A third of children's stair gates fail safety tests, new research finds

Caroline Allen
Contributor
Parents have been warned to stop using a number of stair gates. (Getty Images)

Parents are being advised to stop using a number of stair gates after they failed standard safety tests.

The stair gates - which are currently being sold by major UK retailers - failed the typical EU tests when tested by Which?

Of the 11 gates tested, four failed to comply with standard EU ruling, potentially putting toddlers and young children at risk in their own homes.

There were a number of different failures reported, which includes gaps that were too large, putting children at risk of getting stuck or strangled, gates that dislodge and ones that don’t close properly.

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One particular gate proved worrisome after failing numerous standardised tests.

The Summer Infant Retractable Safety Gate, which is favoured by parents because of its discreet look, faired badly in the reviews.

When weight was placed on the gate, it formed gaps that a child could fit their legs through. It also had protrusions that children could easily snag their clothes on when going up or down the stairs.

Another gate, the Fred Safety Screw Fit Wooden Gate, failed because a child would be able to fit up to their hips under the gate. Which? completed this test by using a special hip probe.

This is particularly dangerous for children because while they could fit their hips through the bottom of the gate, they would get stuck at that point and could become trapped.

Fred Safety is the only brand - so far - to remove the product from sale while the company re-addresses how to make it safer.

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The testing team did some other important tests, too, one of which involved impact.

This is a key test because any stair gate needs to be able to withstand a kick or a push from a child without falling down or becoming damaged.

The BabyDan Avantgarde had 10 kilogram weight banged at different points on the gate and failed to stay put.

The final gate to fail the test was the Hauck Autoclose n’ Stop.

The testing found that the auto-close function only partially closed the gate. While the top latch closed, the bottom latch failed to close properly.

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Parents who own these gates are being asked to stop using them immediately. The manufacturers are also looking into the failed testings with a view to recall the failed products until the fault has been addressed.

Popular gates that did pass the safety tests include the Extending Wooden Safety Gate by John Lewis and the The Lindam Sure Shut Porte.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said: “It beggars belief that these products made to give parents peace of mind and keep children safe may actually be putting them in harm’s way.

“Manufacturers need to act to urgently prevent any more children from being put at risk by products which may be unsafe and retailers should take any potentially dangerous items off sale immediately.”