The First Years Hands Free Gate

The First Years Hands Free Gate

Rarely does a mom or dad make it through a day without thinking they could use an extra set of hands. So we designed the next best thing a safety gate that doesn’t require any hands at all. But perhaps the finest part is that while it’s simple for an adult to just press on the pedal and walk through, it’s too difficult for a baby.

Main features

  • Metal
  • You will receive either an arched or flat topped gate
  • Foot pedal operated
  • Gate swings open in both directions
  • Gate will fit openings up to 39″ with one extension kit and 44″ with two extension kits (sold separately)
  • This gate is not intended for use at the top of stairs
  • Gate will fit openings up to 39 inches with one extension kit and 44 inches with two extension kits (sold separately)

Verified reviews


Like the gate, but Amazon gets 1 star

I needed a gate for the top of the stairs, and searched Amazon for “baby gate top of stairs.” This gate is the second item returned. Nowhere in the description does it say that this gate should not be used at the top of the stairs. Of course as soon as we opened the box the instructions clearly say DO NOT USE AT THE TOP OF STAIRS. The gate works great in the upstairs hallway, but we’ll still need to buy a different gate at some point if we want the baby to have access to our room.

Diana Fort Ripley, MN

Company Sent Neosporin Instead

This gate went on sale very cheap so I bought and instead of sending it to me they sent me neosporin and returned my money. They did not even email me to let me know. I am very disapointed and I think its odd that they sent a tube of neosporin. Maybe it was for the hurt that not receiving my gate caused:)

Ola Twin City, GA

I Cannot Believe What a Good Gate this is…!

We are veterans of many types of gates for both dogs and now kids, and I am crestfallen that it took us this long to discover this terrific model. It combines the security of a permanent mount with the relative ease of installation and occasional portability of pressure-mounted models.I had two irregular doorways to fill in with child gates so our scootching 13-month old could play safely in the area. For one large opening I used the SuperYard Gate, which is a decent all-plastic telescoping gate with permanent-mounting rails, and for the other I used the First Years hands-free with a single extension. After seeing how secure the First Years was, and how incredibly east it was to install the extensions, even though I’m happy with the SuperYard Gate, I wish I had bought two First Years Hands-Free,The operation is really cool — you step on a pedal, and knee the thing open. It works in both directions! I was skeptical the pedal was baby-proof, but letting my son (who is the median weight of a two and a half year old) put his full weight on it didn’t budge it a bit. The design is also very attractive; nice thin white metal instead of the usual lattice-work plastic on most gates.One comment on an earlier negative review, where the Grandparent indicated their 15-month-old could pull up the foot pedal: this cannot open the gate if the top is properly tightened! (See below). I tried this, and the pedal will slide but not allow the gate to open if the top is tight.I have only a few minor caveats to convey:- when installing it, make sure you follow the instructions and use the little plastic wrench (included) to do some fine-tuning tightening, so that the upper latch is the required distance from the catch (a wrench-width). This is easy to do, and I found that when I tightened it up as the instructions indicated, the good fit of the latch became excellent even with a slightly-irregular-from-vertical door post.- the opening might be a little narrow compared to some other gates; it took a bump or two on my calf to get the hang of, nothing terribly difficult or painful.- the extension might not be necessary if you have an opening that’s right on the cusp of the suggested 29-34″ door opening; if you have an opening right around the maximum, I’d recommend installing it without the extension first to avoid having to make a return for a possible un-needed extension. Installing and de-installing the extension, as I noted, is a piece of cake.- this is not “portable” the way a simpler gate is, but can be de-installed and re-installed in less than two minutes. Since it swings open, if you want to use the gate in only one location, the portability isn’t an issue.All in all, just about the coolest gate I’ve used.

