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Home Safety Series: Stairs and Hallways

Jun 14, 2022
Home Safety Series: Stairs and Hallways

There is nothing more enticing to a newly mobile child than stairs. My son will sit at the bottom of the stairs and look up like a runner or swimmer visualizing their race. We want kids to be able to use the stairs safely. Until they’re old enough to get up and down the stairs on their own, follow these safety precautions to make your stairs safer for your children: 

Use baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs as soon as your child starts to sit on their own.

  1. Use hardware-mounted (not pressure-mounted) gates at the top of the stairs. Mount gates less than 3 inches from the floor to prevent your child from crawling underneath.
  2. For gates that need to go around odd-shaped areas, uneven molding, or drywall with no support behind it, you can purchase safety gate extenders or installation kits to get a secure fit.
  3. Make sure your baby gate is up-to-date and meets all current safety standards. Check for recalls here: www.recalls.gov.
  4. Remove the gate once your child has learned to open it or tries to climb over it. If removing a gate is not possible because of other children in the home, use a gate that does not have gaps or notches that could be used for climbing.

Keep stairs and hallways well-lit and clear of any tripping hazards. The stairs are not a place for toys or clutter. Make sure carpets and runners are secure. Secure cords in high-traffic areas by tucking them away or using cord shorteners. Keep hallways and stairways well-lit and use nightlights to light up any dark spaces.

Teach kids to use handrails. Carefully watch toddlers on stairs. Hold their hands when walking up and down until they are ready to use the stairs on their own. Teach children to always hold onto handrails and not to play or jump on stairs. If they need help carrying things up or down the stairs, they should ask an adult for help.

Adapted from Make Safe Happen, where you can find more information and safety tips.

Learn more about stair safety.

Center for Injury Research & Policy
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Laura Dattner
Center for Injury Research and Policy

Laura Dattner is a research writer in the Center for Injury Research and Policy. With both a health communications and public health background, she works to translate pediatric injury research into meaningful, accurate messages which motivate the public to make positive behavior changes.

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