E’s been on the move since he was 10 months old so we already have safety gates at the top and bottom of our stairs. Now he’s a boy not a baby safety in the home becomes less about the obvious risks of trips and falls and more about curiosity induced accidents. We prefer to encourage E to learn to do things safely rather than restricting his access so we were interested to try out the Dreambaby® gates to make particular areas of the house safer for him. The kitchen and E’s bedroom were the obvious rooms to choose.
The hazard in our kitchen lies in the lure of these mysterious steps leading down to the cellar. E has been trained from an early age to ‘just look’ when we disappear down the stairs but we do wonder whether curiosity might get the better of him one day on a hunt for frozen peas/blueberries/mischief. The only reason we don’t have a stairgate there is because the opening is too narrow to fit one.
The Dreambaby® stairgate was just about narrow enough to fit the opening to the cellar (for wider openings it comes with two extension bars). As a pressure fit gate it was quick and easy to install and simply tightens into place (no drilling required unless using at the top of stairs where screwing in the mounting caps is recommended for added security). The gate certainly served it’s purpose of barricading off an enticing but risky area of the house. However we had to take it down after a few days because in all honesty it was tightly wedged in rather than fitted properly and we weren’t able to screw in the mounting caps as per the manufacturers recommendation. Afterall an incorrectly fitted gate is worse than no gate at all (the horror of a colleague’s son breaking his arm when he tried to climb over a pressure fit gate that had worked loose came to mind!)
From a practical point of view, for our cellar doorway at least, having a gate there felt like our safety as adults was compromised as the space really is too small, a bit dark and reduces the doorway area you have to carry things through. Another unexpected reason for removing it was that our arthritic cat Billy couldn’t jump over the gate to get down to the litter tray in the cellar so started to poo by the front door (not quite the ‘keeping E safer’ outcome we’d hoped for!).
The stairgate installed in E’s room was more successful and has been in place for over a month now. We’re in the process of decorating E’s room and once finished we intend to transition E from his cot to a floor bed. He’ll be able to get in and out of bed himself and the room will be babyproofed so he can simply get up and play when he wakes. The gate in the doorway will help to reduce the risk of him hurting himself walking along the landing to our room while he’s still small (the chance of slipping on a hard floor while wearing a sleep bag is rather high!)
So the verdict for trialling Dreambaby stairgates in an old unconventionally sized house with geriatric cats and a small boy.
– quick and easy to install
– double lock mechanism is easy to open for adults and impossible for toddlers to crack
– self-closing door, especially helpful when carrying things and reduces the chance of parental arguments about who forgot to close the gate
Features that didn’t work so well for our family..
– narrow opening rather than the whole width of the gate (a bit awkward if carrying a toddler, basket of laundry etc through)
– trip bar at the bottom of the gate (you soon learn to step over it but I wouldn’t be happy to use a gate this style on the stairs)
We’re grateful to have been involved in the Dreambaby safety testings as not only have we benefited but another family in Gloucester will as well. We’re donating the second stairgate to Gloucestershire Bundles, a local charity who provide toiletries, clothes and equipment to pregnant women and families in crisis with children under 5. If you live in Gloucestershire and are having a clearout of your childs clothes, toys or equipment please consider donating your items.
Disclosure: I was sent the Dreambaby stairgates to review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.