(ThankYourBaby.com) – Keeping your child safe should be your priority as a parent. As you keep all the harmful items away from the reach of your baby, ensure that the home environment is also clean and safe for your toddler to crawl and walk around, you are carrying out your duty as a parent to the full.
It is also very important to think about ensuring that your baby doesn’t experience fall-related injuries and take serious safety precautions as well. Homes with staircases increase the risk of fall-related injuries for your toddler in your home. It gets even riskier for your baby when your stairs lack walls.
The lack of walls on your stairs could be enhancing your home’s interior design but it increases the risk of your child falling, a hundredfold especially when they reach that age where they can easily climb the banisters.
Unfortunately, children are usually drawn to dangerous places or objects within the home, which is why it is up to you the parent to ensure that they never get close to these dangerous areas.
The stairs are a favorite for many toddlers, and most times these little explorers might actually see them as a mountain to conquer and would love to climb to the very top and then come back down again.
Fortunately, you can reduce this risk by taking precautions. You don’t have to demolish your stairs and build safer ones for your toddler, (though that could be an option) because not all homeowners can afford the expenses that come with doing so. However, there are useful ways on how to baby proof your stairs with no wall.
- How To Baby Proof Stairs With No Wall
- Reviews of Top 5 Best Baby Gates in 2018
- Questions To Ask Before Buying A Baby Gate
- Types of Baby Gates
- Useful Shopping Tips
- Installation Tips
- When Do You Buy A Baby Gate?
How To Baby Proof Stairs With No Wall
Outlined below are the things you can do to baby proof the stairs
- Restrict Baby’s Access To Stairs
This is the best way to baby proof just about everything in your home, be it object or room. For your stairs, you can prevent your child from getting to them and climbing them by using a baby gate.
Baby gates have been one of the best baby proofing solutions for many homes and many parents have breathed easier, just knowing that a baby gate is installed around the stairs area. When installed the right way, the baby gate will prevent your curious little explorer from going to the stairs even when your attention is elsewhere.
- Baby Proof Your Stair Railings
For stairs without walls, you can simply baby proof the banisters or one banister if one side lacks a wall. Remember your child’s hand can go through the gap between the rails when they try to steady themselves. That can cause them to fall and hurt themselves.
The gaps in the railings can also be very tempting for your child to put their toys through and drop them below. The toys can not only get damaged but they can also injure any other adult or child who is standing below especially if they are heavy.
The best way to baby proof your railing is to simply install a banister guard. This is a very useful sheet of netting or plastic that runs along your banister’s length and efficiently covers the gaps.
A plastic banister guard is usually the best in this case, because the net variety could tear when your child becomes determined enough to seriously fiddle with it. Most of the plastic banisters guards will come with zip ties to secure them in place.
Some parents have opted to go the DIY way and bought their own plastic and their own zip ties separately to save on cash. If you are going to go this route, it is advisable that you ensure that the plastic effectively supports your child when they lean on it.
- Keep Your Stairs Clutter-free
Stair steps should be clutter free, to make them safe not only for the baby but also for anyone using them. Toys, books, laundry piles or any other objects should never be placed on the stairs. Imagine your child stepping on a ball mid-step and then being sent sprawling down the staircase and sustaining serious injuries.
Another case could be you carrying your child when coming down and tripping over something that sends both of you falling down below and sustaining injuries. Your stairs should be one place where nothing should trip you or your child when going up or coming down.
- Carpet Your Stairs
Carpeting can go a long way in cushioning falls and avoiding serious injury or even preventing those falls in the first place. Tiled or wooden stairs can be slippery for your child and when they get older and begin running up and down the stairs, that could be dangerous for them.
Carpeting the stairs is one way to baby proof them and protecting your baby from slipping and sustaining injury when they happen to tumble down.
- Baby Proof Even The Smallest Flight Of Stairs
You might not have the stairway-to-heaven kind of stairway, but even if you have just a few steps within your home, baby-proofing is a must. Carpet them, put banister guards and even a baby gate when necessary to ward off your restless bundle of joy.
