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My little one has found her feet and is toddling about all over the place now - with that in mind, a safety gate was a much needed purchase! I had a quick look around a few of the baby stores but after a lot of reading, discovered that some people had found that their toddlers soon worked out how to open the gates that I first looked at - obviously something I wanted to avoid. I bought this BabyDan gate as it came with a 'triple locking system' which made it sound pretty secure. It cost £29.99 from Argos (unfortunately it is sold online only) but does come with free (and quick) delivery. It is metal and ours is silver in colour, which I really like as it's a bit different than the usual white safety gates out there. I have also seen it in black which looks nice too.
Fitting the Gate
It needs very little assembling, apart from fitting to the wall with the fittings provided. This uses a pressure fitting system rather than the usual holding cups so there is no screwing or drilling required in order to fix it firmly to the wall - a big positive for us because we've only recently had the living room decorated and ideally didn't want to start making holes in the walls and staircase. It works by fixing in place on both sides so it needs somewhere sturdy to fix the frame to on either side. We've not needed to buy any extensions to use this - there is one available if needed to fit across a wider gap but it needs to be purchased separately. It will fit across a 73.5cm to 79.6cm gap normally, with the extensions it will fit over a gap of maximum width 119.3cm. It's 73.5cm high. We have used it at the bottom of the stairs, but it is not described as a stairgate - it is really designed for across doorways.
It took my husband around 10 minutes to fit it perfectly and then that was it - ready to keep her away from the stairs! There's an indicator on it to tell when it's been fitted correctly. Once it was up, she was very intrigued by it's appearance and was straight over there to investigate what this new thing was - she's not yet tried to get through it though and instead just stands at the bottom holding on to the bars looking through before walking away from it and back to her toys.
There's a gate within the frame, so it's not one that needs the whole frame moving in order to move through - much easier to use as having one bathroom upstairs means we're up and down a lot of times in the course of a day. There's a lever lock on the top of the gate which works by pressing the lever inwards on either side and pulling it upwards. Then the gate part needs to be lifted upwards in order for it to open freely so I feel it offers a fairly robust locking system. Some I looked at just had the first step of pressing two sections inwards and then was free to open and I feel this offers a bit extra for her to (hopefully) not work out how to undo. BabyDan advertise this has having a one handed locking system but I'll be honest - we always need to use both hands! The first part of pressing the lever inwards is still stiff even now so needs two hands in order to open it properly. The gate swings either way to open but with ours being on the stairs, obviously it will only open the one way as the stair step stops it from making a large enough space to walk through. That would be handy though if it was used in a doorway. The gate has a wide opening so there's a large gap to get through - that is very handy and perfect when I'm carrying her up to bed or carrying a load of washing upstairs!
Something not so safe......
The only downside I feel is the bar that runs across the bottom that forms part of the frame. The gate clips onto it but only at the very side, not at any other point so I don't feel it serves much purpose. It's a shame that it's there because it's something we have to be really careful of and have to make a conscious effort to step over. One slip and it's very easy to trip over it. Because of the way our staircase is designed, we've had no option but to fix our frame to the second step rather than right at the bottom - just so it's fixed to something sturdily on either side. This means one slip over the bar would mean tripping down a couple of steps, rather than just tripping close to the floor and is obviously quite dangerous. As I mentioned though, this is designed primarily as a safety gate for across doorways and is not sold as a stair gate. Perhaps that is an error on our part for buying it for that purpose.
I would recommend this safety gate on the whole, I feel that the locking system is one of the best I've come across although we can't be certain that she won't learn how to unlock it eventually when she's a bit older and has watched how we do it over the course of a good few months. So far so good though and I feel that it's providing us with a much safer house than previously as she walks all over the place investigating things! I rate it four stars in total, I'm taking one off for the bar at the bottom of the frame because I don't feel that it's a necessity and could have just been designed slightly better to make it safer for passing through.
Thanks for reading :o)