Frequently Asked Questions



FAQ - General

The Retract-A-Gate baby gate is "JPMA Certified"; what does that mean?

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JPMA) is a national trade organization chartered in 1962 that is dedicated to educating consumers on the safe use and selection of juvenile products.

JPMA developed an extensive Certification Program to help guide consumers toward purchasing juvenile products that are built with safety in mind.

To become JPMA Certified, Retract-A-Gate was professionally tested by an independent testing facility for compliance with the specific American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) standards.

Once a product passes the tests, JPMA allows the manufacturer to label it with the JPMA Certified Seal.

Our baby gates are re-tested every year to maintain their certification. Additionally, Retract-A-Gate also exceeds the Canadian Safety Standards for baby gates.

 

How do I clean the Retract-A-Gate safety gate?

Retract-A-Gate Safety Gates can be cleaned with mild soap and water as needed. For stubborn stains, rubbing alcohol can be used.

What is the mesh fabric of the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate made of & how durable is it?

Retract-A-Gate See Through Mesh is tough, UV & scratch resistant

The mesh fabric used for Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate is a tough, non-toxic, reinforced polymer composite. The material does not contain Lead, Phthalate, Latex or BPA chemicals and is formaldehyde free.

The mesh is very durable, yet still allows you to clearly see through it. It is also Ultraviolet (UV) and mildew resistant. 


FAQ - Installation

What measurements do I need to know before I install my Retract-A-Gate?

Depending on the Retract-A-Gate model you intend to or have already purchased (either 52" or 72"), your gate will fit openings UP TO a maximum of 132 cm or 172 cm. These maximums are the total distance (gate and brackets) that the baby gate can cover.

The height of the mesh on the retractable baby gate is about 87.5 cm and the total height to the top of the lock is just under 96 cm. You would need to ensure there are enough clearance space where the gate is going to be installed so that you can not only install the gate but also have easy access to the childlock mechanism. The gate also needs to sit on a flat surface for proper operation. 

Next, you need to decide on where to install the wall brackets. These are Universal Brackets which means that all the brackets are identical. The brackets on each side are mounted at about 8cm and 78.5 cm off the floor and require about 6.5 cm wide flat surface to attach to (see the size of brackets in images above). Unlike most gates, there is some leeway to the height for where the brackets are mounted, especially on the reel side that holds the safety gate. This makes the installation easier. 

When completely retracted, Retract-A-Gate only protrudes less than 9 cm from the wall. This makes it fairly flexible where you choose to install your wall brackets without the need to worry about the gate blocking the way. For example, for a typical doorway, you can choose to install directly within the doorway, or, in the event, you don't have the 6.5 cm necessary to mount your Universal Brackets in the doorway, the brackets can also mount around the corner of the doorway, either on the door molding or on the wall as long as you do not exceed the maximum distance it can cover.

If there are baseboards/skirtings where you will be installing your Retract-A-Gate, you need to measure the height and thickness of your baseboard/skirtings to determine if you will need wall spacers and how many you would need. For more information on when Spacers would be necessary and useful, check out "FAQ: Do I need spacers?".

Do I need Spacers?

Spacers are useful accessories to help you in your installation of the Retract-A-Gate safety gate. They can be purchased in packs of 10 pieces. Spacers are design to fit exactly the Universal Wall Brackets using the same translucent material. Each spacer is 3mm thick and are stackable to create the thickness you need. 

Typically these are scenarios that spacers would be necessary:-

  1. Wall skirtings/baseboard that result in the opening of the Universal Brackets being partially blocked. Hooking the gate into the brackets becomes difficult or not possible at all when this happens. In this case, the spacers are used to displace the brackets away from the wall to ensure that the opening is not blocked.
  2. The opposite sides of the wall brackets are not parallel. This can happen if walls are not flat or in some cases, some brackets need to be installed on protruding surfaces such as skirtings. Spacers can be use to help level the brackets to be parallel.
  3. Not enough clearance at the top of the child lock knob for smooth operation. This can happen especially when gate needs the installed on kitchen cabinet where the protruding tabletop can get in the way. It can also happen when installing the gate on certain stairway where the hand railing can also block the childlock knob. To create the clearance, spacers can be use to shift the wall brackets outwards away from the wall until the blockages are removed.

Can the Retract-A-Gate Safety gate be installed diagonally?

Absolutely! A nice advantage of Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate is that it can be installed on a diagonal & work at pretty much ANY ANGLE, opening up numerous mounting options. This is just one of the many great retractable baby gate features which few if any other baby safety gates on the market have.