Reviews of Top 5 Best Baby Gates in 2018
The top of the stairs is usually the most dangerous location and that is where your little one will purpose to reach either from the bottom or from his room on the top floor when he wakes up and wants to come down. The top 5 best baby gates of 2018 from different brands are as follows:
This baby gate is well designed for installing at the top of the stairs and it’s available in a black or white color to cater for different tastes. It is hardware mount which means you will be drilling or screwing it in place at the railings.
The quality is great and the price is very affordable not to be mention that you can buy a similar one for the bottom of the stairs.
This is the baby gate with a unique locking mechanism that no matter how curious and resourceful your little one is, they cannot figure it out until they are way grown up.
It is also an ideal gate for mounting even at a 30-degree angle in case you have one of those awkward stairway situations. It opens by pushing down the two latch tabs and at the same time pulling up on the gate.
This 30-inch tall baby gate will stand at around 32-33 inches high and designed for the top of the stairs. It has the ability to expand from between 29” to 42 inches wide but it is not really versatile when it comes to the angles it can fit or the surfaces it can mount to.
It can mount perfectly on wood or drywall and any direction goes, whether for left or right handed opening since the gate can swing either way.
This baby gate does its job well, which is keeping the baby off the stairs. It is very sturdy and reliable and also available in brown and linen color and not the white or black one like most of its counterparts from other brands. It can also be used at the bottom of the stairs.
This is one ideal top-of-the-stairs baby gate that doesn’t require hardware mounting. It is actually the only gate on the market that can attach to the rail posts without you having to drill it on. Velcro straps are what it uses to attach and it is quite sturdy.
Questions To Ask Before Buying A Baby Gate
As you consider getting a baby gate or fence for your stairs, consider your situation. Every home is different and you will have to consider the following things before choosing any type of baby gate.
– Is there heavy traffic at your home stairs during the day? If that is the case then you will have to consider a baby gate that can be opened and closed quickly without any difficulty.
– Do you happen to carry laundry, your child or other objects up and down the stairs? Then you will need to choose a baby gate that you can open with easily using one hand.
– Do you also want to deny them access to a room nearby? Then you will also need a longer than usual baby gate if you not only want to keep your active baby off the stairs but off the nearby room(s) as well.
– Lastly, if you need your baby gate to blend perfectly with your interior design scheme, then choose an appropriate one. However, the safety of your baby should influence your choice more than just the overall look of your home interior.
Types of Baby Gates
There are many types of baby gates specially manufactured to keep your baby safe around your stairs. A little research will go a long way in ensuring that you find one the best meets your baby stairs restriction needs. A closer look at the different options available is further outlined below.
Large Area Baby Gates
These kinds of baby gates are suitable when you have a large area available at the base or the top of the stairs and need it fenced off.
Most of these gates are usually 3-in-1 types and they can not only turn into amazing playpens, but they can also cover any distance and restrict any rooms or hazards near the stairs area as well, thanks to the extension pieces available.
This kind of baby gate is definitely ideal for parents with open staircases and especially those without walls.
The Entrance only Baby Gates
If your home doesn’t have that wide area at the bottom of your stairs, then you will need an expandable baby gate to restrict only that small area. There are plenty of them that can perfectly fit the space inside your small stairwell.
Expandable Baby gates are also called pressure-mounted baby gates and are very convenient to move from one opening to another. They usually require two flat surfaces to press against; it could be two stair banisters for the stairs without walls, or a banister and a wall for the stairs with one wall.
However, if you have an intricately designed staircase then this type of baby gate might not be ideal for you because you would be better off with a hardware mounted baby gate. The option of extension pieces for this type of baby gate will always depend on the brand that you choose to buy.
The only disadvantage with this type of baby gate is that it fits inside a narrow walkway and can be a challenge if you use that area frequently going up and down the stairs and especially if you are carrying stuff.
