How to Childproof Stairs Effectively for Maximum Safety
Learning how to childproof stairs is vital for ensuring the safety of young ones on your staircases. Whether you have closed or open stairs or are looking for how to childproof stair railings, this full guide will help you make a safe environment for your infants.
As established experts in staircases and stair accessories, we are well-placed to advise on staircase safety. Avoid easily preventable accidents by following these essential guidelines for childproofing and babyproofing your stairs.
Which Kinds of Stairs Need Childproofing?
1. Baby Gate
A baby gate is a reliable way to stop your little wanderers from taking a dangerous tumble. Make sure you have stair gates at the top of the stairs and at the bottom of the stairs so there is no access. The gate should be fitted to your stairs so it completely blocks access. Make sure, too, to properly anchor the gate so it’s completely secure – this will probably involve drilling.
When your child is able to start climbing the baby gate, this means you should probably remove them and ensure you follow the below steps.
2. Carpet the Stairs
Consider carpeting your stairs if they’re not already. Carpet provides a much softer surface than wood if users happen to trip or slip. Carpet can also provide more grip underfoot, helping to prevent stair-related injuries that are caused by tripping.
3. Add a Stair Runner
If you don’t want to undertake the arduous task of carpeting your stairs, simply install a stair carpet runner instead. This is a straightforward process that gives you the aesthetics and practical benefits of carpet without disruptive installation. Make sure the runner is properly secured to the stairs with underlay, carpet press studs and stair rods.
4. Invest in Anti-Slip Paint
If you have a hardwood staircase, the treads can be extra slippery. If you do not want to carpet your stairs or add a runner, the next best thing is to add grip to the wood. You can do this with anti-slip paint, which you should be able to buy from most hardware stores. Apply to the treads, one of the parts of a staircase which is most used.
5. Clear Clutter
Leaving toys and other bits and bobs on your staircase can be a recipe for disaster. Always ensure that your stairs are clear of all trip hazards.
6. Ensure Proper Lighting
Poorly lit staircases mean the risk of losing footing or taking a wrong step is heightened. Your stairwell should have adequate lighting without too much glare and without creating confusing shadows. Ensure a light switch is included at the top and bottom of your stairs so they never need to be used in the dark.
How to Childproof Stair Railings
Stair spindles and railings can be a risk for small children, with head bumps likely! Large gaps between spindles can also be a problem, with infants putting their arms and sometimes even full bodies through.
In fact, UK regulations state that no part of a balustrade (where railings and spindles are) must have gaps of over 100mm. This is informally known as the “baby’s head rule,” because a sphere of 100mm diameter must not be able to get through any kind of gap on your stairs.
To properly childproof your stair railings, invest in a bannister guard. Usually, these consist of clear plastic screens that ensure gaps between stairs are closed off. Fabric or net alternatives are not a great idea as these tend to tear or fray. Tie straps on the clear plastic guards will enable you to secure the guard to your railing.
How to Childproof Open Stairs
The baby’s head rule also includes the gaps between treads. If you have an open staircase, it’s almost certain to have been built to building regulations and so shouldn’t have gaps wider than 100mm. If you are worried, however, there are extra safety steps you can take:
- Increase the overhang of the tread: This will have the effect of making gaps between steps harder to get through
- Install a removable gate: As with standard staircases, adding a baby gate at the top and bottom so that access is disabled is one of the most effective methods for childproofing stairs
- Install a riser bar: This is a bar that should be able to slot into your open staircase design where the riser gap is, further preventing access to to the gaps for little ones
Renew Your Staircase With Our Accessories
When it comes to staircase safety, it can be as simple as updating the design. At Stair Rods Direct, we have a premium range of staircase accessories that can help enhance both the look and safety of your staircases.
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