You can also diagonally attach Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate to a wall farther away from the top of the stairs in order to help keep it back the recommended 6 inches.

For the best security with an angled installation, the openings of the brackets should face away from the Retract-A-Gate.

What tools do I need to install a Retract-A-Gate?

Retract-A-Gate retractable gates are designed to be easy to install, however, proper installation of the gate is still very important to ensure that the gates are secured and safe.

To make your installation easy, these tools would be essential:-

Measuring Tape

The measuring tape is primarily used in to determine if a gate is suitable for you. 

You would need a measuring tape to confirm the distance of the area you intend to cover using the Retract-A-Gate. The distance should definitely be less than the maximum length of your gate you plan to get. Either 132cm (52" gate) or 182cm (72" gate).

It is also crucial to determine if there are suitable places to secure the Universal Brackets to.  

Phillips Screw Driver

The Smart Retract Retract-A-Gate is secured using 4 screw mounted Universal brackets. 

For installation, you would need a phillips or "cross head" screw driver for use with #6 size screws. 

Optional:

An electric screw driver while not necessary can make installation even faster & easier. 

Pencil

Get a pencil handy when you start to install your gate. You will need it to help mark locations for the Universal Brackets and drilling locations. 

Spirit Level

To ensure the gate is nice and taut, the 2 sets of Universal brackets on opposite sides of the Retract-A-Gate need to be parallel to each other. The spirit level is used to help achieve that. 

Power Drill

As a hardware mount gate, the Universal Brackets needed to be secured using screws. Depending on where and what type of surfaces you are installing the Universal Brackets, you might require different set of tools. You cannot do without a power impact drill if you need to drill into concrete, bricks or dry walls.

Screw anchors for use with holes drilled into concrete, bricks or dry walls have been provided as part of all Retract-A-Gates (Southeast Asia version).

 

What other surfaces can I install the gate to?

There are many alternative surfaces that the Retract-A-Gate can be mounted to. Some of the more common ones are listed below along with what you need to consider for that surface.

Bookcase or cabinet

You can mount the brackets to a bookcase only if the bookcase is stable (wall-mounted). You may need to put a backer board on the inside wall of the bookcase (or cabinet) if the wall is thin so that the screws have a minimum of 1 inch of solid wood to bite into.

If you wish to mount the Retract-A-Gate baby gate to a cabinet where there is a small counter top overhang, the wall spacers can be used under both the top and bottom brackets. The spacers should move the safety gate out away from the counter's edge to provide enough clearance to mount the baby safety gate.

Brick, stone, concrete, or mortar

You will need appropriate masonry anchors which you can purchase at any hardware store. Simply take the screws that come with Retract-A-Gate to the store and have them size an appropriate masonry anchor for you. The screws we provide are 2 inches long. If you need to use shorter screws be sure to use #6 flat head screws and use the included finishing washers. Another option would be to fasten a board to the brick/stone/concrete/mortar using similar anchors and then attach the brackets to the board.

Fiberglass

We always recommend mounting the brackets to the support/stud behind the fiberglass as that will provide the best holding power. If there is no support then you need to use appropriate anchors or a backer board that will work with your fiberglass.

Vinyl siding on a house

You can attach the retractable baby gate wall brackets to the house siding as long as there is solid wood sheeting/boards underneath the siding (this is normally the case).

Can the Retract-A-Gate safety gates be used outdoors?

Absolutely! The Retract-A-Gate Safety Child & Pet gate has been extensively tested in wet rainy seasons and hot dry summers.

The Retract-A-Gate safety gate has also been tested outside during a full northern USA winter with flawless results. With that said, it is recommended that you bring the Retract-A-Gate inside during freezing temperatures (simply unsnap the safety gate from the brackets). Anything, including Retract-A-Gate, which is left outside will have a reduced life compared to only indoor use; but you can feel confident that the retractable safety gate will stand up well to outdoor use.

One thing to be aware of is that some fading or degradation due to extended sun exposure is possible. Because of this, we recommend bringing the Retract-A-Gate indoors when not in use.

Installing on a Trex or composite deck?

If installing outside to a Trex or composite deck, the posts will normally have a 4x4 wooden post inside them. In this application we would recommend pre-drilling your holes and using stainless steel screws the same size as the ones we provide (#6 flat head). Stainless steel will hold up much better when in contact with the treated wood posts that are normally on the inside of the Trex.

You can also attach the wall brackets to your house siding if there is solid wood underneath.


FAQ - Baby Gate

Why is the baby gate specified for ages 6 months through 24 months?

