Happy Fatherhood

Do I need a stair gate?

We've had a different stair strategy with each of the kids.

Finn, our first born, had a stair gate. Our stairs at the time were probably pretty dangerous for the wee man - the house had high ceilings, and one tall, straight run, topped by a corner of triangular stairs. The type we bought was the most common type - the ones that have a bar along the bottom, wedged between the newel post and the wall.

We had no catastrophic stair accidents, but the bar along the bottom, that wedges the structure in place, was a permanent trip hazard for the unwary.

In the next house, in the Middle East, the stairs were marble, and with crude, sharp, rather than chamfered, corners. Add in a few puddles traipsed in from the pool and they were often treacherous. The stairs were too wide for our existing stair gates. We could have bought some new ones locally, but they were flimsy, sharp in places, and didn't inspire confidence.

The strategy we employed was that Kiran was not allowed anywhere near the stairs, and there were doors well placed to facilitate this. She also responded well to being told she wasn't allowed on the stairs.

Learning to negotiate stairs had to happen when visiting friends in the UK, with wooden, carpeted stairs.

Our current home is on three stories, plus a mezzanine, so a full complement of of stair gates would have to number at least five. The stairs though are shallow, and are covered in an exceptionally springy underlay, and a deep pile carpet. In my opinion, this makes them perfect training stairs.

She isn't allowed a free run of the stairs as the gap between balusters is greater than head width. The other two are responsible enough to keep her out of mischief.

Today she fell down a run - horribly bouncing end over end, rather than sidewards. She was uninjured, but shaken, which I suppose is how we all learned not to sit on a step, facing up hill.

Posted on 2014-12-16 10:31:48

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Do I need a stair gate?
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