Making Stairways Safer for Your Child

Being a new parent is an exciting time of life as you watch your little one grow and explore. You will want to keep them safe while still nurturing their curious nature. Stairs are one area of the home that need special attention. Start thinking about giving them a safety overhaul before your little one is able to sit up on their own: between three to six months.

Quick Tip

Installing door locks that are placed towards the top of the doors will keep them out of reach of a curious child.


Make sure to install gates specifically designed for the top and bottom of stairs, and more for any room you’d like to close off from your wandering toddler. Don’t put pressure-mounted gates at the top of stairs, as they aren’t strong enough to prevent falls. Install hardware-mounted gates that are anchored to a secure wall. You’ll want to place them no more than 2″ off the floor. Remember to always keep gates closed and secured when they are not in use.

Stay away from the old accordion-style gates. They are no longer recommended because they pose a strangulation hazard. Ensure the gates you choose are up-to-date and meet all current standards.

When your child learns to open or crawl over a gate, you will want to remove it. Unless you have other kids in the house still needing the protection. If that’s the case, use a gate without any gaps or notches that your creative kiddo could use for climbing. It’s also very important to teach your older child that the gate still needs to be closed for their little sibling.


There are a few simple things you can do to help make stairs as safe as possible for your active tyke when they do use the stairs. Banisters should be in place and the entire stairway should be free of clutter and in good condition. If you are carrying your child upstairs, don’t carry anything else. Make sure to hold onto the banister and walk carefully, one step at a time.

Work with your children to help them learn how to navigate stairs correctly. That begins with holding hands until they are ready to try it on their own. Once they start going solo, make sure they hold onto handrails. This is something you teach them best by example, doing it yourself every time up and down. Teach them that jumping and horseplay are not meant for the stairs.

All it takes to keep toddlers safe as they begin exploring their world is a little common sense safety thinking and the right tools. It’s fun to watch your child’s eyes light up with each new discovery, and you’ll enjoy it even more when you feel confident that you’ve made the home a safer place for them to explore.