How to child proof a staircase

Written by jennifer wagaman
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How to child proof a staircase
Childproof stairs in the home with baby gates. (stairs image by Troy Hostetler from

Keep the staircase safe when a toddler is in the house. To childproof a staircase, parents must think like a toddler. Toddlers are curious and often attempt things beyond their developmental ability, such as going up or down a set of stairs. According to One Step Ahead, 2.5 million children are injured or even killed by accidents in their homes each year. Staircase safety devices include gates, special railings and banister shields.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2 Baby gates
  • Banister guard
  • Small railing
  • Brackets
  • Screws
  • Screw driver

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  1. 1

    Secure baby gates at the top and bottom of the stair case. This prevents babies from accidentally falling down the stairs or venturing up or down the stairs when your back is turned.

  2. 2

    Measure the distance between the banister posts on the stairs. According to Safe Start Baby, the rails should be no more than 3.5 inches apart. If necessary, install a banister shield to prevent babies from sticking their heads though the posts.

  3. 3

    Install a small handrail, about 36 inches high, for children to use when they begin to climb the stairs. Use brackets to secure the railing onto the wall. Purchase the rail and brackets at a local building supply store.

Tips and warnings

  • Secure your child-height railing into the wall's studs.
  • Do not use a pressure-mounted baby gate at the top of the stairs. A strong toddler could push this style of gate over and fall down the stairs.

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