How to Make Stairs Safer for Toddlers

Are you a parent, grandparent, or childcare provider looking for ways to make your stairs safer for toddlers? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re dealing with an interior staircase or exterior steps outside your home, ensuring they are secure and toddler-proofed is essential. Accidents can happen quickly when toddlers go up and down stairs; however, proper precautions can minimize these hazards. 

How to Make Stairs Safer for Toddlers

In this blog post, we will provide easy tips on how to make stairs safer for toddlers. By implementing a few simple measures, your home’s stairways will become much less hazardous and vulnerable to accidents – allowing everyone peace of mind. So get ready – let’s learn how best to prepare our homes and families!

Necessary Items

Before diving into the tips, it’s essential to have some necessary items for implementing these safety measures. Some important items you will need include:

  • Stair gates: These block off the top and bottom of stairs and prevent toddlers from going up or down without supervision.
  • Edge guards: These help cushion the sharp edges of stairs to protect against falls and injuries.
  • Non-slip stair treads provide more grip on slippery stairs, reducing the risk of falls.
  • Handrails: Ensure that your stairs have sturdy handrails for toddlers to hold onto while going up or down.

10 Steps on How to Make Stairs Safer for Toddlers

1. Install Stair Gates

Installing stair gates is the most crucial step in making stairs safe for toddlers. These gates should be placed at the top and bottom of the staircase to prevent children from accessing them without supervision. Various options, such as pressure-mounted or hardware-mounted gates, are available, so choose what works best for your home.

2. Keep Stairways Clear

 Stairways Clear & Free From Clutter

It’s essential to keep stairways clear and free from clutter. Toys, shoes, or other objects can create tripping hazards for toddlers on the stairs. Make it a habit always to pick up and store items in their proper place instead of leaving them on the stairs.

3. Apply Non-Slip Stair Treads

Too smooth steps can result in slips and falls, especially for little ones with tiny feet. Applying non-slip stair treads is an easy solution to this issue. These adhesive strips can be easily applied to the surface of stairs, providing more grip and reducing the risk of accidents.

4. Secure Loose Carpets or Rugs

If your stairs have carpeting, ensure they are securely attached to the steps. Loose carpets or rugs can create a tripping hazard, so it’s essential to have them properly installed and secured. If your carpet or rug is not attached correctly, consider using double-sided tape to keep it in place.

5. Install Handrails

Handrails are essential for toddlers to hold onto while navigating the stairs. Ensure your stairway has sturdy handrails on both sides for added safety. If your stairs need handrails, consider installing them yourself or hiring a professional.

6. Use Edge Guards

Sharp corners and edges on stairs can be dangerous for toddlers, who are more prone to falls and injuries. Installing edge guards can help cushion these areas and prevent accidents.  Use edge guards on all exposed sharp edges, including the corners of each step and any protruding handrail brackets.

7. Teach Stair Safety

Stair Safety From a Young Age

It’s important to teach toddlers about stair safety from a young age. They should learn to hold the handrail while going up or down stairs and be reminded not to run or play on the stairs. Regularly reinforce these rules and monitor their behavior on the stairs to ensure they follow them.

8. Consider Installing a Stair Lift or Elevator

If you have a multi-story home or a child with mobility issues, consider installing a stair lift or elevator for added safety and convenience. These options may be more expensive but can provide peace of mind for parents and caregivers.

9. Be Extra Vigilant in High-Risk Areas

Areas such as basements or attic stairs may be more hazardous for toddlers due to their steep incline or lack of handrails. Be extra vigilant when supervising your child on these stairs, and consider implementing additional safety measures, like installing a baby gate at the top of the stairs.

10. Regularly Inspect and Maintain Stairs

Last but not least, it’s crucial to regularly inspect the condition of your stairs and perform necessary maintenance. Check for loose or broken steps, handrails, and edging. Repair or replace any damaged areas to ensure maximum safety for your little ones.

Check For Loose Or Broken Steps

Following these ten simple steps can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and make your stairs safer for toddlers. Remember, a safe home is a happy one, so invest the time and effort in creating your toddler-proof stairways. With proper precautions, you can ensure that your little ones can navigate stairs safely while providing peace of mind for everyone involved.

