to its six included panels, Superyards can be joined together with other Superyards, and two-panel extensions are also available (*Est. $50).

Parents say that the Superyard's door is a nice wide opening and that the gate latch is easy for adults to operate with one hand, but not for toddlers. The Superyard walls feature vertical spindles that thwart the efforts of climbers. While many say that this gate is heavy, they also say that the weight lends stability and that it's easy to move and configure.

If you have a wide opening and are looking for a lighter weight and more economical option, experts and consumers recommend the pressure-mounted Evenflo Soft and Wide Gate . Constructed with a sturdy metal frame surrounded by lightweight and soft mesh, parents say the Soft and Wide gate mounts securely in openings up to 5 feet wide without damaging walls. They also say that the gate is easy to put up and take down as needed. The greatest disadvantage to this gate is its lack of a parent opening. Parents will either need to step over the Soft and Wide gate or remove it when they need to access the blocked off area, making it a better option for areas that don't get a lot of traffic.

Baby Safety Gates Runners Up:

Evenflo Soft and Wide Gate  *Est. $40

2 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…

KidCo Gateway  *Est. $60

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Buzzillions.com…

Dreambaby Swing Closed Security Gate  *Est. $50

1 pick including: Amazon.com, BabyCenter.com…

Evenflo Top of Stairs Plus Gate  *Est. $50

1 pick including: Amazon.com, BabyCenter.com…

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Evenflo Crosstown Soft Portable Travel Gate
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from Amazon.com
New: $39.99   
Average Customer Review:  
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KidCo Center Gateway - White
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from Amazon.com
New: $89.99 $54.95   
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Dreambaby Swing Closed Security Gate, White
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from Amazon.com
New: $49.99 $36.44   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Evenflo Top of Stair Plus Gate
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $39.99 $37.63   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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