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My mum is soon to undertake caring for my 10 month old son on my return to work and wanted her house to obviously be as as child friendly and as safe as possible. She has two wood burning stoves set back in large hearthes and required something larger and more practical than the usual metal clip on fire guards.
After much internet searching we came across the Baby Dan Hearthgate on Amazon. It was just what we were looking for. Large enough to cover the whole of the hearth and also able to provide easily (adult) access to the stoves.
The hearthgate is made from a black light weight heat resistant metal and is made up of five 600mm panels. Although completely rigid when fixed into place, the gate can be arranged to fit pretty any style of fire place or hearth - add on panels can also be purchased at extra cost to cover larger areas.
The gate cost just under £70, this included postage and packing. Delivery took around two days.
The gate was delivered semi flat packed in that it was boxed flat but once the cardboard packaging was removed each of th efive panels were already joined together. It then doesn't take much effort to open out the panels and click them into place.
My mum has three panels covering the front of the hearth and one at either side. The centre panel is actually the hearth gate. This is child friendly, in order to open, the handle must be squeezed from the bottom whilst simutaneously lifting and opening the gate. it sounds a little complicated but it isn't. The gate is extremely easy to open and very light weight. However there is no way a young child would be able to master such a feat!
The gate can be opened left to right or right to left depending upon which way you choose to assemble the structure.
The gate come s with wall fixings - although it looks very sturdy, as if it is made from a heavier type of metal, it does move very very easily if not securely fixed to the wall. I must stress that it should not be used as a fire guard if it is not fixed properly to the wall - this does require some drilling and the skills of a 'Handy Mike' (my mums partner). He said it was a pretty straight forward job - the fittings are drilled into the wall and the gate slotted into them at either side.
The gate can then be removed from the wall without too much difficulty althought he fixing will remain insitu unless the screws are removed.
The excellent thing about this product is its versatilty - it has other uses than that of a fire guard!
It can be used as a hexagonal 'baby den' or play pen as they were called in my day! Or as a room divider - although once again wall fixings are required. The gate can also be used as a configure gate at the to por bottom of the stairs (although this is purchased as a three panel device).
For all four uses, safety is paramount. Instructions for assembling each structure are quite detailed but not overly complicated and are quite easy to understand, although there is quite a lot of measuring involved!
I have since also bought one of these for use as a fire guard. I have a 'living flame' fire with a a very boring marble hearth and wooden surround (it was there when I moved in and am yet to replace it!). The hearth gate is SO much easier to use than the traditional metal fire guards, no unclipping, or leaning over to turn the fire on/off or adjust the temperature. It seems much less hassle opening the gate!
Suprisingly, it has completely improved the look of the room - my boring marble hearth now has a touch of class! In the case of my mum, the guard has also enhanced the look of both of her rooms - providing an more traditional look, adding to the wood burners, not detracting.
I probably shouldn't say this but the guard is a great place for airing off the odd few pieces of washing but that wouldn't improve the look of any living room!
This product is a great buy and I would say a must for those who care for young children, your fire can burn away at leisure without the fear of little hands going anywhere near - not to mention the added bonus of sharp hearth corners situated safetly behind the metal frame.
I have since seen this product much cheaper at kiddicare.com for only £57! With free delivery!
I now fully intend to buy another for the equally unsightly living flame fire in my back room.