Which? is calling for manufacturers to take immediate action on three child stair gates, after testing revealed serious safety failings.
Stair gates should protect small children from hazards but Which? testing found three – which are currently available in major retailers and online – are potentially unsafe.
The consumer champion tested the durability of 10 stair gates, all of which are popular buys on the UK high street. They were tested by applying the “fatigue test” – which forms part of the EU safety standard for stair gates – 10,000 times. This is designed to simulate the gate being pulled back and forth by a boisterous toddler over time.
Samples of the Dreambaby Retractable Gate, the Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate and the Safetots Self-closing Gate, when attached with adhesive pads, all failed to meet the criteria for EU safety standards when Which? tested them.
Shockingly, the Dreambaby Retractable Gate failed after just ten applications of force, with the metal tube that is attached to the stair gate becoming bent and detaching from the casing that holds it in place, which led to the gate sagging in the middle.
The Safetots Self Closing Gate failed after 3,700 applications of force, with the adhesive pads that secure the gate to a door frame becoming detached, which could lead to the gate becoming loose due to a lack of pressure. This gate can also be fitted using screws instead of adhesive pads. When it was tested as a screw fit gate, it passed the fatigue test.
The Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate also failed when the adhesive pads that secure the gate to the door frame became detached, after 2,570 applications of force.
Which? has made all three stair gates Don’t Buys on its website and is calling for an immediate recall of the Dreambaby Retractable Gate. Anyone who owns this gate should stop using it immediately.
For those who own the Safetots Self Closing Gate and have fitted it with adhesive pads or the Lindam Easy Fit Plus Deluxe Safety Gate they should stop using it for the time being until a fix can be implemented.
The findings have been reported to Trading Standards and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).
Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said:
“It’s shocking that the products people buy to keep their children safe may actually be a danger to them.
“The manufacturers need to act urgently to prevent any more children from being put at risk by products which may be unsafe.”
The manufacturers told us:
Dreambaby: ‘Complaints relating to the quality of our products are rare but when received they are investigated immediately. However, our ability to undertake a thorough investigation of the matters raised have been significantly frustrated by the failure of Which? to provide sufficient background detail despite our repeated requests for this information. We are therefore unable to provide a considered response at this time.’
Munchkin: The company that owns Lindam, told us it is not aware of any evidence supporting our allegations. Munchkin said it has reviewed and analysed customer complaints for the gate and not encountered any of the purported safety or reliability issues that we have alleged. It has said it has performed an internal inventory audit and found its gates to be compliant with all product safety standards as per BS EN 1930:2011.
Safetots: The company has not yet provided an official reply, but it has disputed our findings. It told us that the gate has been exhaustively tested in China and the UK, and has successfully satisfied the selected requirements of BS EN 1930:2011. This is the same standard that Which? tests to.
Notes to editors
Read our reviews on child safety-gates here:
The Don’t Buy page for child safety-gates can be found here:
How Which? tests stair gates:
Our testing combines safety and durability tests with an expert assessment of how easy the gate is to use. After analysing the data we get from the lab, we give each stair gate a total test score so you can easily compare the best and worst models. Find out more about how we test stair gates and why it’s important to choose one that is robust enough to cope with everyday use.
Which? Product Safety Campaign:
Which? has launched a campaign to ‘End Dangerous Products’ calling for fundamental reform of the UK’s antiquated product safety regime to keep unsafe products out of our homes. More than 100,000 people have so far signed our petition to take a stand against dangerous products: