The first of an occasional series on products we really rate...
Baby products on test: Numi Stairgate, £60, www.lindam.co.uk
Whilst the nursery products industry has glammed up plenty of its wares, safety gear has stayed resolutely lacking in cool. Frankly, childproofing and style do not typically go hand in hand - think horrid plastic corner cushions for your coffee table, strange foamy things to prevent trapping of tiny fingers in doors and perhaps worst of all, due to their scale, hideous safety gates.
So thank the lord (or baby products company Lindam) for a stairgate which doesn't appear to be part of the fixtures and fittings of a prison (albeit a scaled-down one). You might even go as far as thinking this Numi number looks kind of cool.
What's it all about?
The Numi stairgate is certainly smarter than your average gate in appearance and comes in two options – dark wood and metal (which we think looks great) or aluminium only (a bit too industrial for our liking). The manufacturers have also added some extra functionality with an "Indexed Sizing System" and "Integral Tuning System". Confused by the jargon? You're not alone but the key thing is does it work or is it just a pretty gate?
Getting the gate fitted...
The instructions were short, easy to follow and you didn't need a degree in mechanical engineering to get the gate securely fitted. It takes just a few screws and one screwdriver rather than half the toolbox. It's also a simple job to extend the width.
Can it be opened easily by grown-ups but not so easily that little people can manage it?
The ideal stairgate is too tricky for a toddler to open but not so difficult that you (or visitors) spend ten minutes faffing around every time you need to get past the darn thing. With this one, the opening mechanism is nice and smooth and can be operated one-handed – essential if you've a baby in your arms. Yet we'd be very, very surprised if any toddler could work this one out.
How does it look?
Very sleek and stylish – much more appealing than other gates. That said it might not look quite right in every home – it's more cool contemporary pad than say, period Victorian villa.
Will it stand the test of time?
It seems sturdy and certainly should be able to endure a few bashings at the hands of a rather over-zealous toddler. The opening mechanism doesn't seem like it would break or snap off easily either.
Anything else of note?
We like the way you can quickly remove the main section from the wall brackets for any longer periods when the gate isn't in use. The slim brackets can stay fairly discretely in place until such time as you need it again (e.g. if you have houseguests with toddlers or there's a break before a younger sibling needs the gate).
We did notice that it looks best when fully extended. If you've got a narrower doorway or staircase, it's a little less appealing aesthetically.
The Parentdish verdict: 4.5 stars out of 5.
Definitely worth investing in over its uglier counterparts. It does cost a little more than some basic versions but remember you'll have the gate in place for eighteen months to two years– longer if you have more than one child. It's easy to fit, works well and you won't hate the sight of it every time you pass by.