November 28, 2006

Sweet DIY Stair Gate Currently In Testing Phase

blue_ant_diy_baby_gate.JPG

And by testing, I mean that it's installed and keeping the designers' kid from tumbling down or escaping up the stairs, depending.

Joel & Maria Piela, the dad & mom design team behind Blue Ant Studio, whipped up this gorgeous-looking wood slat safety gate for their house, and then posted it for their crit. It was apparently really simple and involved "more measuring and cutting than actually putting it together."

I've stayed away from discussing safety gates and the like on DT, mostly because we don't have any--our urban shoeboxes make it almost impossible to be out of sight of the kid--but also because they're almost universally, depressingly ugly. But then, choosing safety equipment for how it looks seems kind of ridiculous, too.

So it's a credit to the Pielas that they even tackled a tricky design challenge, that they're thinking through the obvious risks [the latch is out of reach, there's thin plexi on to stop any toeholding], and that they're seeking feedback from other parents. AND on top of that, the thing looks great.

If it scares you to death, move on, but if it inspires you to design and build your own safety gate or other kidgear, start by internalizing the relevant safety standards and regulations. And then realize that in the case of safety gates, there are none, only voluntary industry standards [ASTM F-1004, actually, though the EU's EN 1930 standard is far more rigorous; almost no US-market safety gates can be sold in the EU. Reassuring, right?]

blue_ant_nelson_bench.jpg

Looking at the Blue Ant Gate--and the beautiful joinery of the vintage George Nelson bench in the blog post above it--makes me wonder why we don't hear more about custom- or hand-built solutions already. Wouldn't you like to have a gate that matched your staircase? Or that matched your kitchen doors? And shouldn't a cabinetmaker or a carpenter of some kind be able/willing to create a sweet, site-specific safety solution? Unless someone sends in a George Nelson--or a George Nakashima, for that matter--safety gate, the Piela's has my vote.

Homebrew Baby Safety Gate [blueantstudio via babygadget, where justine sounds ready to place her order]

6 Comments

So, um, how's that bed going?

[uh, look! over there! a safety gate!! -ed.]

Love your safety gate. Looking to build my own pet safety gate but can't find hardware specific to safety gates. Latches with an upper and lower latch point that operates off of one handle. Anybody have any ideas?

Reid Tool supply has all that sort of thing. I used them to make an off-road tire carrier, but they have all kinds of things and take small orders.

Very nice gate but I'd rethink the latch. Shop bought gates have elaborate child locks on them, yours may be too easy for a child to open.

Custom stair gates like this look cool but I don't know how functional it is. I don't think the roller wheel would work too good on carpet and you need to be careful using wood with pets as they may chew through it. There is a great selection of stair gates at [my stair gate selling website] if you are in the market and this custom one doesn't work out. The latches are of good quality

April 2, 2009 10:35 PM

[ed. note: I removed your many links and URLs because this is the kind of Google-baiting PR disguised as advice that gets under my skin. There's no carpet, as you can see, and anyone with a pet big enough to chew through a gate will be aware of that when he designs, builds, or shops for a gate.]

Ive been building child safety gates for 13 years noew on long island and NYC. I agree that the above latch not only seems easy but it is also perfect height for a childs eye. (carefull, Your gonna lose an eye) my mom always said.

The wheel is a nice touch but can sometimes run a rutt in the floor. Arching is always a problem and can be solved with a 1/16 clear polycarbonate on the child side of the gate. Each gate I build has a differant latch type but I always install it on the opposite side. I am not trying to plug my site. I dont sell on line or outside of ny. But if you want to see some of my work that I am very proud of it can be found here. http://www.babyprooferlongisland.com/custom-work/

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