Brigitte Monhegan, ME

Good gate – see my comparisons with two others

After trying 3 different gates (that all had high ratings on Amazon), this wasn’t my favorite – but is still a good gate. I just preferred some of the features of the others. If it had a wider gate opening, I would have given it a 5 star rating. I turned my home into my own version of a baby gate showroom to figure out which one I wanted, so here’s my take on three different gates.I think they are all pretty good gates, it just depends on your situation and what features you’re looking for. The key features that ended up making a difference to me were 1) the width of the gate opening and 2) the latch mechanismFirst Years – Hands-Free Gate—————————–cost $50 & extensions $15 / gate is 32″ Tall / fits 29″-34″ doorway width / 1.5″ bar to step over / gate opening 17″- My gripe with this gate was primarily because the gate opening is only 17″ wide! I’m 5’8″ and I felt like I was going to have to really pay attention walking through it so I wouldn’t end up bumping it every time. However…- The hands-free step pedal is pretty cool and worked pretty easily. I wouldn’t worry about a little kid figuring it out and having enough weight to be able to push it down to open it. For me it just wasn’t cool enough to overcome my issue with the gate opening width.- Good height to the gate.- It was very sturdy in my doorway.- This one did have a little ramp feature for the bar that goes across the floor that helps minimize the tripping factor.- Fits only up to 34″ doorways so has the best chance of needing an extension.- All that being said, if you really want a hands free gate, and the width of the gate opening doesn’t bug you, try this one.Kidco Center Gateway:———————cost $85 & extensions $24 / gate is 29.5″ Tall / fits 29.25″ to 37.5″ doorway width / 1″ bar to step over / gate opening 22″- Has the widest gate opening (the space you walk thru, not the doorway that it fits into) of any of them – about 22″. (This certainly won points from my 6’2″ husband who was pretty irritated when walking thru some of the others). I was surprised after reading so many reviews on all these gates that there wasn’t more mention of this feature.- This one also had the most secure latch feature. You have to push a button to lift the handle and lift the gate over a little ledge to open it and walk thru. I figure this will absolutely be the hardest one for my little one to figure out.- This gate has the most adjustable widths and therefore would probably be the strongest in most door widths. The gate has about 2.75″ pieces on the ends that you can use or not with the optional extensions (more 2.75″ spindles as additions – 2 per box) to provide the most width flexibility. Because all the gates become “weaker” if the posts are extended too much, this one seems the sturdiest in my doorways. (ie. if the gate says it fits up to 37″ and your door opening is 36.5″, it won’t seem as sturdy as if the doorway was 34″).- It doesn’t have its brand name printed on it anywhere (a plus in my book) so it’s totally white.- It has the lowest bar across the floor that you have to step over at only 1″ high (seems less of a tripping risk).- This is the one that has the highest rating from Consumer Reports. (Child safety gates 8/04)- Unfortunately, it also is the most expensive of the bunch at about $85 + any extensions you need.- I do have to say that this one had the most confusing directions, but you can still figure it out ok – none of them took longer than 10 minutes to set up.- It’s the shortest gate and I wish it was a little taller.- All in all, if you can afford the price of this one, it’s definitely worth it!Summer Infant – Sure & Secure Extra Tall Gate———————————————cost $60 & extensions included / gate is 36″ Tall / fits 28″-48″ doorway width / 2″ bar to step over / gate opening 19″- This is the one that I wanted to like because I thought it was the best deal.- The gate opening is about 19″ – which I thought was ok, but hubby wanted wider.- The latch mechanism is really easy to operate and I thought kids could figure it out easily, but because the gate is so tall, they would probably have a hard time reaching it.- It does come with its own extensions in 5″ and 10″ so it more easily fits the wider doorways.- However, depending on the width of your doorway, this one may or may not fit as well. For example, I had a lot of doorways that are about 33″ and this gate didn’t end up fitting well in them because the gate without any extensions was too small and the posts had to be extended so far it didn’t seem stable. And the 5″ extension was too big to add. (vs. the kidco gate’s extensions add 2.75″ as needed).- It’s by far the tallest and I liked that since my daughter has been in the 95% so far. I also just like the way the taller gate looks.- It does have the highest bar across the bottom to step over – 2″.- If if fits well in your doorway it is probably the best value for the money.All three gates seemed to:- Fit pretty tightly in the doorways after being adjusted properly. Depending on your walls and if you have moldings etc, you might need to take an extra 5-10 minutes to adjust them and get them straight and hanging correctly.- Had the same type of post for the pressure-mount that is covered with a rubbery material to help it not slip on the wall.- Were pretty easy to set up.- All look about the same from a quality point of view – in other words one of them didn’t look “cheaper” to me than the others.Please remember that for safety, only hardware mounted gates are considered stable enough to put at the top of stairs, so don’t use any of these for that. Think about how you will use these gates in your house and what features you will value. Good luck with your own purchase!

