If your baby is just starting to crawl or he’s only new to walking, he’s probably not ready to tackle stairs alone yet. Of course, curious babies are going to want to find out what’s up (or down) those stairs – and they’ll probably be especially bold just when you happen to not be looking. That’s why it’s worth babyproofing your house with stair gates before your active baby takes a tumble.
Childproof your stairs in these simple ways:
Set Up Baby Gates
Even though your baby is a confident crawler or has started taking those first few steps, he still won't be able to tackle stairs safely for a while. Your little adventurer might be pushing for more independence, but let him know that if he wants to practice using the stairs it needs to be when you can supervise.
Have stair gates in place for when you’re not practicing climbing stairs together. When you install them depends on when your baby starts getting more independent - but make sure you have the baby gates in place by the time you see that your baby is about to start crawling. If your baby spends time both upstairs and downstairs, have baby gates at both ends of the staircase.
There are many types of gates to choose from; some screw into the wall while some just slot between the walls. There are mesh, metal and wood options too. Stair gates at the top of the stairs should be the kind that screw in place and open toward you to avoid an accidental fall.
Steps to Teach Your Baby How to Climb Stairs
There are different phases when it comes to teaching your crawling or newly walking baby how to get up and down stairs. Here is a step-by-step guide to help:
- Try giving your baby a chance to practice on the bottom three steps first.
- Show him how to hold the banister.
- Learning to go down the stairs is harder than climbing up, so he may be able to crawl or walk up, but may still be sliding down at first. Teach your baby to go down on his bum, sitting down on each step as he heads down.
- When he’s still learning, always be close underneath so you can grab him or catch him in a moment.
- Take things slowly at first and once you’ve finished a little practice, remember to close the baby gate again.
Teach Your Baby About Stair Safety
Eventually, with practice, your baby will be able to walk up and down stairs without help, but initially you should still supervise. Teach him to always hold on tight to that railing. Soon enough you’ll reach another babyproofing milestone: that special day when baby gates aren’t required anymore.
Baby Gates for Other Areas
Baby gates are not just for stairs; they are great for keeping your baby out of − or in − certain areas, while still keeping the door open. Maybe you want to keep your crawling baby out of the kitchen or garage, or you want to keep them in their room while still leaving the door open so he can hear you’re just in the next room.
And of course now your baby is fully on the move, he will likely be ready to change from regular nappies to nappy pants. Many parents find nappy pants much easier to change on a wriggly baby who is always happier to explore than lie down for a change!