When we were searching for an easy to use safety gate for our child, one of types we looked at was the retractable baby gate. Before we started out search we had the preconceived notion that this style of gate was no longer in use anymore. Boy, were we wrong. The retractable baby gates are actually quite popular for many reasons. That said, here's a look at some of the pros and cons to help you decide if it is the right choice for you.
Can Be Used Anywhere
One of the bigger advantages to this style of gate is that it can be used virtually anywhere in your home. You can set it up in a doorway, hallway, stairway and other places. You're not limited to one specific area like you can be with other pressure mounted baby gates.
May Be Used At Top Of Stairs
A gate like the Retract-A-Gate can be used at the top of your stairway to provide solid protection for your baby or toddler. This model is a mesh style gate that has hardware supports to make it very strong and durable. In fact, this gate is made to withstand up to 200 pounds of force, which is enormous. They also have an optional banister adapter kit for mounting the gate around your banisters or spindles.
The biggest complaint many people have in regards to children's safety gates is that they get in the way when you don't need them. You are constantly having to look at the gate or you're having to open it up when it's not in use, etc. With a retractable baby gate you don't have this issue. It coils up and fits nicely against the wall. Most people will not even notice you have a gate.
Can Fit Larger And Non-Standard Openings
A gate like the Retract-A-Gate is designed to fit openings up to 6 feet wide. Most standard gates will require you to purchase optional extension kits to get the gate out that wide, and even then it can lose some of its support strength. And because it is retractable, you can set it to fit all types of irregular openings without a problem.
A big issue for some of gates that retract is one of safety. By that I mean getting fingers injured during retraction. This is mainly an issue with some of the older models that were not built to today's specs.
In fairness, the Retract-A-Gate is designed to make it impossible for your child to get their fingers caught up in the gate. But it is something to be aware of if you are thinking of purchasing a used retractable gate in a garage sale or having one handed down to you. One other important point in regards to safety is that if your child were to fall into this type of gate they would not be injured like they could if it were a steel gate.
Since a retractable gate features a mesh panel, it can often get dirty from a spill or perhaps from the family pet. Cleaning some of these gates can be tricky. Generally speaking, soap and water may do the job, but serious stains may not come out.
Finally, durability can sometimes be an issue with cheap retractable baby gates. They can use inferior quality of material for the mesh panel or low cost plastic parts to connect the gate to the wall, etc. Be sure to look for a gate that is built with high quality standards.
These are a few of the main pros and cons of a retractable baby gate. All told, they make for an excellent option and today's styles are some of the best on the market. Be sure to browse through some of our reviews on the site to find out more specifics on individual models.