6-24 months is an age range which most baby gates are certified for by independent testing organizations.

The common belief by testing organizations is that beyond 2 years children start to become strong enough and smart enough to open most baby gates.

A small child wouldn’t figure out the lock on the Retract-A-Gate baby gate unless they were shown how, since you have to push down and turn at the same time (kind of like child-proof caps).

Retract-A-Gate is designed to be very easy for adults to operate, but would be difficult for small children to open the baby gate.

Will my child be able to climb over the Retract-A-Gate baby gate?

With a mesh height of 34 inches, Retract-A-Gate is one of the tallest retractable safety gates available.

When locked, the mesh is held taut, so it is difficult to push down.

The Retract-A-Gate baby gate doesn’t have any large openings or places where little ones can step up onto, so climbing over the baby safety gate would be difficult.

Will my child be able to squeeze under the gate?

When installed properly, there will be some give to the mesh due to the fact that it needs to be flexible in order to retract. However, if installed incorrectly there may be too much flexibility.

Retract-A-Gate bottom gap is only 1cm
When the Retract-A-Gate is installed properly, the bottom gap is only 1cm

Follow these guidelines to minimize any issues:

  1. Make sure to always lock the retractable safety gate by pushing and turning the lock. This will keep the mesh taut and help prevent your child from pushing the mesh out.
  2. Be sure the base of the baby gate is sitting on the floor and is not mounted up off the floor at all. When in use there should be no more than about 1/4" gap between the bottom of the mesh and the floor.
  3. If you have the retractable safety gate mounted near a step, make sure the mesh is at least six inches back from the edge of the step. Being close to an edge can create a gap that babies may be able to push through.
  4. When the mesh is extended and locked, both the top and bottom should be tight with no slack. If there is slack in the bottom, it probably means the bottom brackets are spaced too close to each other (compared to the upper brackets). Adjust the brackets so the distance between them across the opening is identical.
  5. To apply a slight amount of additional tension before locking the mesh in place, tighten the roll of fabric (no more than 1/8 of a turn), and then lock the gate.

FAQ - Pet Gate

Will my dog be able to squeeze under the gate?

Retract-A-Gate has been used with just about every breed of dog and has performed very well.

There are some breeds of dogs which like to burrow and dig. For these dogs a metal dog gate may be your best option. When installed properly, there will be some amount of give to the mesh material due to the fact that it needs to be flexible in order to retract. However, if installed incorrectly there may be too much flexibility.

Retract-A-Gate bottom gap is only 1cm
When the Retract-A-Gate Safety Gate is installed properly, the bottom gap is only about 1cm high

By following these guidelines, you can minimize any issues:

  • Make sure to always lock the retractable safety gate by pushing and turning the lock. This will keep the mesh taut and help prevent your pet from pushing the mesh out.
  • Be sure the base of the dog gate is sitting on the floor and is not mounted up off the floor at all. When in use there should be no more than about 1cm gap between the bottom of the mesh and the floor.
  • If you have the retractable safety gate mounted near a step, make sure the mesh is at least 12 cm back from the edge of the step. Being close to an edge can create a gap that dogs may be able to push through.
  • When the mesh is extended and locked, both the top and bottom should be tight with no slack. If there is slack in the bottom, it probably means the bottom brackets are spaced too close to each other (compared to the upper brackets). Adjust the brackets so the distance between them across the opening is identical.
  • To apply a slight amount of additional tension before locking the mesh in place, tighten the roll of fabric (no more than 1/8 of a turn), and then lock the gate.

Will my dog be able to jump over the Retract-A-Gate safety gate?

With a mesh height of 34 inches, Retract-A-Gate is one of the tallest retractable dog gates available. When locked, the mesh is held taut, so it is difficult to push down. Retract-A-Gate’s tightly woven mesh fabric would be difficult for a dog to climb over. If your dog loves to jump and can jump over a three foot fence or safety gate, you will need a taller dog gate.

Will my cat be able to jump or climb over the Retract-A-Gate?

With a mesh height of 34 inches, Retract-A-Gate is one of the tallest available. When locked, the mesh is held taut, so it is difficult to push down.

Retract-A-Gate’s tightly woven mesh fabric would be difficult for a cat to climb over.

Most cats are inclined not to jump up and over things; they want a flat surface to land on first before they jump back down. Since the retractable pet gate doesn’t offer a “ledge” for them to jump up to, most cats will not jump over the pet gate.

If your cat loves to jump and can jump over a three foot fence or safety gate, you will need a taller cat gate.