8 Things to Avoid When Toddler-Proofing Stairs

1. Relying on Only One Gate at the Top of the Stairs

Having more than one gate at the top of the stairs can create a false sense of security. If your toddler can open or climb over the gate, they will have free access to the stairs. Ensure gates at the top and bottom of the stairs for added safety.

2. Using Pressure-Mounted Gates at the Top of Stairs

Pressure-mounted gates are unsuitable at the top of stairs as they can easily be pushed out of place. These gates should only be used on flat surfaces, such as doorways. When it comes to stairways, opt for hardware-mounted gates securely attached to the wall.

3. Installing Gates with Wide Spacing

When choosing a gate for your stairs, ensure the spacing between bars or slats is narrow enough to prevent your toddler from squeezing through or getting stuck. The recommended spacing should be less than three inches apart.

4. Overlooking Loose or Damaged Steps

Loose or damaged steps can create a tripping hazard, especially for little feet. Regularly inspect your stairs and repair or replace any damaged areas immediately. Ignoring these issues can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

5. Not Teaching Stair Safety

Simply installing safety measures is not enough; teaching your toddler about stair safety is as crucial as setting rules for them to follow. Be patient and consistent in reinforcing these rules to become second nature for your child.

6. Leaving Clutter on Stairs

Leaving items on the stairs, such as toys or laundry, can create a tripping hazard for toddlers. Make it a habit always to pick up and store items in their proper place instead of leaving them on the stairs.

7. Using Loose Rugs or Carpets

Consider Removing Them Altogether

Loose rugs and carpets are another potential tripping hazard on stairs. Secure these items correctly, or consider removing them altogether for added safety.

8. Not Supervising Carefully

No matter how many safety measures you have in place, always supervise your toddler when they are on the stairs. Accidents can happen quickly, and it’s essential to be there to prevent or intervene if necessary. Never leave a young child unattended on or near stairs. 

Overall, it’s crucial to be proactive and thorough when toddler-proofing stairs. By avoiding these mistakes and implementing proper safety measures, you can minimize the risk of accidents and create a safe environment for your little ones to explore. Regularly reassess and update your safety precautions as your child grows and develops new skills. With careful planning and attention, you can help your toddler navigate stairs safely and confidently. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Stair Safety for Toddlers

How Old Should a Child Be Before They Are Allowed to Use Stairs?

Children should be at least three years old and have proper motor skills before being allowed to navigate stairs independently. However, it’s essential to teach them stair safety from a young age to prepare them when the time comes.

Can I Use Childproof Covers on Stairway Handrails?

While childproof covers may seem like a good idea, they can be hazardous if not installed correctly. Children may pull or chew on the covers, causing them to come loose and create a choking hazard. It’s best to use other safety measures, such as edge guards or teaching your child not to play with the handrail.

Is It Necessary to Have Gates at Both the Top and Bottom of the Stairs?

Yes, having gates at both the top and bottom of stairs is crucial for maximum safety. This prevents your child from accessing the stairs unsupervised and provides a barrier in case they fall or slip while climbing.

Are There Any Alternative Safety Measures I Can Use Instead of Gates?

Yes, there are alternative safety measures you can use in addition to or instead of gates. These include edge guards, carpeting or grip tape on steps for added traction, and teaching your child proper stair safety. You can also consider installing a stair lift or elevator for convenience and safety.


Toddler-proofing stairs is crucial in creating a safe and secure environment for your little ones. By following these tips on how to make stairs safer for toddlers, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and injuries while providing peace of mind for yourself and your family. 

Remember to regularly inspect and maintain your stairs, avoid common mistakes, and always supervise your child when they are on or near stairs. Taking these precautions ensures that your child can safely navigate stairs while developing their independence and motor skills.  So take the time to toddler-proof your stairs – it’s worth every effort for the safety and well-being of your little ones.

You Can Check It Out to Prevent Toddler From Climbing Out of Crib

Photo of author

Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

Leave a Comment