Due to the layout of our staircase, traditional child safety gates do not wedge properly in between the opening. This led me to the Kiddy Guard Retractable Safety Gate
. [NOTE: This specific model is no longer available and has been replaced with this.]
After 2+ years of use, here are my thoughts on it.
What's In The Box
The basic kit includes the retractable screen, 2 hooks, and all necessary screws for wall to wall installation. There are also 2 optional kits: wall installation kit (which I did purchase, but never used) for use with baseboards and banner installation kit for banister to banister installation. The wall installation kit isn't really needed if you can attach it directly to the studs behind the wall or situate the gate just above your baseboard molding. If you're handy enough, skip the wall installation kit and save yourself the $10.
The gate's operation is very much like a retractable window screen that we've seen so much of in the 80s. To release the lock on the screen, the safety button must be depressed and pushed in. This is a lot harder than it sounds as most of our adult house guests are barricaded like little children between our upper and lower level floors.
Most times our guests (Mary and I included) just swing a leg over it and get by. This type of "abuse" has created a tiny tear along the latch system. Fortunately the weave of the screen is quite good and the tear has little/no effect on its structural integrity.
Real World Use & Abuse
It's gone through its fair share of abuse: Jagger shaking it violently as he wants to get through, people climbing over it, screen retracting back at full speed, etc. The screen has some creases from not rolling back properly flat, but for the most part it has held up quite well.
Here's A Tip
After the screen's latch is attached to the hooks, I find that a little tug on the screen takes out the slack and confirms that it is properly latched in.