We started off a happy, petite family of three in a wonderful ranch-style 2-bedroom house. Now (surprise!) we’re expecting Peanut #2. Which means we need an extra bedroom. Which means we need a bigger home. Which means, at least in our case, we’ll have stairs. Stairs! For an incredibly mobile, not-scared-of-a-darn-thing, curious little 14-month-old to climb up and tumble down. In other words, we're going to need a safety gate. An annoying, inconvenient eyesore. Despite my dragging feet and complete lack of hope, I began my search for a “cool” safety gate. Ugh.
But then I was offered the chance to review the KiddyGuard Avant by Lascal. It’s a retractable gate (read: can be minimized and non-invasive when not in use). It’s sleek (read: not offensive plastic or cheap wood). And it doesn’t have a threshold (aka a strip that lies on the floor to help it lock into place) so I won’t have to worry about tripping over it with my less than stellar pregnancy balance. Yippee!
Aside from the superficial (yet, let’s be honest, important) qualities that originally caught my eye, the KiddyGuard Avant has a list of positives that makes it a must-see for all those trying to keep their children out of harm’s way. It. Is. So. Easy. To. Install. There is no super precise, you-must-follow-each-one-of-these-steps-exactly-as-laid-out-in-this-50-page-guide installation process. Simply find yourself a screwdriver, drill, measuring tape and doorway or stairway, and you’re good to go. It can be installed inside a doorframe, on the wall in front of a doorframe, above or below a stairway, or even on a banister (this last one does require the purchase of a “Bannister Installation Kit” though). Basically, if you, like us, have very thick baseboards or heavy molding along the stairwell, you can easily install this gate anyway (which isn’t the case with several other gates we considered).
The KiddyGuard Avant has a time-locking system that keeps it locked in the opened or closed position. This has multiple benefits. You can turn the time-lock knob more or less to give yourself enough time to open and shut the gate in one motion. It means that when the gate is closed, your child can’t opened the gate even when he pulls on the handle. And it also means that when the gate is retracted, your child can’t pull on the handle and play with it. It even has our little Mr. Fix-It (read: Break-It) stumped.
In my research, the KiddyGuard Avant was raved about for its simple, one-handed use. And it is pretty darn easy. Turn the knob, pull the handle, and walk through. However, in my big belly state with my 25-pound tot on my hip, I just can’t figure out how to close it without a bit of help from my foot. (Perhaps I need to practice a bit while he sleeps?) Now this doesn’t really pose a problem at our house because little man is typically off and running onto the next adventure by the time I walk through the gate leaving me plenty of time to close it using two hands (or a hand and a foot). But it is worth considering how a two-hand close will work with your lifestyle before deciding if this good-looking gate is the best choice for your family.
Overall, I would absolutely recommend this Lascal KiddyGuard Avant to those in need of a safety gate apparatus. It is easy to install, easy to use, and easy on the eyes. What else could one's heart desire?
To buy: diapers.com