Little Man is now on the move. Cruising with furniture and holding hands to walk. His crawling is super quick, and he is a little bit lethal in his baby walker. The time has now come to put up the safety gates.
We always struggled with safety gates at the top and bottom of our stairs. Our stairs have bends in them, designed deliberately this way so that if you fall down them the fall is less, but with these bends come uneven surfaces to fix gates to. I never like the thought of a pressure mounted safety gate on the stairs, as one heavy push and it could go, so wall fixing are the only gates I consider. This also proves difficult due to the uneven surfaces.
With the girls we had a traditional white metal safety gate. Nothing fancy, and for a while it worked. My eldest around 2 years old figured out how they worked, so it proved pointless and my youngest would stand on the gate using brute force until they opened. One day the gate at the top of the stairs did just this. My youngest climbed it and stood on the bottom rail. She promptly jumped and the whole gate, screws and plugs came out the wall, along with a huge chunk of plaster and wall. She was alright but the gate was twisted and broken. Since then I have hunted for a gate that meant no climbing, as to reduce this happening again.
On our recent trip to Portugal the gates were all retractable in our villa. Working in a similar way to a blind. My husband and I knew this was the type of gate for us. They fitted onto stairs, on uneven surfaces and they reduced any climbing. When we returned home we found the Summer Infant retractable gate and knew this would meet our needs.
Everything you need for install is in the box, except the tools to install the gates. The installation is really quick and is done by screwing two plates on either wall and then sliding the gate over one of the metal plates. The handle on the gate can be installed on either side.
We have a Summer Infant retractable gate at the top and bottom of our stairs. I prefer the look of the gate much more than a traditional metal or wooden gate, and feel it blends in more with the house.
The Summer Infant retractable gate has no bar on the floor, meaning you have trip free access to the stairs, or room, and because the gate retracts there is no actual gate in the way when the safety gate is opened. This is perfect for small or tight spaces as you do not have to worry where the gate will go or even if you will have small children swinging on the gate. The retractable gate works on areas up to 127cm wide and 76cm tall. The retractable unit is a little larger than a metal safety gate post, but in all honesty I have not really noticed any difference to before the gate was installed. I actually prefer the retractable gate as there is no gate in the way once opened, so the space can still be used as before.
To operate the Summer Infant retractable gate you push the teal button before lifting the lever with the butterfly on. It is simple and quick to do once you know how to, but my 4 year old still has not figured it out and struggles to open when I showed her. My 6 year old can operate the gate herself. The gate can then be opened and slid into place. To lock the gate the mesh is hooked onto the opposite bracket before the grey butterfly lever is pressed down.
We have been incredibly impressed with the Summer Infant Retractable gate. It fits perfectly on the uneven surfaces and the top and bottom of our stairs, and was quick and simple to install. The gate can be operated one handed, but is secure enough that a 4 year old finds it tricky to operate. The fact the gate is retractable means it can be used in the most awkward of spaces and those with little room, as there is no gate to worry about once opened. The Summer Infant retractable gate provides easy walk through access when not in use and with no trip hazards making it perfect for the stairs.
I feel much more comfortable having retractable gates on the stairs than traditional gates, as I know there can be no climbing and swinging on these gates. Little Man can now continue to cruise and crawl [and climb the stairs under supervision], whilst I am safe in the knowledge there is safety features on the stair case.
I was provided with the retractable safety gates for review, all words are my own opinion.