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Stair Safety

Stairs are a common source of injury among children. In fact, on average, every 6 minutes a child younger than 5 years is treated for a stair-related injury in a U.S. emergency department.

Stair Safety

Stairs are a common source of injury among children. In fact, on average, every 6 minutes a child younger than 5 years is treated for a stair-related injury in a U.S. emergency department. Taking a few simple steps can help prevent these injuries.

INJURY PREVENTION TIPS

  • Avoid carrying a child on the stairs when possible. Place him in a safe place, such as a crib, when you need to use the stairs.
  • When you need to carry a child on the stairs:
    • Avoid carrying other items. The child should be the only thing in your arms.
    • Keep one hand on the handrail to help prevent a fall in case you trip or slip.
    • Make sure the child is in your arms and not in a stroller or carriage while on the stairs.
  • Do not let your child use a baby walker.
  • When a child begins to use stairs on his own, teach him:
    • to always have a free hand to hold onto the handrail.
    • to ask an adult for help if he wants to take something up or down stairs.
    • to keep his toys off of the stairs.
    • and to not play or jump on stairs.

CREATING SAFE STAIRWAYS

  • Keep stairs free of clutter and in good repair.
  • Install a handrail if one is not available.
    • Handrails that are small enough for you to be able to put your whole hand around are best.
  • Use stair gates both at the top and at the bottom of stairs.
    • Built-in, wall-mounted gates are best.
    • Only use wall-mounted gates at the top of stairs. Pressure mounted gates can be knocked over allowing the child to fall down the stairs.
    • While important and effective, remember that stair gates are not a substitute for adult supervision.

Content provided by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s