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?]
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]