Monday, 29 June 2015

Making a Staircase Safe for Your Kids: 3 Dangers You Must Foresee and Avoid

Thousands of children get injured every year due to slipping and falling down a stairway. You may not have children as yet, or they may be all grown up. But sooner or later, there will be children or grandchildren in your home. Experts have identified 3 major design flaws which if corrected, will make your staircase much safer for your children. 

The Top Step Flaw

Every step on a staircase should be of the same height. When you take the first step, you automatically assume that the rest are of the same height and your legs move accordingly. If the top step is different in height from the rest, it’s easy to trip and fall when you step on the next one. This is bad enough for adults. It is worse still for children who tend to race up and down or carry things they shouldn’t.

How does this happen? Many staircases are prefabricated. When they are attached to the floor above the measurements should be exactly right. The top most step has to be modified to make it a little higher or lower to fit the floor above. Yes, it is a serious building code violation, if the correction is not carried out. You would be surprised at the number of contractors who are not aware of this structural danger. Once the staircase is installed, there is nothing that can be done about it.

The Big Railing Risk

A staircase is central to the ambience of a home. Many homeowners give therefore priority to the look of the railing, but not to the grip it provides. Thick heavy railings can often enhance the look of the staircase, but it can be difficult for children to get their hands around to have a strong hold. If they slip, the hold is lost and a bad fall can result. This is a factor that many contractors overlook or ignore. If you already have a thick railing your options are to replace it or install a thinner one on the opposite wall, if possible.

The Gate Danger

A gate at the top of the stairs is the best way to keep small children away from it. The problem is that many people opt for the pressure mounted type that is inexpensive and easy to install. The danger is that in many cases the design of the home does not allow the gate to fit flush and tight against the wall. A child falling against it may cause it open and fall down rolling.

If you have very small children at home, go in for a gate that is bolted to the wall. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling the one you live in, the staircase should be given due importance. It is a busy traffic area everyone uses many times a day. And, it lurks with danger for everyone, especially your kids. The best thing that can happen to you is to have your stairway built by a company that specializes in stairway design and construction.

Did you find these ideas useful? Leave a comment. Tell us what you would like to read further.

More in our next post.