I like to describe our parenting style as “negligent.” I mean, hopefully we’re not actually neglecting our kids, but we can sometimes be a little cavalier about some things. Like stairs. Our previous house was a two-storey townhouse, with the living area on the entry level and bedrooms upstairs. The Little Monkey — so called for his love of climbing — figured out what stairs were for fairly early and went for it. Because he wasn’t yet very speedy, and we figured it was a good training ground for learning how to get down, we let him climb the bottom few steps freely.
Then we moved. Our new house has all the living spaces upstairs, with a slightly treacherous staircase down to the bedrooms — too easy for an enthusiastic toddler to slip down. The top of the staircase is right behind the front door too — there’s not really anywhere a traditional baby gate could go. So I went on the hunt for a retractable one.
The Dreambaby Retractable Gate seems to be the main (only?) option readily available in New Zealand, so the decision was made for me. It covers a distance as large as 140cm and is appropriate for indoor and outdoor use, so would work for many spaces. I have visions of myself providing supervision from a protected spot while the toddler wreaks havoc in the wilderness part of our garden. Unfortunately I think that one will stay in the daydream category; baby gates work best for keeping everyone together, not keeping your kids away from you (see, I’m not totally negligent).
DreamBaby Retractable Safety Gate
Value for money
This is a convenient safety gate solution, especially in tight corners. The gate seems fairly impenetrable when closed, and is pretty easy to operate - with one hand if necessary - for adults who know how it works.
The gate is pretty easy to install — it screws in, so you’ll need to get the drill out, but templates are provided and it’s pretty straightforward. It comes with two sets of brackets, so you can click the gate out of one and into the other, if you have two areas you want to use it for at different times. We haven’t used this feature (yet) so not something I’d pay more for but seems like it could be useful in certain scenarios.
It’s a little less intuitive to use, though that is probably a good thing when it comes to child safety devices — kids are fast learners! The retraction works similarly to a seatbelt, with the gate part on a spool that retracts and locks into place. To release the gate, either to open or close it, you have to both press and twist the little dial on the gate. If you don’t press it down the dial will turn but the gate will stay locked. You can press and turn the dial and then open or close the gate with the same hand, so it’s completely possible to open or close while holding a baby, or a washing basket, or a collection of transport-related toys (just as a hypothetical example).
When you pull it open, the gate hooks into the brackets on the other side. You do have to make sure that a) the gate is in both the top and bottom brackets and b) that the gate has retracted a bit so that it’s locked and there’s no slack in it. This is its biggest flaw — missing either of these steps could enable a small person to broach the danger zone. However, I think it’s pretty easy to check it’s properly engaged, so I don’t consider it a problem for us.
The gate itself is a plasticy mesh — it seems very resilient, so I think would be difficult to damage, much less for a child to break through. It’s not the most stylish thing in our home but most baby gates aren’t, and when not in use it’s pretty discreet. Apparently it comes in both black and white but I’ve only ever seen white for sale in New Zealand (admittedly I haven’t looked very hard).
The NZ RRP is $140, which isn’t outlandish but I thought I might be able to do better. I did a bit of Google-fu and found a pretty good deal, but shipping was going to take a while. Then I noticed that Mighty Ape had one in stock, and spied the Price Match button on their site… And what do you know, they matched it! Since they have super speedy shipping that suited me well. They don’t guarantee to match prices, but you can always ask.
Overall we think this is a pretty great gate. It does tend to confuse guests, but for us that’s not a big issue, and the space-saving of this over a swing gate is well worth that inconvenience. Hopefully it means that our inquisitive Little Monkey will be unable to operate it for a while yet!
Awesome or Average: Awesome
Support our site by buying from one of our affiliates:
Read more about how this works to support us here.