Another drawback is that it can only be used at the bottom area of the stairs and never at the top because a child’s weight might cause it to come off leading to a fall since it is only pressure mounted.
Despite such a drawback, many parents still consider it a great gate since they can be opened and closed with one hand and that most of them are actually taller making it difficult for toddlers who love to climb.
There are also hardware mounted expandable types available which make it easier for parents to have one gate at the top and the other pressure mounted one at the bottom of the stairs.
Baby Gates Not The Holy Grail
As much as baby gates are one of the best ways to prevent your child from accessing the stairs, they are definitely not the holy grail of baby proofing all stairs. To enable them to serve you better, ensure that they are correctly installed for your specific situation.
Use hardware-mounted baby gates at the top area of your stairs and pressure mounted ones at the bottom area for adequate safety. The moment your little explorer discovers how to open the gate or how to climb over, then the best thing is removing them.
According to research work published by Academics Pediatrics in the May- June issue, there have been reported cases of an average of 5 children injured on baby gates every single day.
Baby gates are still recommended as one of the best ways to baby-proof your stairs but always take it a step further and ensure that you still make it as safe as possible for your child while considering other factors within your home as well.
Useful Shopping Tips
Some shopping tips to give you a better understanding of baby gates when doing your research on various brands are as follow:
- Hardware- Mounted Versus Pressure Mounted
A hardware-mounted gate is usually the best when you intend to place it where there is a falling hazard and usually, it is at the top of the stairs. Because it is more secured on the railings by drilling, it is therefore harder to dislodge.
This makes it secure enough to withstand whatever assault your child thinks of launching on it. If you want something that you don’t want to move for a long time and use for even longer, the hardware-mounted gate is your best bet.
For areas with no falling hazard like at the bottom of the stairs or between rooms, the pressure-mounted gate will work perfectly. The fact that it is also portable, makes it perfect for moving it to areas you need to bar your baby from entering.
- Take A Closer look At The Slats
When choosing your gate, keep in mind that the safety slats should be less than 3 inches apart. You definitely don’t want your baby’s head entrapped or his feet and hands slipping through and in some cases getting trapped as well.
- Look Out For Sturdy Construction
Babies have the tendency of amazing us with the ability to foil all the best attempts we make to keep them safe. Be assured that your gate will be pushed, pulled, leaned on, bitten and even climbed.
A sturdy construction with an even finish will ensure that your gate is will not only serve you for a long time, but it will also be safe for your child. If it is made of wood, the surface should be smooth and splinter-free.
The edges should also be rounded and not squared to prevent your baby from getting hurt. It is also proper to look for JPMA certification on the gate to ensure that it has passed all the quality standards.
- A Child-proof Locking Mechanism
Do not assume that all gates cannot be opened by a baby. Babies can be extremely resourceful when determined and there have been cases where a baby has already figured out how to open the gate before his second birthday.
Don’t buy gates with a simple button lock or one of those lift-open mechanisms. The baby might not know how to open it at first, but all they have to do is watch you for a year and they will know.
Then when you least expect it, they will wander off to the very forbidden areas of the house that you are so desperately trying to keep them off from. Your gate should have a locking mechanism that is easy for you and difficult for the child.
- Get Your Measurements Right
It is important to know your width measurements of your doors or openings where you intend to put the gates. Steer clear of gates that have to be at their maximum width for them to fit because they might fail to offer enough security for your ambitious child.
There are baby gates that come with one extension in case your opening is too wide. Keep that in mind when buying a gate especially if your opening is greater than 31”.
- A One-Hand Opening Option
You definitely want to open the gate easily with one hand, because you are likely to be carrying your baby, laundry, groceries, talking on the phone and so on. The locking mechanism should be easy for one large hand to open and not the little baby fingers.
- Try It Out before Buying
The gate has to be easy for you to open and close and even to install if it is a pressure-mounted one. Makes sure you have understood how it works so you can pass on the knowledge to your child’s caregivers.
