Keeping Children Safe near Steps

Keeping your children safe on the stairs should be a top priority for every parent. It doesn’t take much for a child to be seriously hurt by falling down a set of stairs, and it can happen in an instant. I have watched my own 9-month-old fall down a set of stairs, and I was unable to do anything but catch him at the bottom. I wouldn’t wish that vision on anyone. My heart jumped out of my chest, and I didn’t let go of him for what felt like hours. Thank the Lord, he was completely unharmed, but I can tell you that we made some definite changes after that incident!

When it comes to keeping your children safe on the stairs, a safety gate at the top is a definite must. After watching Zander fall, we also put up a gate at the bottom of the steps. We had already installed a gate at the top. The problem was, the gate was left open by my 6-year-old daughter. I had run downstairs to the kitchen to stir dinner on the stove. I went down the steps and closed the gate behind me. I had no idea that my six year old had followed behind me, leaving the gate open after she went through. In the minute that I was gone, my son crawled out of the play room, went right through the open gate and down the stairs…all 16 of them. The gate we had installed at the top of the steps was one that screwed into the wall and latched into place. It was a wonderful gate – when it was closed! After checking every inch of Zander for signs of injury, and a phone call to the pediatrician just to make sure, we had a very long discussion with our 6-year-old about the importance of keeping the gate closed at all times.

At the bottom of the steps, we decided to install an easy to remove gate. It didn’t screw into the wall or anything, it just bumped up against the walls on either side of the steps. We did this to keep Zander from trying to go up the steps and then falling down them. Kids always seem to master going up steps a whole lot faster than they do coming down them.

Kids want to be independent. That includes going up and down stairs by themselves. But, until they are ready to master the stairs, it’s our job as parents to keep them safe around steps. Don’t allow your child to ride on riding toys if there are stairs not blocked off nearby. Keep doors leading to basements closed at all times. Just know where your kids are in relation to the steps at all times. You’ll all be happier in the long run if you just play it safe when steps are nearby.