Spacing on stairway gate

I have a stairway leading to my basement. I am going to put up a gate across the stairs. There is an existing guard around the rest of the stairway. As I see it the code for this guard is asking for a maximum spacing of 4 inches. The existing guard meets this specification. In looking at code for gates it appears that the minimum spacing is 2 3/8 inches. Why closer spacing for gates as opposed to guards? Anyone ever see a baby with a 2 3/8 inch head?
The purpose of the gate is to keep adults from falling down the stairs, no babies involved.
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Maybe the max is for baby heads .. and the min is for little hands & feet .. ? Just guessing. John T.
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Just for clarification the basement is a finished basement with access from inside the home. I am not going to have it inspected and approved. I am just wondering about the different codes for a stairwell guard and a stairway gate. The guard should be 42" high with openings less than 4" whereas the gate need be only 24" high but requires openings less than 2.375". The guard seems to be more reasonable and is what I am using for the gate design.

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Hate to confuse this any more - but - - Ray - you have just altered your original post .. .. 2 3/8 was minimum - now ir's maximum .. ? John T.

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On Monday, October 21, 2013 10:57:00 AM UTC-4, Ray wrote:

Forget the spacing. Use hardwood plywood, hinge one side and latch the other. I would make it 42" or less high. 24" seems way too low for adults.
RP
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