Roberta Ava, MO

This gate saved me money…

…in medical bills! Previously, we had a cheap wood, stationary gate in our hallway. I must have hefted my pregnant self and my 10 month old over that gate a hundred times a day and it was taking a serious toll on my back and knees. After about the 10th time I nearly fell over the darn thing, I went to find a new gate and saw this one. Next day I picked up at BRU (I had to get the extender peice too) and installed it.WONDERFUL. Sturdy, tall, nice to look at and it opens effortlessly. Couldn’t be more thrilled. Everyone who has used it loves it because there is no fussing with latches or handgrips. Just step and nudge.

Sheree Dutton, AL

Great product

This gate is really a great product. I love the fact that you don’t have to hardware mount the gate (no drilling into the doorways required), and it’s still very sturdy. It was incredibly easy to install, and is very safe and secure. My 18 month son knows how the gate opens, but cannot open it because of the weight required to push down on the lever. The only negatives I encountered were:1) The first Hands Free gate I purchased was not painted properly, so I had to return it for another one.2) I had to buy the 5" gate extension for the gate to fit in the doorway. So, in the end, there are additional costs if the opening you intend to use the gate for is not that narrow. But all in all, it’s totally worth it.

Muriel Forest Knolls, CA

Reliable and Convenient

Utilized these for our stairs and they work very well. I was surprised how nice they looked once they arrived. Being able to utilize a step to unlatch the gate is very nice to have, seeing as our kid or some other object seems to be in our hands every time we go up and down the stairs.However, we required two extensions on each of the gates we purchased in order to get to the appropriate width for our staircases so I would recommend making sure you measure your stairs before ordering this gate and the necessary extensions.

Gayla Oliver Springs, TN

Worked great… for 9 days

We got this to gate our hallway so our 23 month old twins will stop getting into drawers and wrecking things. Not their safety so much as my sanity. We have an old house with the cut glass doorknobs and the door knob thingies are hit or miss on them. So this gate seemed like the perfect idea. It’s sturdy and attractive, easy enough to open even if your arms are full of toys, laundry, children… but not so easy my girls were able to figure it out (again, we only had it 9 days though!). It’s pressure mounted but it held up quite well to my girls shaking it in protest.The problem is with our baseboards… and I think most people have baseboards like this so it seems like a huge design flaw. We have really wide 6″ baseboards (not common) but at the bottom of that is a bit of round molding, maybe an inch, inch and a half high – and this is where the problem came in – and don’t most houses have this?? What happened is the little pressure-mounted pads to hold the gate in place had to sit above these moldings, leaving a gap beneath the gate. My husband slid a block of wood beneath this gap (actually one our window props, gotta love old houses!) which seemed to fill the gap nicely… until today… when I went to open the gate, the wood went flying out, the gate slid down, the pressure pad stayed in place… so the bolt that adjusts the pad bent, and now the whole top of the gate seems cockeyed. Not sure yet if I can fix it – I can’t figure out exactly where the issue is.This gate seemed like a good idea… but you need to find a way to fill in the gap underneath, or else it will creep down over time as you push the pedal, and the whole thing will pop out like mine did. I’m giving it 3 stars because I think it will work awesome if you don’t have those moldings, and if you can think of a good way to fill the gap if you do (I’m thinking maybe zip-tying the wood to the base?) – it will work great But it seems like something they should have thought of when they made the gate.edited – we got the gate working again, with a block of wood beneath it. I noticed in someone’s “add your own picture” picture they mentioned cutting the molding to make the gate fit. You should not have to cut your wood work!!! Isn’t the whole point of a pressure mounted gate so you don’t have to alter anything? Make sure you fill in the gap underneath! Girls still haven’t figured out how to open it and boy are they mad.

Florence Mc Clure, OH

It’s too small. Use for small doorways, not hallways, entryways or ordinary-sized doorways.

