Invent the solution

June 12, 2012 at 7:46 am (Daily Awesomeness)

Louisette is a long way from actually walking (or crawling for that matter) but we installed our top-of-the-stairs safety gate all the same. Unfortunately, like all removable gates, it is a massive trip hazard – because it must be braced against both walls, and the only place to do so is along the bottom of the gate, where one must step over it constantly. As someone who regularly falls both up and down the stairs, and who is now often carrying a baby up and down stairs, this wasn’t great news.

And so it was that I came up with A Cunning Plan.

It’s simple enough in concept: we can secure the two sides of the gate to two bookshelves placed opposite one another. The space at the top of the stairs is narrower, but regular safety gates have that effect too.

Since it was my design, it relied heavily on gaffa tape (if it cain’t be fixed with gaffa tape it cain’t be fixed by me). This is my “proof of concept” gate from the front and back. The main section is made from the loose back of a dodgy bookshelf (two pieces gaffa taped together), the hinge is gaffa tape, and the latch is two rulers. One is fixed in place (really just to make the gate wider so it can’t be pushed in the wrong direction), and the other sits in a double-sided gaffa tape loop so it can slide back (out of the way) or forward (into a hole I cut in the back of the relevant bookshelf).

I still gotta make the real version….but, for now, I got time.



  1. W said,

    The burning question is, will it stand up to being hung off? You know that’s going to happen.

    • Louise Curtis said,

      W: Absolutely. I had a party last weekend (not the one you were at, another one) with several smallish kids, and I hastily installed the regular safety gate – which failed THAT test. It’s not hard to improve on (to be fair, I hadn’t secured it as tight as possible). PS no one was injured or anything.

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