Product Type: Lascal safety products
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Guarding the kiddies
Lascal Kiddyguard Safety Barrier
Member Name: tyllwyd
Lascal Kiddyguard Safety Barrier
Advantages: Can be used where space is tight
Disadvantages: Difficult to close single handed
We bought a KiddyGuard safety barrier to use as a stair gate because space on our landing is very tight, so there is no room to swing a traditional gate out of the way. The KiddyGuard is like a vertical rollerblind, with strong plastic coated fabric. It can be pulled across the opening and hooked on to large plastic hooks fixed on the other side, and when it is not needed it retracts into a roll, leaving the opening clear with nothing to trip over. One thing to note is that it does take a certain amount of space from the opening because the rolled up gate is about 4 inches or so wide, and the hooks on the other side stick out a couple of inches. It needs to be fixed securely to the wall, but it was no more difficult to set up than an ordinary stairgate.
The basic principle is that you press a button to release the mechanism, and then take hold of the bar at the end of the gate to pull the fabric across the opening, and then drop the holes in the bar onto the hooks on the other side. When the gate starts retracting as it settles down onto the hooks, you can hear the ratchet catching. Once the ratchet has caught, you canít pull the gate forward without releasing the mechanism again, so once it is on the hooks and stretched taut a child canít pull it forward and off the hooks.
The mechanism seems quite sturdy, and after two years it doesnít show any signs of wear. The release button is stiff, so it is very unlikely that a toddler could press the button and even if they could, they wouldnít be able to reach the gate on the other side to take it off the hooks. Unfortunately this also applies to older children (or gran and granddad when they come to stay) so the temptation is to leave the gate permanently open. It is also a little bit awkward to open the gate from the Ďwrongí side.
One weak point is the fabric. Small things can be pushed underneath it, and I can imagine that if a child had a habit of leaning on the gate there would be a danger of stretching the fabric over time, although to be fair this hasnít happened with ours yet. If I had a dog, I donít think this would be the gate Iíd choose.
It is supposed to be possible to use the gate one-handed, but Iíve never managed to do it. The slightest hesitation and the ratchet clicks, and then you have to press the button again before you can carry on. Also, you have to be careful that the bar doesnít twist as you fix it onto the hooks, because if you donít get it resting properly on both hooks it would be quite easy for a child to grab the bar and wriggle it around and either make a space to crawl through or wriggle it off the hook. If it does come off the hooks it will retract rapidly with a loud clicking ratchet noise.
The noise of the ratchet is supposed to be a safety feature to warn parents. You can open the gate silently by pressing the release button while the gate retracts, but I find it is almost impossible to open or close the gate without a couple of loud clicks, no matter how careful you are.
Overall, we are happy with our gate. We use it at night to make sure that the stairs are safe in the dark and during the day it sits rolled up neatly out of the way. It is not as easy to use as a standard gate though, so it would be a real pain if it was on a doorway that was in regular use during the day. Its main attraction is that it would be a good alternative in situations where it would be difficult to fit a conventional gate. We paid £55 for ours from John Lewis, but if you shop around you should be able to find one for about £50.
Summary: This safety barrier can be used where space is tight, although it can be quite awkward to close.
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