- Gates That You Should Never Buy
You are buying this gate to protect your baby and this means that your baby’s safety is important to you. Therefore buy a gate that doesn’t pose a safety risk. Some gates to avoid are as follows:-
– Never buy gates without a horizontal filler bar at the top for safety.
– Avoid gates that have diamond-shaped spaces between slats or V-shaped openings at the top because they pose a safety hazard.
– Steer clear of gates with a threshold step-over at the bottom because they can trip the baby especially if they are used on the top of the stairs.
– Never buy pressure-mount gates for the top of your stairs because they can pose a falling hazard.
- Listen To The People
Before deciding that you are buying a particular brand, take the time to go through some consumer reviews from verified purchases. You might learn some helpful installation and troubleshooting tips.
Use your best judgment after reading the reviews and then make the best choice according to your home situation.
Some useful installation tips that you could use are as follows:
- Read The Manual
If you are the DIY hands-on kind of parent and would love to install your gate by yourself, ensure that you first understand the material you are installing into. Please don’t throw away the manual as many “DIY gurus” love doing. Always read the installation manual cover to cover before you think, “Darn it! This is so obvious!”
- Look For Visual Reinforcement
In case you are one of those people who would rather not read manuals because they give you a “headache” or you simply don’t understand the technical jargon, there is another option.
Look for install videos online on YouTube, e-commerce sites or at the manufacturer’s site. Then follow the step by step installation for a successful installation.
- Know When To Call In The Real Professionals
Sometimes the installation manual, the online tutorial manuals, and all your know-how might seem not to work for you. Instead of wasting time fiddling with something that can be fixed in a jiffy, call in the professionals to install it and you will save yourself a further headache.
You need your baby safe, and the sooner the gate is installed the sooner the safety measures on baby proofing your stairs will work.
When Do You Buy A Baby Gate?
As soon as your baby begins crawling, you should have a baby gate already installed. The stairs should be your first priority before you begin baby proofing other dangerous zones within your home. Your baby will soon start walking and it might be difficult to contain them.
You can then begin buying gates for blocking the fireplace, creating a baby coral in the living room or securing playpens or playrooms without closing the door.
They do not only contain the baby, but they are also great for keeping any toy stealing pet from stealing your baby’s toys or chewing them and damaging them.
Benefits Of Being Informed About Baby Proofing Solutions
Every purchase you make as a tax-paying consumer should be equivalent to an investment in your happiness. Being informed of the choices you have before making them will enable you to choose the best and further regard the item you are purchasing highly.
With many options out there to choose from being informed by learning the good and bad about all products available will enable you to be happier for many years with baby proofing solution that has truly lived up to its expectations.
Being informed will also enable you to recognize shoddy workmanship as soon as you see it. This will enable you keep your family protected from the hazards that come with poor quality baby proofing solutions.
A baby gate is something that your child will come into contact with frequently and if it doesn’t serve its purpose as it should, then it puts your baby at risk.
Other Baby Proofing Solutions
As you buy the best baby gate for the top and bottom areas of your stairs, support your baby-proofing efforts by carpeting the stairs, installing a banister guard and the most important of all, never let your baby out of sight.
Your baby’s welfare is important and keeping your baby safe always is every parent’s dream. This is why you will think of your baby in every decision you make. Whether moving house, getting a new job, buying food or even painting your house, going for a vacation and practically every decision you make.
You will always ask the little questions like, will my baby be safe? Will he be happy? Will he love it? What is the best decision for my baby? That is why even when buying baby related products, you will need to research and make sure that the product truly meets your baby’s needs.
Modern parenting has actually become easier compared to parenting in the past, thanks to new innovations which make work easier. However, the risk has also increased with the coming of these innovations.
Watching the baby full time hasn’t changed at all because for these gadgets to work properly, often times parental involvement has to come into play.
It is possible to raise your baby to a healthy grown one, but this can only be possible when you take all the safety precautions and baby-proofing measures to keep your home safe for your child. It all begins with learning how to baby proof stairs with no wall.