Parents are being warned after samples of four safety gates recently tested by Which? failed tests that form part of the EU standard for stair gates (EN 1930:2011).
The failures include a gate moving from its original position when hit with a 10kg weight and potentially dangerous gaps that could pose a risk to your child.
Our stair gate reviews, just like other Which? reviews, are for our members. However, any stair gates that are Don't Buys due to safety failures are now given an alert that's free for anyone to read, so that all parents are kept informed about any serious hazards or risks our tests have uncovered.
Our sample of the Baby Dan Avantgarde failed the impact test, where we bang a 10kg weight at different points on the gate.
When fitted using the extensions, the sample we tested moved by more than 25mm (the maximum amount of movement permitted in the EU safety standard).
This represents a risk that the gate could come out of the doorway and allow your baby or child access to somewhere dangerous.
Our sample of the Fred Safety Screw Fit Wooden stair gate had a gap at the bottom of the gate that was large enough to fit a special hip probe, which isdesigned to replicate what might happen if a child tried to squeeze under the gate.
If there's a gap that's big enough for their leg and hip to get through, there's a chance a child could get stuck with their head trapped and in the worst case scenario, this could pose a potential strangulation risk.
Our lab spotted that the auto-close system on the Hauck Autoclose n' Stop we tested didn't completely shut the gate.
When letting the gate close from the widest opening position, the top shut, but the bottom latch didn't quite click in.
This means a child could potentially lever the gate open and get through, putting themselves in danger.
The sample of the Summer Infant Retractable safety barrier that we tested failed multiple safety tests to check whether it can maintain its height when a weight is placed on top of it.
Our tests also found gaps a child could squeeze a leg through and snagging protrusions that you can catch clothing on, which could potentially pose a strangulation risk.
This stair gate can fit doorways and openings measuring 60.5cm to 102cm, and it can be minimised or extended by pulling the two pieces towards each other, or further apart.
This is handy as it means you don't need to purchase additional extension pieces.
Our lab experts check over all aspects of the gates, including whether it has any useful features such as an indicator or audible 'click' to let you know it's shut.
This pressure-fit gate uses wall cups and adhesive pads, so it could be an option if you live in a rental property where you can't drill holes in your walls.
We time how long it takes to set gates up and whether the instructions are overly complicated.
There were no safety issues with this screw-fit Baby Dan stair gate, which is available in beechwood as well as metal.
It opens in either direction and can be unlocked and opened one-handed, a popular feature with stair gates, as it means parents can walk through while carrying something in their other hand (or arms), such as a baby or a cup of tea.
The aim of Which? stair gate testing is to highlight potential issues and encourage manufacturers to take another look at their product and ensure it's the best and safest it can be.
That's why we're so pleased to see manufacturers take the time to investigate how or why the samples we test might be failing the EU safety standard.
In October 2018, we tested a sample of the Dreambaby Retractable Gate and it failed some of the safety checks in the standard. The gate was subsequently redesigned and after testing it this year, we're pleased to see that it now passes all the safety tests.
Baby Dan says: 'The safety gate mentioned has been tested recently without any remarks. Which? has received these test reports for their perusal.'
Fred Safety says: 'Which? testing has identified a way in which the Fred Wooden Screw Fit Gate could be installed incorrectly. We are confident that this is a very rare eventuality. Fred Safety is committed to providing the very highest levels of safety and all our products meet or exceed safety standards. To make this gate safer than ever we have already made the minor modification that makes it impossible to install the gate as it was tested by Which?. If any customers have concerns, they should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.'
Hauck says: 'Hauck UK Ltd do not accept the findings of Which? that their Autoclose n' Stop safety barrier is unsafe when fitted and used correctly. We have provided evidence of testing in November 2019, where it can be shown that the product passes the required standard when fitted correctly.'
Summer Infant says: 'No caregiver has ever reported an incident or injury involving the Summer Infant Retractable Gate, Item# 27256. While in production, the gate was periodically submitted to a third-party laboratory to confirm compliance with applicable safety standards, including BS EN 1930:2011. The company stopped producing this item in 2019 and we have no plans to make more. We diligently review our products to make sure they meet applicable standards.'
Our stair gate testing is fully independent and occurs at an accredited laboratory. Every gate undergoes durability and safety testing to check it meets the requirements of the EU standard (EN 1930:2011).
We also carry out ease-of-use assessments to look at things, such as how clear the instructions are, whether the gate requires tools and a long time to fit together, and whether you can open the gate easily.