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Parents warned to avoid these stair gates because of safety issues

In our recent testing, these three safety gates failed important tests that check the structural strength and integrity

Stair gates

Parents are being warned not to buy or use three stair gates that demonstrated serious safety failures during recent Which? testing.

Samples of the Dreambaby Retractable Gate, Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate and Safetots Self-closing gate (when fitted with adhesive pads) all failed to meet the criteria for the fatigue test. This test forms part of the EU safety standard (BS EN 1930:2011 part 6.11.2) for safety barriers.

During this test, a 140N horizontal force is applied 10,000 times to the top middle of the barrier. One cycle of the test is the force going from 0N to 140N in one direction, before going back to 0N, before then going to 140N in the other direction.

Dreambaby Retractable Gate

Our sample of the Dreambaby Retractable Gate (pictured above left) failed after just 10 cycles. The metal tubing that is attached to the mesh so you can pull the gate closed, bent and became detached from the casing – as you can see below.

Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe gate

Our sample of the Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe gate (pictured top centre and below) also failed when the adhesive pads holding the cups that secure the pressure spindles in place became detached. This caused a loss of pressure so that the gate could come loose. The Lindam gate failed after 2,570 cycles.

Safetots Self Closing Gate

Our sample of the Safetots Self Closing Gate (pictured top right) failed when the adhesive pads that hold the cups securing the pressure spindles in place became detached. This caused a loss of pressure so that the gate could come loose. The Safetots gate failed after 3,700 cycles.

This gate can also be fitted using screws, rather than with adhesive stickers on the wall cups. When the laboratory tested this gate as a screw-fit gate, it passed the test.

Don’t buy these gates

Because of these failures, we’ve made all three of these stair gates Don’t Buys with a 0% test score. Due to the severity of the failures for the Dreambaby gate, we’re calling for the manufacturer to withdraw it from sale immediately, and issue a recall for any that have been sold. If you own this gate, we recommend you stop using it immediately.

We would also advise that if parents own the Safetots Self-Closing gate  fitted with adhesive pads, or the Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe gate, they should stop using it immediately until a fix can be found for the problems that are causing the gates to fail.

We’ve reported all our findings to Trading Standards and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).

Despite our requests, the manufacturers of these gates are not currently issuing a recall, so you won’t be able to return the gate and receive a refund unless you experience a fault yourself, or you bought the gate in the last 14 days.

The good news is that another seven gates have passed all the safety tests, with some scoring very well. Find out the safety gates that have come out on top by reading the Best Buy stair gate reviews.

What the manufacturers told us

We reported details of the test failures to all three manufacturers.

Safetots has not yet provided an official reply, but it has disputed our findings. It told us that the gate has been exhaustively tested in China and the UK, and has successfully satisfied the selected requirements of BS EN 1930:2011. This is the same standard that we test to.

Munchkin, the company that owns Lindam, told us it is not aware of any evidence supporting our allegations. Munchkin said it has reviewed and analysed customer complaints for the gate and not encountered any of the purported safety or reliability issues that we have alleged. It has said it has performed an internal inventory audit and found its gates to be compliant with all product safety standards as per EN1930.

Dreambaby told us: ‘Complaints relating to the quality of our products are rare but when received they are investigated immediately. However, our ability to undertake a thorough investigation of the matters raised have been significantly frustrated by the failure of Which? to provide sufficient background detail despite our repeated requests for this information. We are therefore unable to provide a considered response at this time.’

Why is the fatigue test so important?

A stair gate or safety gate provides a barrier to prevent toddlers or young children from going up or downstairs, or into a room that they shouldn’t be going into.

The tests in the EU safety standard are designed to replicate the actions and potential issues that might arise when children and adults use the gate. The fatigue test, which all three of theses gates failed, is designed to replicate the gate being pulled back and forth by a determined toddler or child over time.

If the gate fails, and comes loose, it could mean a child putting themselves in danger.

How Which? tests stair gates

Our testing is fully independent, carried out at an accredited laboratory by expert assessors, and aims to answer crucial questions about stair gates. These include:

– How long does the stair gate take to put up?
– Is the gate easy to use every day?
– Will it withstand repeated attempts to force it open?
– Will the gate damage your walls?

A Best Buy stair gate will be strong and sturdy enough to withstand the whacks and shakes that form part of the EU safety standard tests. It will also be easy to set up and install, simple to use and convenient for parents. A stair gate that’s strong and sturdy is all very well, but if it’s got a fiddly or stiff catch, which means you have to put your baby down while you walk through it, then it’s going to lose points.

Find out more about how we test stair gates.

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