Your big choice for a safety gate is to decide between a pressure gate or a screw-fit one. Find out more here.
General perception seems to be that screw-fit gates are a hassle, so most choose pressure gates, but is that right?
By its very nature a pressure gate has to have a bar at the bottom to hold everything in place as the gate opens. But that’s a trip hazard – so you can never fit one at the top of stairs, and fitting a safety product that introduces an extra risk into your home seems a bit crazy!
Screw mounted gates on the other hand have no trip bar, leaving the way clear and open for everyone, including wheelchair users and kids on wheeled toys.
Fitting-wise a pressure gate HAS to be installed with wall cups to stop it slipping if your child falls against it. To work, these need to be firmly attached to the wall. The Fred team have worked hard to look at how these can be safely attached. We have found adhesives that are powerful enough when stuck to wood, but no adhesive can be truly reliable on other surfaces (plaster can be crumbly, paintwork flaky and wallpaper is never stuck on firmly enough). So to be safe, the 4 wall cups will often need to be screwed into place – so no advantage there compared to a screw-fit gate such as the Fred ones that only need 4 screws nb: screw-fit gates often need 6 or more screws so choose carefull.
Skirting boards are easy to work round with pressure gates but can be more tricky for screw-fit gates. Luckily, it’s really not that hard. Your options are to either choose a screw-fit gate that has the bits included to work over skirtings (such as the Fred ones), buy a Fred Skirting Kit that will allow any brand of gate to fit over skirtings or do some minor carpentry.
Removal is often cited as another advantage of pressure gates, so that grandparents can take it down between visits, and parents between children. But a Fred screw-fit gate can be temporarily removed (and replaced) even faster than a pressure gate.
So what about damage to the walls? A small screw hole is very quick and easy to fill, and as discussed all gates are likely to need at least 4 screw holes. Frequently, a pressure gate also creates 4 large dents corresponding to where the wall cups are firmly pushed into the wall. On wood this is particularly difficult to remedy – far more tricky to disguise than a small screw hole. There are no wall cups with screw-fix gates, so no big dents…..
All in all you’ll find that fitting a well designed screw-gate at the top of your stairs much easier than you might think – so much so that you might decide to forget pressure gates altogether!
Ps: If a pressure gate is still the best option for you, don’t worry, we have incorporated a unique glow strip on the pressure bar to draw attention to it at night and hopefully stop you tripping over it – just one of the safety features that make Fred gates exceptional.