Babies are naturally curious and ever-ready to explore the world. Just bring them out of the crib and you will find them crawling about to anything that catches their attention.
While this can be cute and adorable, it can be hazardous too.
Even if you will never leave your baby unattended to at home, there can still be instances where you have eyes glued on the TV for a minute too long or distracted by the oven by a extra minute. Leaving the baby to roam the nursery or the entire house unsupervised.
And one of the places at home that can be dangerous for babies is the stairway.
Adults can often grab on to the railings in the event of a loss of balance. But a baby don’t know any better. Should an accident happen, they can get a ways with a scratch and bruise if lucky.
In worse cases… well let’s not talk about that.
When you are carrying a baby up or down the stairs, you can also get distracted and lose your balance. And with your arms holding the baby, you’d have little time to react.
As a parent, it is only a given that you’d want to minimize the risks of accidents happening to the baby on the stairs. And here are some steps you can take to make that possibility of an accident as small as possible.
1) Light up the stairway
One of the most basic and simplest ways to increase the safety of the stairs is to install lighting.
This is a home improvement that benefits every family member.
Climbing up and down stairways in darkness can be simple enough for most people as they have grown accustomed to the flow of it after using it for years.
But accidents do happen. And it can be a little more complicated when you have a baby in your arms.
Being able to see each step more clearly can make all the difference in safety. And in terms of stairs, a small mistake can sometimes mean a big consequence.
Get light switches installed at both the top and bottom of the stairs too.
2) Backup lighting
As safety is a serious matter, consider installing backup lights too in case of power failure.
Get those battery powered night lights. These are like regular night lights except that they only turn on as emergency lights in the event of power failure.
They are convenient and inexpensive. Set them up at the top and bottom too for good measure. And if you want, get them for different areas of the house too.
I know of people paranoid enough to have backups for backup lighting.
3) Night light safety
If you are getting those night lights as mentioned, then please take into account the safety of these devices as well.
They can be pretty and attract a baby like moth to a flame.
So do set them up in sockets that are out of reach of a baby.
Manufacturers are aware of the demand of baby-safe night lights. Therefore, many have introduced night lights with child-safety features into the market.
These light basically encloses the bulb completely and have safety tabs that impedes a child’s act of removing them from electrical outlets.
4) Remove clutter
Ever found yourself losing balance while trying to negotiate a route around or through clutter at home?
While we might find it humorous after incidents like these, it is definitely not something to laugh at should it happen on a stairway.
Even the smallest items on the floor can cause trips of devastating impact.
The bigger they are the harder they fall.
A baby probably is not going to trip unless he or she is already walking. But what if you are the one who trips while carrying your child.
It might be excusable to have clutter in the bedroom or garage. But never within the space in and around the stairs.
It’s just too hazardous.
5) Stairway surface finishing
Some homeowners like to make their homes look as grand and posh as possible. And the stairs is no exception when class is concerned.
So they sometimes listen to contractors about smooth, glossy, and beautiful finishes that can be applied to the stairway, including the railings, risers and balusters.
If you have babies around the house or expecting to have, using glossy finishes is very bad practice.
You are not giving the dangers of the stairway enough respect.
Even puppies and adult dogs with 4 legs can fall down the stairs. What makes you think you won’t.
6) Safety gates
As soon as your baby becomes mobile, whether on fours or twos, safety gates should be erected on the top and bottom of staircases.
If you are installing the fixture yourself, take note that pressure gates should never be installed at the top of a staircase. This is because a baby’s weight can cause it to give way when leaned on.
When buying hardware mounted gates, those secured with screws and bolts, they can be installed on both the top and bottom. Do ensure that there are no exposed screws or nails so as to prevent scratches.
And keep this in mind – The top gate should only swing in one direction away from the stairs. Never into the stairs.
To ensure that your baby do not climb over or squeeze through the gates, get one that is high enough and with vertical slats that are no wider than 2 3/8 inches apart.
For decorative and practical reasons, we like to leave rug on the top and bottom of stairs.
But this not practical when there is a little kid in the house who is getting to grips with how the world and physics work.
Rugs can cause people to slip. So keep them away until your child is old enough to walk and navigate around the house safely one his or her own.
9) Space between slats
Once a child is able to move about on his or her own, make a judgment of whether the safety gates can be removed.
The concern now is focused on accidents that can happen when he or she is using the stairs himself or herself.
One common freak accident is getting caught in between the balusters of a staircase. So you need to make sure that the space between them is no more than 3 1/2 inches apart.
Spend some time coaching your child how to move up and down the stairs. After teaching, let the child practice it under your supervision.
The simplest tips can make all the difference.
And I wouldn’t fault you if you give the kids a tongue-lashing when catching them playing on the stairs.