Child playing behind safety gates in front of stairs at home

Do you use Baby Gates? Are they secure?

If you’re the mama of a crawler, toddler, or even preschooler you have undoubtedly spent some time worrying about your little one around stairs, whether it’s at your own place or while chasing your babe around at a friend’s or relative’s place. Newly mobile kids find stairs irresistible. Parents find them stressful.

And you’re right to worry: stairs can be very dangerous for small children. In fact, they’re the number one source of non-fatal accidents in one-year-olds, according to a study by the Journal of Pediatrics. About 10,000 kids end up in the ER every year with head and back injuries caused by accidents on stairs. Of course that means many more thousands suffered minor bumps and bruises.

Gates are the first line of defense most parents look to when baby proofing their stairs. Block the access and all accidents will be avoided, we think. Unfortunately that’s not the case — a 20-year study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found an average of five kids, usually under the age of two, are treated in emergency rooms every day as the result of baby gate-related injuries!

Those injuries happen for a number of reasons, the study revealed. Toddlers are drawn to gates in the same way they’re drawn to stairs, and they’re soon leaning on them and trying to climb over them, resulting in scrapes, cuts, and even worse, injuries caused by the gates falling down on them. Some of us rely on gates that are not securely installed at the top of the stairs, making them easy for toddlers to push past on their way to a fall. (This is why only hard-mounted gates should be installed at the top of staircases). Or the gates get left open and toddlers tumble down the stairs, resulting in sprains, strains, and even brain injuries

Still, baby gates are essential. But it’s nice to see there is a new style of gate, the fabric barrier gate, out there that does the job far better than most. One example of this style is the Stair Barrier. While other gates are designed to fit only between two flat surfaces, the sustainably made, chic-looking Stair Barrier comes in two configurations, one that can be used from wall to banister and one for use between banisters. The gate attaches to banisters of all shapes and sizes with dual-release buckles and straps to secure to the bottom of the stairs and prevent littles (and pets!) from exploring.

The Stair Barrier completely blocks the child’s eye view of the stairs, so it’s got a nice “out of sight, out of mind” factor working for it. When you do want it out of the way, it rolls up neatly to the side, and it’s lightweight and portable, so you can easily pack it up, tuck it into its travel bag, and take it on vacation or to Grandma’s. And unlike standard baby gates, there aren’t any potential foot or hand holds in the Stair Barrier, so toddlers can’t climb over it or pull it down.  These gates are solidly constructed in the United States with vertical struts and horizontal webbing under the fabric. And best of all, they are offering $25 off and free shipping to Mom365 members if you use the code Mom365.

Baby proofing your stairs should be top of the list when it comes to making your house safe for your new crawler or walker. Definitely do your research when it comes to the baby gates you select. Triple check to make sure that they are very secure and properly installed, particularly at the top of the stairs. Don’t leave gates open when your child is crawling or toddling around, and remove gates when your little is big enough to want to try to scale them. And it goes without saying that even the best gates are not babysitters, right? It’s exhausting but at this stage you really have to watch your insatiably curious child at every moment! Check out other ways to baby proof your house.

What are the stairs like in your house? Will you install baby gates when your baby starts crawling?

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