Stairs are one of the most dangerous parts of a home for a young toddler or child. Whether you already have a child who's about to reach walking age, or you're expecting your first little one, you'll want to make sure your staircase is safe. Here are 3 ways to enhance the safety of your stairs.
Buy a Safety Gate
The most obvious way to make your stairs safer for your child is to buy a safety gate. Ideally, you should buy safety gates for the top and bottom of the stairs. If you do get a safety gate for the top of your staircase, make sure it opens away from you when you're ascending the stairs. If it opens towards you, you'll need to lean back to open it while carrying your child, which can be dangerous. Keep in mind that railed stair gates are usually safer than accordion style gates as children can get stuck in or injured on the latter. Preferably, you should also choose stair gates that can be permanently fixed to the wall, rather than pressure-mounted gates. Pressure-mounted gates can become easily dislodged, especially when your child gets stronger.
Check the Carpet
If your stairs are carpeted, you'll need to make sure that the carpeting is still strongly adhered to the steps themselves. Carpet can help children's feet grip the stairs without slipping but not if it's loose. Loose carpet is a trip hazard for the old and young alike. There's an even greater risk when the looseness is at the edge of a step, as young children don't have the best depth perception and often misjudge how far they need to stride. If your carpet is loose or torn, it will need to be re-attached or replaced before you let your children walk on it.
Upgrade Your Balustrade
Is your staircase balustrade child-safe? Many aesthetically pleasing balustrade choices aren't ideal for families with kids. Horizontal balusters, for example, can encourage children to try climbing the balustrade, which can lead to dangerous falls. Vertical balusters are more ideal. They should be tall enough to prevent a child being able to climb over them and fall, but not so tall that it's impossible for your child to reach the handrail. And remember, vertical balusters should be placed close together. If your child can fit their head through two balusters, they could get stuck or fall through. Talk with a contractor from a company like Balustrade Design to learn more about balustrade updates you can make.