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We have this gate: http://www.target.com/p/munchkin-auto-close-metal-gate-safety-gate/-/A-13202372#?lnk=sc_qi_detaillink
You can mount either by screwing it in or the easy mount.
We have a hand-me-down doggie gate that we use. (We're klassy like that.) It looks just like this, including the cute paw print decoration, and is pretty basic:
It just uses tension so you don't need to disrupt your walls or banister. As long as we make it snug enough T hasn't been able to push it down or anything, and she's quite strong. I'm just throwing this idea out there because you might be able to find a doggie gate for cheaper if you're looking to save money.
ETA: Woodsie and Elle make good points about the top of stairs. We only use the gate on the bottom of stairs and in doorways so I wasn't thinking about that.
You should definitely use hardware mounted gates for the top of stairs. The tension ones are just not safe in that position. They can become dislodged and allow the child to fall down the stairs. They should be going into the wall studs or wood to be secure, not just the drywall. You can find mounting brackets that go around banisters for anchoring if that's what you have. We have a thin metal banisters that we had to get creative with handmade wood brackets to get the gate to work.
At the bottom of the stairs, a tension gate is fine.
We have the Cardinal Special Gate
Woodsie:I didn't think tension gates were safe for the top of stairs? Ours screws into the railing on one side and the wall on the other, and it's rock solid. We'll just use wood filler on the railing and drywall mud on the wall when we're done with the gates. Easy peasy.
I'm pretty sure they aren't. We got the Safety 1st Lift, Lock and Swing gate when we moved. Somebody suggested them on this board (can't remember who, but maybe kagl?). It took me a day to get used to it, but it's so easy now and very secure.
BFP #1: July 12, 2010 Natural M/C: July 26, 2010
BFP #2: January 30 ,2011 Born: September 29, 2011
BFP #3: January 5, 2013 Born: August 25, 2013