Banisters in the home can pose several safety risks for children.
Toddlers and preschoolers can amaze parents with their ability to find new and inventive ways to hurt themselves or cause damage. Things that parents never even thought about before, like the safety of banisters in the home, can be a huge issue the first time you spot your little sweetie trying to get a leg over the edge. Luckily, there are ways to keep kids safe in multilevel homes with just a bit of planning and work.
1Buy banister guards at a baby-supply store, department store or big-box store. They can also be found online. Use the screws, tie straps and wall anchors included in your kit to install banister guards on each banister in your home. These serve several purposes. They keep kids from being able to get a good grip on the poles in the banister and use these to climb over. The guards also keep children from getting their heads stuck between the banister posts. Kids also can't throw their toys onto stairs through the banister with a banister guard in place, a blessing for half-asleep moms and dads who will no longer trip over toys and inadvertently teach their precious darlings their very first curse words.
2Install baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs to limit the access that young children have to stairwells and banisters. In addition to keeping kids from getting hurt on the stairs, gates also keep those clever tots from damaging or figuring out how to work around banister guards.
3Move all furniture and toys away from the banisters. Young kids can use couches, ottomans, dollhouses and stacks of books or stuffed animals to make themselves tall enough to climb over banisters. If possible, secure furniture that is light enough for a determined toddler or preschooler to push into position -- such as a chair or ottoman -- to walls far from the banister with anchor straps. Keep toys picked up and away from banisters as much as possible to prevent them being piled into step stools for young children.
4Supervise children carefully to make sure they are not able to find a new way to climb over banisters. If kids are old enough to understand, explain the dangers of climbing over a banister. Punish kids in age-appropriate ways for climbing, giving a time-out or withdrawing a favorite snack or television program.
- Allow kids to get their energy out in other ways besides climbing on banisters. Take your little leaper to the park to run around, play some ball, do some jumping jacks -- anything you can think of to burn up his bannister-climbing energy.
Things You'll Need
- Banister guards
- Baby gates
- Anchor straps