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... but still might be right for you. But read on.
We chose this gate for 2 main reasons: - unusually narrow stairway and hall, a visting Mum's portable stairgate simply wouldn't fit - I liked the idea of it rolling up and disappearing when not in use... I was overwhelmed at the idea of acquiring yet another huge rigid baby accessory!
It is unique in its design as it works like a roller blind on its side - you unwind it an hook to a rod fixed to the opposite wall. A nice idea, not tested by us, is you can buy additional fixing rods to seal off passages in either direction. You need to think hard about how you fit it to take advantage of this feature I think, as it only has one right way up for the main section.
You open and close it by unlatching a button on top of the main roller section - very stiff at first, but pretty toddler-proof I guess. Hooking the gate section to the rod on the opposite wall is extremely difficult with a wriggling tot under the other arm, I certainly wouldn't risk it if we had it at the top of the stairs... but then that means putting the little one DOWN and fiddling with the gate, also pretty dodgy as they would be standing in a very dangerous place. As it does not lock into place I guess it has to be fiddly to stop them just opening it themselves, but it's a bit of a hazard - and the box shows a smiling Mum opening a gate one-handed at the top of the stairs...
However the first major design flaw in my book is the fact that it only works between two utterly flush, vertical surfaces (think of that roller blind). Luckily our bannister post is a naff, rectangular thing so that side was no problem, but the opposing wall had a skirting board, so that meant faffing about cutting a patch of wood the width of the board to balance it out, which didn't do a lot for the appearance of the whole thing. It's still slightly uneven and the gate gapes a little at the top (but so do most of our roller blinds come to think about it, this could say more for our DIY skills than the product).
Secondly, if the gate is retracted without the latch being held down it makes a horrendous ratchety noise - presumably to alert a parent if a toddler manages to unhook it alone. However it is IMPOSSIBLE to unhook it on one side, hold the latch down on the other, and be carrying your child - unless you have 3 arms it can't be done. So if littlun falls asleep downstairs you have to put them down or get someone else to go and open the gate, otherwise they will definitely wake up.
I can't say I regret this purchase as I honestly don't think there are many alternatives for our narrow house, but what looks like a fantastic design in the catalogue has a good few practical drawbacks. It's also at the expensive end for this product range, around £50, and not available everywhere - we got ours from the Great Little Trading Company www.gltc.co.uk I will have to put 'no' in the recommendation box below, but it might be ideal for you after checking the areas mentioned above.
Update: at 16 months our little girl managed this morning to unhook the gate, by leaning and general fiddling. The noise it made alerted me straightaway, which is something, but she was really frightened - it whips round at quite a lick and it's lucky she wasn't hurt - and I was pretty frightened to think she could undo it by herself. Obviously you don't leave a child this age alone or out of earshot, but the reason you have a stairgate is for those moments when you're distracted and they're not the sole focus of your attention. This has made me more wary, and I will be reducing my rating to poor and definitely not recommending this product.
Great Review. We've got an awkward space at the top of our stairs but this is obviously not the solution!
The-Vicars-wife32 02.12.2006 14:21
i wish i had read this before i purchased mine! i thought i was daft that i could not open the gate one handed! i Would not recommend using at the top of the stairs!!!!
ljblaw 24.01.2005 23:09
A very informative review - we have two staircases and I liked the idea of this being tucked away at night time and there being no bottom bar to trip over but it sounds a bit fiddly for top of the stairs.