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Stair Safety For Your Home

According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a child under five years old is rushed to the hospital for a stair-related injury every six minutes. A similar study by the Center of Physical Ergonomics concluded that roughly 20 percent of of injuries in the household occur while travelling up or down the stairs.

These statistics are alarming to the say the least. Stair-related injuries can cause severe injuries and even death for average adults, and the risk factor multiplies for children and the elderly. So how do we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe on the stairs?

In this blog, the Spruce Grove stair railing experts at Dave’s Railings will give you a few tips and projects that will make your stairs safer for those who travel on them. These are all simple, DIY projects and ideas that can implemented to make your home safer and reduce the risk of stair-related injuries.

Keep clutter off the stairs.

If you have children’s toys, knick-knacks, or dirty laundry piled up on the stairs, you’re drastically increasing the risk of stair-related injuries in your home. All it takes is a toe caught in a dirty t-shirt or a banana peel off a Hot Wheel to send you careening down the stairs—so keep stairs free of impediments and avoid letting your children place items on the stairs.

Educate your children about stair safety.

Stairs can be dangerous for people of all ages—especially children. Your kids might want to play on the stairs, run up and down the stairs, or throw and drop objects between the banisters. This puts them at risk for tripping and tumbling down the stairs, and could even cause them to fall through the banisters which can cause serious injury or death.

Be sure to teach your children about stair safety, no matter how old they are—make sure they hold onto stairs as they ascend and descend, teach them to walk carefully, and alert them of the consequences of irresponsible stair usage. If they need to carry something up or down the stairs, tell them to ask an adult or an older, more responsible sibling for help.

Ultimately, stair safety is about education—make sure your kids know exactly what can happen if they do not practice proper stair habits.

Install baby gates on the stairs.

Babies are curious creatures, and they can move faster than you think—one minute, they’re rolling around on the living room floor, and the next minute, they’re halfway up the stairs, peering through the banister. Babies and young children are at the greatest risk for stair injuries because of their limited coordination and fearlessness—so if you’re going to protect them from stair injuries, you need to keep them off of the stairs entirely.

Installing baby gates at the top and the bottom of the stairs might be inconvenient for the older members of the household, but it’s the most effective way to keep your little one off the stairs and keep them safe. Be sure to keep a close eye on your child at all times—some little kids are more skilled at climbing than others, and could scale over the baby gate while you’re not looking.

Be sure to purchase and install the right gate for the job—gates that press up against the walls could be pushed over by your child. Buy hardware mounted gates that attach to your walls, and be sure that the gates are specifically designed for the top or the bottom of your stairs. For all those awkward walls or areas wil curved molding, you can always buy gate extenders that bridge the gap and make your gate more stable and safe for your child.

In addition to these tips, avoid accordion style gates (which pose a strangulation hazard for infants), and keep your baby gates less than three inches from the ground to make sure your child doesn’t crawl under the gate.

Finally, once your child figures out how to climb over or open your gate, it’s over—start over and by a stronger, more child-proof model.

Give your stair surfaces some traction.

For people of all ages, slipping on slippery stairs or a loose stair runner is a very common cause of injury in the home. If you have wood stairs, cover them with stair runners, and make sure they’re attached with non-slip backs. When cleaning your stairs, use non-skid wax and polish and avoid travelling on the stairs in socks while the cleaner is setting or drying out. Finally, make sure to clean up spills and debris on the stairs as soon as they occur—a little snow on the stairs can turn into slippery water in a jiffy.

Keep your stairs well lit.

For all those middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom (or the fridge), it’s important to keep your stairs illuminated during the night to avoid slips and falls. Replace light bulbs as they die out, and use nightlights and other cordless lamps and lights to keep stairs areas visible at all hours. In case of power outages, keep a flashlight at the top and the bottom of the stairs so you never have to travel down the stairs in the dark.

Install high-end stair rails and banisters.

Stair rails might be the most important aspect of stair safety, helping you avoid falls (or slow falls) and travel down the stairs slowly and safely. Banisters and glass panels can be useful for stair safety as well—replacing your column banisters with solid glass panels can prevent infants and children from falling in between banisters, and these panels won’t distort or impede your line of vision. Plus, quality stair rails and banisters are a great interior design upgrade that can improve your home’s look and value, and keep your home safe and beautiful for years to come!

That’s where Dave’s Railings can help. We’re proud to serve Spruce Grove and the surrounding areas with stair rails, guard rails, and beautiful banisters in a wide variety of materials and finishes so you can keep your family safe and your home stunning. Call us to get a project quote today!