Product Review: The First Years’ Hand-Free Baby Gate


So, not knowing the specifics of what we were getting into, we picked out some baby gates prior to our baby’s arrival. Once it came time to put those gates into action (our child was so active, it came very early in his life,) we realized that what seemed to be a simple latch, now would not suffice.

The so-called “Perfect Fit” gate we had purchased before might work with our earlier concerns (not scarring up the wall, supposedly one-hand easy-open latch), but did not meet the needs of reality. While holding a squirming four-month old, walking down our stairs, I could not open the gate with my hand, in fact, the squeeze action was too painful for my hands even if they were baby-free. Thankfully one of my physical therapists recommended a gate you opened by pushing a pedal and it definitely fit our needs.
There might be newer models or other brands on the market that meet the same needs, but we use The First Years’ Hand-Free gate. Instead of gripping and coercing a gate to move aside or lower while managing a baby, this gate operates by mashing a pedal with your foot. Doing so releases the gate to swing open, which is easy to do with a knee or a quick push with a free hand.
Eases strain on hands
Easy to use!
Extenders are available for purchase to make sure the width is correct for your stair/door openings
Medium priced
Made of metal
Design not “ideally” convenient to mash the pedal as you go down the stairs to open the gate (a small space on the step to get to it)
“Attaches” on both sides with a rubber pressure knob to the wall/banister, so it is not as secure/permanent as a screwed-in mount

Originally, we were just looking for something that would work and not scar the walls (hence our preference for plastic and a gate that did not permanently mount). Once the baby came, we realized once again, one’s ideals change. Although we still chose a gate that does not permanently mount into the wall (we don’t plan on being in our house very much longer due to the stairs), this gate offers a compromise in its ease of function.
Product review written by Carrie Beth Burns © 2008

  • H Matla

    I bought one of these gates it was great until at 9mths my daughter worked out how to jam her rattle under the pedal and pop it off which then opens the gate. I now have to tie something around it and am going to replace. Buyer beware

  • Sheila Kopena

    We have one of these gates to seperate our two dogs. We absolutely love it! If we come in the house with our hands full of groceries, it is so easy to open & close with just a tap of our foot. The added bonus is that the dogs haven’t figured it out yet…LOL!