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Preschooler and stairs

I might be overeacting, but we just moved to our new house and it is 2 stories. My son is turning 3 next month and goes up and down the stairs very well, holding the railing. The stairs are closed and carpeted. But I still worry he might trip and fall. Am i overeacting? If you have stairs in your house with kids around this age, do you have a gate? I think my husband will be mad if I suggest a gate, and I also think my son will find a way to either open it or jump over it... What do I do?


Asked by Kaelebsmom at 11:42 AM on Oct. 1, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (8)
  • at some point every child will fall on the stairs, my DD (who is 8) fell on our front steps the first week of school, just tripped. it happens.

    by the age of 3, he should be well adept at climbing the stairs. i wouldn't be overly concerned. i WOULD make sure that there are no objects (furniture, etc) at the bottom that he could strike, if he fell. kids are compact, and it is instinctual to ball up and roll- you would be surprised at how tough the little boogers are!

    my DS took a tumble off of the lowest step when he was about 18mos, scared the crap out of him, and he has been extremely cautious ever since. sometimes thats what it takes.

    i don't think you're over reacting, but its not something you have absolute control over. and a gate could be more dangerous if he does scale it- it would certainly up the chances of falling.

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 3:28 PM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • Realize that even adults will fall down the stairs at some point in time and get over it.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:48 AM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • Wow, Anon. No wonder you didn't want to sign your name to that bit of advice. Is it that hard to reply with a little bit of respect apparent in your answer?

    Kalebsmom - if you think your son can climb over the gate or will at least try to climb over it, I'd not put one on the stair case. The risk of him falling and getting hurt is higher, or so I assume, if he's scaling the gate first. I would think there's a greater risk he'll try to get his little legs over the top of it and NOT get good footing when he comes down the other side of it.

    Work with him on the stairs. Drill the "rule" that he not run on them, that he holds the rail and that he not go up and down without a grown-up to watch him until you're comfortable with him using it. Our stair case is down to the basement and up to the front door. My kids have been using both on their own since they could master the step. They hold rails and do well with it. IT'll be ok!

    Answer by ldmrmom at 1:43 PM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • I've had the same worries with the town houses since they are also bi-level. I am not going to use a gate, but am going to tell Kaleb to wake me up before he goes downstairs for the morning. Not sure if that's going to work though. If it makes you feel better, I know someone who has a 4 year old that has had open stairs for the last year and has not fallen once.

    Answer by Kalebs_Momma at 2:13 PM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • yeah i have a huge staircase, my old house had a landing in the middle of the stairs and scared me less, my son has fallen down once, just once is all it takes for them to be forever careful. he got a bruise, that is it... just harp on him to be careful// dont do the gate.

    Answer by AmaliaD at 2:35 PM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • Be easy on anon #1. She is right. He will fall down the stairs at some point. The rule my daughter had is the kids had to hold her hand and the rail until she felt they were ready to go up and down on their own.

    Answer by meandmyshadow at 3:35 PM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • meandmyshawdow - you're right. But the way you present the info is much more respectful than the way Anon#1 did.

    There's sharing a view point and then there is being rude. You walked the line well. Anon#1 did not.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:39 PM on Oct. 1, 2009

  • just tell him that the stairs can be used if he has to go up stairs only. they are not to play on .

    Answer by incarnita at 3:57 PM on Oct. 1, 2009