Safety in the home is always important but if you have children, the importance of safety increases significantly. There are many areas of the home that present risks to children, especially those under a certain age. Stairs are a necessity in the vast majority of homes but must be treated with respect.
So how do you maximise safety for those who see everything as a playground? Here are some tips on making your stairs child-proof and ensuring you don’t have to worry about serious accidents.
Safety gates: If you have very young children, safety gates are a sensible option. They can be fitted to the top or bottom of a staircase to prevent access to the steps. This is a particuarly good idea if you have a child under the age of three as it eliminates the risk of them falling on the staircase but it can also be a good idea if you have slightly older children who are active and like to spend their time running about. Even if they are able to use the stairs on their own and open the gate by themselves, it will at least slow them down, acting as a speed bump in your home. All safety gates come with a catch that allows the gate to open and then lock in place again.
Handrails and spindles: If you do allow your children to have access to the stairs, it’s absolutely essential that all the components are in working order – particularly the handrails and spindles. It’s possible that if a child isn’t tall enough to reach the handrail, they may grab the spindles to give themselves extra support. For this reason, you should make sure they are fixed firmly in place with no looseness at all.
Avoiding slips: Even if everything is safe from a structural perspective, accidents are still possible. But there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of slipping, tripping or falling. First, try and make sure the stairs are clear at all times. Kids have a tendency to leave stuff lying around, meaning stairs can become littered with things like teddy bears and toy cars. Such obstacles can present a danger at any time but if you have more than one child, carrying a baby up and down stairs could have serious consequences if things have been left on the stairs. Other things you can do include ensuring the kids don’t run on the stairs – especially if it isn’t covered by a carpet. You could even buy slippers for them to wear especially for the stairs.
You can’t watch your children 24/7 to make sure they’re safe, but by following these tips you can significantly reduce the risk of an accident when they’re out of sight.
Written by David Chapman of UK Stair Parts