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Baby Gate Review: Munchkin Auto-Close Metal Gate

When our younger son was born, we decided to buy a gate to keep his older brother out of the nursery during nap time.

But we couldn’t get just any gate. Our oldest is a big, strong toddler who ranks in the 90th percentile for both height and weight.

We needed a gate that could keep Godzilla at bay.

After doing some comparison shopping, we settled on the Munchkin Auto Close Gate, available for around $59 on Amazon.

The Munchkin Auto Close Gate is made of sturdy steel tubing, and it feels solid. It doesn’t bend when our 3-year-old grabs it and flexes his muscles, and I’ve never once worried that he would be able to break it.

After nearly 18 months of use and abuse, it’s held up well.

Installation

Although I was impressed by the quality when the gate arrived, getting it installed was a bit of an ordeal. The gate requires a fair bit of assembly, and the instructions left a lot to be desired. I’m a handy guy who has, among other things, remodeled our kitchen and bathrooms. But it took some fiddling to figure out how to put the Munchkin gate together. The main problem was that some of the pieces I was working with looked different than what was shown in the assembly guide.

Even after I had the gate put together, mounting it in the doorway was tricky. The gate is a pressure-mount style, with four individually adjustable feet that hold it in place. Each threaded foot needs to be tightened separately, first by hand, then using a wrench once they’re too tight for your fingers to turn.

Not too bad, right?

Yeah, except there’s nothing holding the feet in place, and while I tightened one the others kept falling out. I needed a couple more hands to hold everything together while I worked.

But once I got the gate installed, it was rock sold. The doorways in our home are an in-between measurement, and the traditional wooden gates with pre-set notches are completely useless. Our toddler would calmly walk up to the gate and yank it out of the doorway in one fluid motion.

By contrast, the individually adjustable feet on the Munchkin Auto Close Gate let me find a perfect fit. Now our 3-year-old can rattle the gate and throw his weight into it to his heart’s content and the gate doesn’t budge.

The Munchkin fits doorways from 29.5″ to up to 38″ wide using the included extenders.

Operation

The gate’s swinging, auto-closing door was the main reason we purchased it. While many gates force you to climb over them, the Munchkin gate allows you to just unlatch it and walk through–perfect for when you’re clutching an infant and don’t want to risk a precarious climb.

The door works as advertised. It swings smoothly in both directions, closes quickly and latches securely. It provides some peace of mind to not have to worry whether you remembered to close the gate.

Unlatching the gate is a little awkward: You have to slide a button with your thumb, then lift the door a fraction of an inch before pushing it open. That same awkwardness makes it virtually impossible for a child to open, though.

The only downside to the auto-closing mechanism is that the gate slams shut loudly if you don’t make an effort to slow it down. Not ideal at nap time.

Conclusion

We’re happy with our Munchkin Auto Close Gate and would purchase it again without hesitation. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a sturdy, reliable gate and don’t need to be able to remove it frequently. The auto-closing feature is a life-saver when you’re carrying a baby while fending off a hulking 3-year-old.

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Prevent accidents and keep your sanity with this babyproofing checklist

Before my son became a toddler, I heard it a dozen times from empty nesters: “I don’t know what people do all of this babyproofing for nowadays. When my kids were young, I just told them ‘no,’ and they didn’t get into things.”

Fast forward to my first son starting to crawl: If there was a cord, he would pull it, if there was an outlet, he would poke it, if there was an unlocked cabinet, he’d raid it.

Babyproofing has kept me sane and my sons safe. Here’s a checklist of what has been helpful in our household:

  • Cabinet locks. We like the Safety 1st Magnetic Locking system because they lock the cabinets tightly with no gaps. We also like that they can be easily unlocked after the kids are in bed, so it’s much more convenient for us.
  • Drawer locks. We went with the Dreambaby Safety Latches, which are basic but do the job.
  • To keep little hands from turning on our gas stove, we installed a KidKusion Stove Lock on each knob. They are easy for us to disable but totally stump our boys. So much easier than constantly removing the knobs like we did at first.
  • Safety gates. We use the Summer Infant Sure and Secure Deluxe Top of Stairs Wood Walk Thru Gate at the top of the stairs in our spit entry home. This has been essential for keeping our kids safe while making it easy for my husband and me to get up and down the stairs.
  • We also use the Munchkin Auto-Close Metal Gate in front of our younger son’s nursery. Our living room, kitchen, and bedrooms are all on the same floor, so it allowed me to put the baby in the swing in his room when he was fussy while keeping our two year old from climbing in the swing.  It keeps our two year old out of the room while I’m changing the baby’s diaper but allows me to keep an eye on him.
  • Door knob covers. The KidCo Door Knob Locks have been essential in our house. We put them over the doorknobs of the bathroom, master bedroom, and nursery. When the toddlers are running around, it keeps them out of the bathroom and our bedroom. It also keeps our two year old from opening the baby’s bedroom door while he’s napping.
  • Door pinch guard. We put this on our two year old’s door to keep him from slamming in into his (and his baby brother’s) fingers. We like the “door monkey” Childproof Door Lock and Pinch Guard.
  • Outlet covers. We went with the basic Munchkin Plug Covers.
  • Outlet boxes. We got rid of our lamps and went with a ceiling light to minimize cords, but we have a few things that still need to be plugged in. We like the Safety 1st Outlet Cover with Cord Shortener.
  • Sliding closet locks. The Mommy’s Helper Slide-Lok Bi-Fold Door Locks have kept us sane. They keep the babies out of our accordion closets. It keeps my son from getting into his diapering supplies and also unfolding every piece of clothing in his entire closet.

Of course, my kids still need constant supervision, but it’s much more relaxing to let them run around and play without having to say “no” every two seconds.