Staircases are essential for houses that have several levels as they provide a way of moving between them. Aside from that, a staircase can also serve as a decorative addition to your home if you find a way to spruce its design up with some ornamental features. But while staircases are essential, their safety can be a significant concern if you have children at home.
So when designing your staircase, one of the major considerations to think about is the safety of users. It’s easy to trip or fall from the stairs, and you may get injured if they’re not safe. And though adults can be well aware of the dangers staircases can pose and take precautions, it’s not the same with children. Therefore, the design should be safer for them.
There are different ways to make a staircase safer for kids. This article explores the different ways to do so.
1. Install Handrails And Railings
Little kids aren’t stable enough to walk on stairs without any support. They may trip and fall or even fall off on the sides of the staircase. But these can be prevented by installing handrails and rails.
Handrails are the bars on staircases people hold on to when walking on stairs. There are different types of handrails. They may range from steel to aluminum to wood. All these materials offer different safety and aesthetic value, depending on the stairs’ nature and use.
On the other hand, railings are the barriers on the side of staircases, which are used to provide safety and support. The materials used in designing the railings should be strong enough so they won’t break in case someone falls on them.
2. Ensure The Stairs Are Well Lit
Even with the best precautions, you can’t be sure to achieve 100% safety when it comes to your stairs if they’re not well lit. Poor visibility can be a significant cause of stair accidents as users, especially kids, won’t be able to correctly judge the length of the steps if they can’t see them. Therefore, you can make your staircase child-friendly by ensuring it’s well lit at all times.
You can use angular lightings to prevent glaring effects on the stairs. And these lights should be on all the time, even when other lights inside the house are switched off.
3. Make All The Steps Similar
When walking on a staircase, people may assume the steps are similar in dimension. That is precisely how the steps should be. However, due to inadequately planned designs or low-quality constructions, there may be other steps that are shorter or smaller than the rest. Identifying these steps is challenging because people don’t usually take note of each step as they assume they’re all the same.
Children are the most vulnerable as they won’t notice the difference in the steps at all, which could cause them to misstep and fall. Hence, ensure all the steps on your stairs are similar. You can achieve this by letting professionals design your staircase. The materials used in designing the steps should also be similar to ensure uniformity.
4. Make The Stairs Clutter-Free
There are people who use their stairs to temporarily store stuff, like boxes. This mistake can lead to accidents on the staircase, especially for children. So make sure your stairs are clutter-free all the time. The steps shouldn’t be used for temporary storage at all, and nothing should barricade the rails.
You should also clean the stairs from time to time to remove any debris that can cause dangers. However, be sure not to leave any wet spots or spills as these can increase the risk of slip and fall accidents.
5. Install Safety Gates At The Top And Bottom
Even though safety gates on staircases may feel like an unnecessary addition, they’re a suitable preventive measure against accidents. These gates aren’t permanent. You can remove them when the children are old enough to know how to be careful around stairs.
In the meantime, the safety gates would prevent the children from climbing up or down the stairs whenever an adult isn’t around. These gates also have locks, which only an adult can open so children remain safe even when no adults are nearby.
6. Carpet Your Stairs
When children grow, they become playful and run around. The risk of falling off the stairs increases as they become playful. Since you may not be able to prevent these kinds of accidents at all times, the best way to make the stairs safer for children is to reduce the impact of a fall by placing carpets. In case children fall, major injuries could be avoided as the carpet would serve as a cushion.
Carpets also make the steps less slippery, especially after cleaning the stairs. Materials such as wood can be slippery when they come in contact with water.
7. Reduce The Spaces Between Stairs
Spiral staircases are often designed with large spaces between them, which makes them attractive. However, this could be unsafe for young children using the stairs. The large spaces between them could cause children to fall through the stairs, injuring themselves.
The best way to ensure the safety of staircases for children is to reduce the spaces between them, particularly when it comes to spiral staircases. You can also install barriers between the spaces if you don’t want to change the design of the stairs. A good designer can make barriers that perfectly fit the spaces between them without altering the construction of the staircase.
Staircases are a necessity in any home that has different floors. They connect different rooms, making all areas of the house accessible. However, stairs can be unsafe for children because they can trip, fall, and injure themselves. As such, the design of the stairs should be safe for them.
These include installing rails, gates, a lighting system, and carpets. If not well designed, like when the steps aren’t all the same or there are large spaces in between them, the stairs can be dangerous, too. Besides that, when the stairs are cluttered or slippery, accidents could also happen. So as much as you can, try to keep all these in mind to make your staircase safer for users, especially for children.