The Summer Custom Fit Walk-Thru gate is the widest of all the gates I’ve looked at, capable of creating its own play area (in a couple different ways) and capable of literally transforming an existing space into a safe area for your child to play.
What is the Summer Infant Custom Fit Walk-Thru gate?
The Summer Custom Fit Walk-Thru gate is an interesting one. I’ve talked a lot about gates that block spaces. After all, childproofing is the name of the game and the first thought when we use that word is how to keep a child from doing something.
Sure, this gate has that purpose too. You wouldn’t need a baby gate if that you didn’t need to block a space. However, this gate also about creating space. Using a gate like this, you can create a safe and comfortable space for your young child to play and enjoy themselves without worry of them crawling off into areas they shouldn’t be.
This gate can be installed in one of two main ways, but in multiple scenarios. The first is a hardware-based installation where you can either block off a corner of a room into a play space. You can even room separate if you have a really wide open concept setup in your home. With the walk through door and the two accompanying panels, the gate straightens out to block an area of up to 141 inches. Yes, if you need to separate out a space that’s up 11 ¾ feet long, this is a good choice.
The second is with no hardware but a second version of this gate. If you have two of these gates, you can connect them together to create a hexagon-shaped free standing play space. The gate also comes with feet in case you install it on laminate or hardwood floor and not only need to keep the hardware in place, but to protect the flooring itself.
How does this gate come together?
The install directions and the materials of this gate remind me a lot of a playpen. A playpen is usually snap-together tubing with mesh walls to allow for breathability and visibility as well. While a younger child probably won’t be able to, say, see you on the other side of the kitchen until they’re about 8-10 months old, you’ll have good line of sight and be able to see that they’re safe and playing happily while you’re looking after something else (or even if you’re just resting your arms from just picking them up all day. We don’t judge!)
Installation is actually pretty simple. Like most Summer brand gates though, they recommend that you install the bases with a crazy number of screws and mount the gate to your wall. One nice thing is that you can still remove the gate to set it up in that free standing playard I described earlier. However, it does mean that you’re going to have to be sure you’re installing it into the right place. It doesn’t seem like much of an issue since most baby gates are for that singular purpose, but I really like the concept of a gate like this being a bit more of a floater to cordon off different areas. With its light weight and flat fold down, it seems like a purpose travel option. You’d need two of them to make this work, however (since you could then make it that playard.)
I’ll take a longer look at the installation and the nuances of it in the install video.
What is this gate good for?
This gate is one of the few that I’ve ever seen that is capable of cordoning off really large spaces. Most baby gates are created with just hallways or stairway openings in mind. As a result, it’s not often that you see gates that have abilities to block off huge spaces at once. A gate that can give you over 11 feet of width to block off is huge, especially if you have wide doorless walkways between rooms. If your kitchen and living room, for example, have this sort of space in between, you can just install there and mission accomplished!
The nice thing about the mounting base is that it’s not very wide. It’s narrow enough that you don’t have to have a really wide purchase in order to put the install the base so it gives you a lot of areas and options unlike other gates out there.
It’s not often that you also see a gate that’s capable all by itself of just creating spaces either. If you don’t have a lot of safe play spaces in the house, this gate is capable of just creating one if you have a clear corner and about 20 minutes to install it.
What isn’t a space transforming gate like this good for?
The main purpose of this gate I gather is that it keeps your young child separated from things that aren’t safe to them while giving you the peace of mind to turn your back for a moment. There are a few areas I wouldn’t use this gate.
I wouldn’t really use this gate on stairs. It definitely is out of the question to use at the top of the stairs. Since the gate comes together more like a playpen/playard and uses similar materials, it doesn’t quite have the greatest weight balancing, especially if you consider the size of the sides are fairly pre-determined. With the width of the sides, it’s kind of counter-productive if you can’t fit the gate to your specifications.
It’s out of the question for the bottom of the stairs too for almost the same reasons. Since you need to hardware mount for the best stability, there are a lot better solutions in my opinion (some of which we’ve discussed in previous blogs.)
The next place I wouldn’t really use this gate is to block off hallways. Once again, I think the options out there are a bit better and a bit more stable. A great example would be something like the Summer Extra Tall Walk Thru gate that I reviewed previously. You don’t need to mount anything permanently and you can move it around a bit more freely.
This gate is one that will have to be monitored as your child gets older as well. Most children begin get curious about climbing around 10-12 months old. In many cases, you’ll get a decent amount of shelf life out of this, but if you have a particularly tall or crafty child, the gate might only last you to 18 months tops. The reason being is that it’s a fairly low clearance (around 30 inches) and while there isn’t really much purchase a child can use to push or propel themselves over a year, I’ve watched enough 1 year olds get creative (lucky?) enough to start climbing over things you wouldn’t think they could.
There are some great things a gate like this can do for you. I really like the idea that you can basically create a great and safe play space for your kids and you don’t have to much to achieve it. I do like the fact that you can combine two of these to make a free standing play area if you’re in a situation like mine. Lastly, I like that the material is light, soft and breathable so that your child can not only see out, but there’s no way for them to suffocate and very little chance of getting hurt if they start tinkering enough to have it fall or if they knock it over.
Weigh out the pros and cons and decide if the Summer Custom Fit Walk-Thru gate is good for you or if you need something a bit smaller or made of different materials. If this is the one for you, the Summer Custom Fit Walk-Thru gate is available at BestBuy.ca now.
If not, feel free to check out the full list of baby gates online now.