Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summer Infant "Stylish & Secure 6 Foot Extra Tall Metal Expansion Gate"Review

For the first 14 months of Robbie's life, we didn't have baby gates.  Even when he was newly mobile, we got by with distracting him or after a while, with obstacles...  It was hideous!  We used the Jumperoo to block the cabinets under the sink and a huge Rubbermaid container full of baby clothes to block the pots and pans.  We left him a little cupboard to play in with plastic food containers.  Eventually we had to move the food containers higher as they were getting spread all over the house.
I don't know why we put off buying a baby gate for so long.  One reason was I didn't want to have to drill holes in our apartment walls and the opening was too large for a standard pressure baby gate.  I finally gave in as it was impeding on our cleaning as there were so many obstacles for us too and Robbie would always be underfoot.  He also began to push the Jumperoo and Rubbermaid container out of the way so they weren't helping anymore.
I researched many gates and we bought the Summer Infant "Stylish & Secure 6 Foot Extra Tall Metal Expansion Gate" And now we love it!  It was pretty pricey to us (that was definiely a deterrent as well) but we had a gift card and it has already proven worth it.  Now it's so much easier to cook and clean and we don't have to dodge either the baby or large objects.  It is a dark bronze color and it really quite nice looking, especially considering how baby tend to look.  The opening between our kitchen and dining room is about 58" so we use one of the two extensions pieces that is included with the gate.  This gate will fit opening between 44- 72".
The gate itself doesn't actually screw into the wall.  Small plastic pieces are anchored screwed into the wall and then pieces on the gate slide into the plastic pieces.  This makes it easy to temporarily remove if necessary.  In my opinion, it also seems less likely to damage the wall or that Robbie will actually rip the gate off the wall.  And he does try!  Every once in a while, he will stand at the gate and shake it with all his strength.  I wince every time but I haven't seen him damage either the gate or the wall this way.  At some point if you kept adding extensions it would affect how sturdy it is.  Right now it's pretty tight still.
The opening mechanism took about a day to get used to.  Surprisingly it is much more difficult to open with two hands than with just one, as least for me.  When I copied how my husband was opening it, sliding the "lock" with the thumb and lifting up, all with one hand, it was much easier.  There is a piece that runs along the bottom, attaching the two sides and at least two people have tripped over it.  They got used to it after the first time but it did hurt!  We're used to it now but I was worried I was going to hurt myself with that part.
It was pretty easy to install, for us.  The hardest part was attaching the plastic pieces on the wall.  It required (in the order I did it) attaching the bottom plastic piece, then sliding the gate into place to figure the height (well I guess you could measure the gate and then measure the wall), then attaching the top piece, on both sides.  I knew I needed the one extra extension and then had to add screws to connect all the gate pieces together.  It took less than an hour and really it would take about 30 minutes if we had the drill more handy.
I wish I had bought this gate much sooner.  Even when Robbie could be entertained by the Tupperware in the kitchen, he would still be underfoot sometimes while cooking and cleaning.  It can be dangerous to have him in there with water boiling and such.  Now he can be safely blocked out of the kitchen and we don't have to worry about him.  I definitely recommend this to friends and family that need a gate for a larger opening than a doorway.

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