The gate is decent construction, and the lever has enough weight where only an adult can open it. The mounts aren’t sturdy.This gate only fits in our doorways, and this is with the extensions maxed-out to their maximum length. This doesn’t make for a secure fit in our doorways, and it is unusable anywhere else. It’s too small. It fits soundly in doors less than 30" in width, so measure your doorway before you buy.The mounts do not securely fasten onto the gate, so when you move it from doorway to doorway or when installing, these fall out of the gate, and you have to balance these during installation.Yes, there are extensions available, but these are sold as an accessory, and with the combined cost, there are other better options available.I don’t recommend this product as we replaced it with a simpler, lower-cost solution. Save yourself.

Carla Hermanville, MS

Needs improvments

So I really like that this gate is a walk through and doesn’t have to be screwed into the wall. Beware, there are still quite a few draw-backs. The first one is that it’s difficult to install. You twist and twist and twist all four of the touch points, and if you don’t do it just right, the gate will be wonky or pop out of the wall. My son has pulled it down several times because I cranked and cranked, but I still didn’t get it quite tight enough. Also, the two touch points on the bottom for some reason fall out of the gate when it’s not installed, so if you’re storing this gate or not using it all the time, it’s super easy for one of those things to fall out in a closet or something, a toddler to walk off with them, and then never see them again, and then your gate is wonkier than ever. This gate does not work at the bottom or top of stairwells well at all, but is pretty decent in standard doorways. With stairs, it’s difficult to get it level and tight between a banister and a wall, especially because banisters don’t have a lot of flat space for the touch points, and secondly the step pedal often ends up not on a step, and so when you step on it, it can pull the gate down again! It seems like now a gate that installs permanently would have been a better choice, but I got it for my mom’s house so she can just put it up while we’re in town and take it down for the rest of the year.

Susanne Leonardville, KS

Hands free but not as convenient as I thought

I thought it would be a breaze having a hands-free gate. Turns out, I like the one I have at the top of the stairs much better. Which requires hands to operate.Nothing wrong with the gate itself, but not as convenient as I thought it would be.

Ofelia Caldwell, NJ

Best on the market!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: I have been using this gate with the New Baby. He is now 20 months old and there are absolutely no complaints…just praise. The pedal seems to be improved as I have yet to have it break. I still recommend this gate above and beyond all the rest. Matter of fact I am about to buy another one this weekend to put upstairs.I used this gate for both of my girls and eventually a little girl that my MIL babysat. It’s very durable and the ease of use and set up is great. It’s also a plus that the fram stays in place and you dont’ have to remove it all the time like other gates. The one part that might give out will be the pedal. My husband broke it once when we first got this because the animal that he is put too much weight on it (the gate stands up nicely to regular pressure). I do have to say that the company was great when I called them for a replacement part and sent it out the very same day. I am now 4 1/2 months pregnant and will buy a new one. I have no doubts or bad things to say about this gate. It was well worth the money. I had tried several other gates and was not happy at all with any of them.

Sonja Lyman, NE

Was flimsy

I have several baby gates so it’s not that I didn’t install it right. Its just that my daughter could rip this one right out. The others that I had held up when she would do her monkey in a cage routine but this one would rip out. It holds on for a while but still she can tear it down. So I wouldn’t recommend it.

Geri Creston, IL

Don’t think the foot pedal is a must

This product is a lot different from other baby gates because of the "hand free" foot pedal at the bottom used to open the gate. Not only did I find it not TOTALLY hands free, but it blocked her bedroom door from completely closing. Nice and sturdy, though.

Juliette Bruneau, ID

Fell apart way too quickly

So we had a little bit of an interesting situation. My husband and I were moving in to my parents’ house after they built their house. We were preparing to live in the house about 1 year in advance, which is when I purchased this gate and installed it at my parents’ house for when they had my daughter over there. It was barely used for the good part of that year, left open most of the time. Right before we moved in, my daughter ran into the gate (wasn’t hurt, thank goodness) but it broke apart. Not only was the outside covered in plastic, the entire hinge was made of plastic! Are you kidding me? That much for a gate and you can’t even give me a durable hinge? Sorry, but this was a waste of money!

Jessica Saint Martinville, LA

Kind of noisey.

We have a pretty wide door frame. About 32". This works well in the space.Cons: The foot pedal length will prevent you from closing the door. If it were shorter, I could still close the door and leave the gate up.It takes quite a bit of force to open it with the foot pedal. It makes a pretty loud sound when doing so, and so quietly checking in on the baby is a challenge.It’s not really hands free because as you enter, the gate swings very fast and so whatever is on the other side, like, the door, is going to get banged. Plus you need to use your hand to close it back or else your cat is going to take the opportunity to run in.

Annie Penn Valley, CA

Foot pedal issue with doors

I thought this idea seemed great since my hands would be full once our baby arrived, but it did not work for us. We bought this for use in a doorway, but the foot pedal stuck out so that we never would have been able to close the door. The opening for this gate was also very narrow. We returned this for the North State Industries easy close gate, which we love.

Sharon Brownsville, IN

Pretty Good

We got this style because we didn’t want to attach hardware to our door frames. The step is now noisy, which I may be able to fix with some WD40 or something, but I just haven’t tried yet. We also have another gate that is a slightly different The First Years model than this. I like that that one has the plastic guard at the bottom to act as a transition. I’ve kicked the bottom bar while going through many times! The opening of this gate is also slightly narrower than the other gate. This one is also a little taller. Overall it does the job, but if I had to purchase again I would buy the other First Years model instead.

Kendra Batesland, SD

Gate will only last for 6 months — before breaking in various ways

TL;DR if you are looking for a great gate that will function well for 6 months, and inevitably break in unrepairable ways, this is the gate for you!I loved these gates. We bought two of them and they were relatively easy to install and had been very effective at keeping our rambunctious 2 year old out of the kitchen and hallway. The foot petal requires quite a bit of pressure, and even kept our 6-yr old nephew contained pretty well :)That being said — their reliability over time is *horrendous*. These gates come with only a 90-day warranty, and both gates started breaking in obviously flawed ways within 6-months. The first gate stopped locking shut — which is obviously a problem for a gate that is supposed to keep a 2 year old out of places. The problem is that the spring-loaded plastic peg can actually separate from the spring inside the end of the swinging door. I contacted the manufacturer and their customer support was very good! They shipped out two replacement pegs and I was able to get the door working within a few days. That being said — the issue will certainly happen again, as there is nothing preventing the spring from separating. This is a clear design flaw.Weeks later our second gate broke. This time the foot petal stopped actuating the pin, so the door will not open. After taking off the plastic assembly for the foot petal, I found that the metal pin which connects the plastic petal to the metal arm was completely broken (in two places). After putting the pieces together, the issue became very clear — the metal pin is tapered quite substantially in two places — which is exactly where the pin broke. With people putting significant force on the foot petal to open the gate — dozens of times a day — is really unacceptable to have such an obvious weak point in the design of the metal pin.The problem with the pin being broken is that there’s clearly no way to actually reassemble the foot petal to the actuating arm — even with a good pin. There is no way to fix this broken gate. Upon contacting the manufacturer’s customer service, they confirmed that there is on way to fix the foot petal and there is nothing they are willing to do to address the broken gate.In the end, we regret having bought these gates, and I am rather disappointed that the manufacturer doesn’t seem to acknowledge these design flaws in their gates. I think it also speaks volumes that they offer 1-2 year warranties on almost all of their baby products — except the gates. Makes you really think…

Consuelo Summit Station, PA

Just Ok

Well I wasn’t happy with this compared to another brands I purchased. I bought 4 gates (three brands), this gate the Summer and the dream baby I had to purchase other items to install this gate. 2 months later the foot pedal broke. 8 months later the gate was broken all together. This wasn’t a bad value but not nearly as good as the Summer Extra Tall Decorative and even the dream baby is better than this one. I wouldn’t buy this gate again.

Luella Ashfield, PA

Good but too easy to shake open

This is a great gate in both functionality and aesthetics. Would’ve given it a higher rating if it weren’t so easy for my soon-to-be 2 year old to rattle the door and open it quite easily. May need to look into getting something more advanced for him but for under 2 years, this does the job. And easy to install.

Eileen Frankford, MO

Fantastic babyproofing gate

Our little one is rolling and starting to crawl, so we bought two of these gates, one for the top of our walk-up stairs, and one for the hallway. They are fantastic. You have to do two things to open the gate — push down on the foot pedal while pushing the gate forward, but because you can do these without your hands, it is perfect for when you are carrying your little one in your arms. The foot pedal also requires a substantial push, so there is no way that the baby (or a pet) would be able to do so on his or her own. The material is very sturdy, so even if a toddler tried to pull herself up on the gate, it would not come undone. The gate door also works both ways, an important feature.The one negative as far as I can tell is that when coming up the stairs, it takes a little extra coordination to step on the foot pedal.Definitely recommended.

Marion Selah, WA

Great Gate and It really works

This is a wonderful gate when you have your hands full, as I often do. We’ve used gates for years with our pets, and this is by far superior to any others we’ve used. We actually went out and bought a second gate when we saw how great they are.

Staci Mc Farland, KS

Update: Now just OK

It’s been less than a year and now for some reason we’re having a really hard time closing 2 of the 3 gates (the ones weuse most often). Not sure why this is, but we have to bang really hard to get the gates to close. We tried fiddling around with it, reinstalling, but still stiff and hard to close. We have another Dreambaby automatic closing gate that was not that great to start with but that at least performed the same for 4 years.Original Review:First of all, love Amazon. My 2 gates arrived in one day with prime shipping!This really is the best doorway gate you can buy. Very sturdy, easy to install, even comes with a wrench! I have had several other gates (ones I bought and hand-me-downs) and this is by far the best because 1)it stays open when you don’t need it (like when kids are napping) – i used to have to tie my other one open! 2)It is also nearly impossible for a toddler to get through because you need downward weight to open it. 3) Other tension gates I have (dreambaby extra wide gate) worked fine, but it was really tough to get it just right so that both parts latched/locked correctly without being so tight that it wouldn’t latch. This one was a breeze, as long as it is tight, it works, latching perfectly in both places.I have the older version of this gate and it is much better than the newer version. It had an actual knee plate and it had a wide, sloped base which seems to provide more stability and prevented toes from kicking into the base. The Amazon photo is incorrect and one of the pics shows the older version, which they do not seem to make anymore. Even with the changes for the worse, I think this is still the best doorway gate out there and well worth the money.

Janette San Lucas, CA

Love this gate, BUT…

I used this gate at a family member’s house, and I loved it, so I bought one for our place. However, it is too small for our normal, standard width hallway. I have to buy the extension for it. It’s a great gate, but I think it should be a little wider. I was REALLY looking forward to putting it up and containing my crazy toddler, but now I have to wait on the mail man to bring the extension kit.

Effie Dewart, PA

Gtreat gate

I bought this product as a dog gate for my boston terrier puppy. I love the step feature. Our other gate I was having to step over each time and it was a real pain. This gate is also quite tall which is nice. The installation was simple and unlike the gates that drill into the wall, this gate does not leave holes and can be moved easily. Great gate, great value!

Alison Prospect, OH

best gate on market

I love that this gate installs very easily, and the gate swings both ways. We installed this in a bedroom frame, and easily moved it to over the stairs. I love that it doesn’t leave any residue on the walls. Be sure the use the wrench it comes with which makes it very easy.The measurements it gives you are pretty accurate for the max length it can do, our stairway is just over 39″ and it barely doesn’t fit with the first extension so we had to add another.

Savannah Chetopa, KS

okay gate

I bought this gate yesterday. Unfortunately it did not work in my very unusual doorway. One thing I did notice was that after I put it together, my 2yr old daughter happened to be watching, she immediately knew how to open the gate! Even if it did fit I still would have had to return it since she knew how to open it. Great gate for younger children/pets.

Lou Wright City, OK

Good Gate

Good:-Easy to open with one hand.-Works great for keeping the dog out of the nursery.-Really like the pressure mounting, easy to install.Bad:-Gate creeks

Mai Mc Callsburg, IA

Perfect, highly reccomend

We put it in a doorway that we walk through constantly, I can open it with no hands (i.e. holding the baby) It keeps out the dog (about 65 pounder) and withstands some jail bar style shaking from my 1 year old. I can leave the gate open, walking through is a bit narrow for my wide hips, but I don’t have to turn sideways or anything.Get it, you won’t regret it. looks nice, easy to install, keeps out the dog and the baby in!

Callie Saint Paul, VA