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to think stair gates can be more dangerous than no stair gates?

(73 Posts)
PinkHardHat Fri 14-Feb-14 13:12:13

Dd is 22 months old and I've never had stair gates for her. We were watching dd1 at an extra-curricular activity the other day and when it was time to collect her we began walking with another mum and her slightly older toddler. They both ran ahead and eventually there were some stairs. I called to dd to wait though they were probably only five feet in front of us. She stopped and sat down ready to go down backwards/on her bottom like she does at home. The other lady's toddler carried on running full speed and she had to run to catch her just as her foot went over the top step. Thankfully she was fine and the mum explained it as she's never really seen stairs without gates. Dd stops a few feet back from the top of stairs as she's used to no gates, though obviously I Would make sure I'm there in case one time she didn't.

I had stair gates for a while with dd1 but got rid when she pulled it and it nearly fell on her. I told the lady we don't have stair gates and she looked disgusted. Aibu not to have them and to think they can actually be more dangerous?

SwishAndFlick Fri 14-Feb-14 13:16:00

Personally I think YABU. It has worked for your toddler but in most cases its better to be safe than sorry.

ForTheLoveOfSocks Fri 14-Feb-14 13:16:35

Yes, YABU. They can stop a child toppling down the stairs or running into a kitchen. But they are not a substitute and that's where people go wrong.

If your DD pulled the gate off then it wasn't fitted tight enough. I've pulled on mine to check they are tight enough and they don't budge.

MrsWolowitz Fri 14-Feb-14 13:17:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsWolowitz Fri 14-Feb-14 13:17:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QueenofKelsingra Fri 14-Feb-14 13:18:28

its more to do with not teaching kids about safety on stairs than having gates.

I have gates everywhere as I have 3 pre-schoolers but when it is time to actually use them, all 3 can safely negotiated them - up or down - as I have taught them how.

I can only assume your DD is your PFB? very easy to keep one toddler off the stairs - throw another child (or DTs in my case) into the mix and it is just not worth the risk.

Mumof3xx Fri 14-Feb-14 13:19:12

I've never had a gate at the top of stairs due to layout

I have however had them on my kitchen and dcs bedrooms

Bedrooms to stop them wandering out half asleep

And kitchen to keep them away from cooker etc

Older dc had gates until 3 yrs old a year without gates and now they are back for dd

PinkHardHat Fri 14-Feb-14 13:19:30

My toddler literally never leaves my side though. She is never near stairs unsupervised

Mumof3xx Fri 14-Feb-14 13:20:06

Oh and my stairs are in the kitchen so kitchen gate stops little one getting up these

Fairylea Fri 14-Feb-14 13:21:45

Yabu, and lucky that you spotted the stairs in time to warn your dd to stop and wait. If she had been running and distracted it could have been very different (I broke my ankle falling down stairs as a toddler).

Stair gates save lives. There is no doubt about it. Everyone should teach their children the safe way to climb and descend stairs regardless but stair gates are more for the times when you don't have eyes in the back of your head.

Perspective21 Fri 14-Feb-14 13:22:07

YABU, properly fitted safety gates save small children from kitchen accidents and stair falls. They may preserve life. Many people just like the added precaution of a gate, in addition to proper supervision and a compliant toddler.

A gate at the top of my stairs means my toddler can roam about playing whilst I sort laundry or do numerous upstairs jobs, if I was issuing stopping instructions all the time, I'd never complete anything else. It's different when you have multiple children who need things doing.

PinkHardHat Fri 14-Feb-14 13:22:33

Mine knows not to go on them alone. Also have no gate on the kitchen and she knows not to touch the oven. But like I say, she's rarely without me anyway

dustarr73 Fri 14-Feb-14 13:23:29

No i never had stairgates and my 5 children never fell down the stairs.I taught to come down on their bottoms and when older to always hold the handrails.
Each to their own.

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Fri 14-Feb-14 13:23:31

I don't think stair gates are a must, although I know a lot of parents do. And I agree that if the child gets no practice, that can be dangerous.

We have one at the top of the stairs which I use to keep dd2 contained when I am doing something up there. However, I let her go up and down the stairs on her own (supervised) several times a day and will be getting rid of the gate altogether by the time she is 2. She is 14mo.

We are lucky though, in that our stairs go round a corner, so she wouldn't fall from the top all the way down.

Perspective21 Fri 14-Feb-14 13:23:47

Cross posted. One day she will want to toddle off and play, don't let that be the day she falls down stairs and hurts herself badly.

Chelvis Fri 14-Feb-14 13:24:16

DD1 has always been confident with stairs and respected them, but I don't want her wandering up and down them on a whim or when I'm not nearby. I'd be on edge constantly having to watch her every second in case she went near them.

Stair gates are currently more dangerous though because 2yr6m DD1 piles toys up precariously to make a step to clamber over them and tumbles. But 11m DD2 has just learnt to climb so we're having to keep them for now.

PinkHardHat Fri 14-Feb-14 13:24:18

Fairy she saw the stairs and was already slowing to stop, I said to wait out of habit. Perspective we have 4 children.

QueenofKelsingra Fri 14-Feb-14 13:24:57

Mine knows not to go on them alone.

my 4yo knows not to run in the road - would I turn my back on him walking up the pavement? not a chance. why take such an unnecessary risk?

BakeOff Fri 14-Feb-14 13:26:04


Every chlld is different and, while some toddlers can be trusted without stairgates, others cannot.

We often leave our stairgates open as DS is pretty sensible and careful on stairs, but a friend came over with her same age DS and insisted we closed the gate as she knew he'd only make a bolt for the stairs as soon as her back was turned because he loves climbing and just can't be trusted to take stairs slowly and carefully. Stairs are very dangerous for him if he's not being closely supervised, but my DS is not a climber so we don't really need them.

You're assuming all children will behave like your DD and so YABU. But your also lucky to have a sensible, trustworthy child.

Finola1step Fri 14-Feb-14 13:27:21

Completely depends on your home and your circumstances. When dd was v small, we lived in a house with a very steep flight of stairs straight out of our bedroom door. So stairgate on.

The house we now live in has a better design but the top of the stairs are opposite our bedroom door. Both our dc are prone to night wakings and padding along to our room, half asleep. Ds still has night terrors where he is asleep but will thrash about. Therefore, I keep a stairgate at the top of the stairs but only for during the night.

I have found that some people will use every child safety device going, some will use none. Most people assess the risk and take precautions where they think necessary. As long as you are confident in your assessment of risk, then that's up to you.

I will say one thing though, having a stair gate does not mean that a child is not being taught about risk. Not having a stair gate does not mean that the parent is better at teaching their child about safety. Children fall down the stairs with stair gates which come off or have not been shut properly, and the fall down without stair gates. You can not remove the risk completely.

DipMeInChocolate Fri 14-Feb-14 13:27:53

You could say the same for children who grow up in bungalows.

formerbabe Fri 14-Feb-14 13:34:40

You are being complacent.

Shakey1500 Fri 14-Feb-14 13:37:53

DS is 6 and we still have a stairgate grin

He's still not dry at night, though he does sometimes get up and use the toilet. Having seen him staggering about the landing in a sleepy haphazard manner, I'm not about to get rid of the gate anytime soon...

Seff Fri 14-Feb-14 13:38:22

I think a happy medium is best. Stair gates are very helpful, but it is very important to teach babies and toddlers to go up and down stairs safely. It shouldn't be an either/or thing.

I tried to let my DD figure out stairs from as soon as she started trying to climb them, not long after she started crawling. I also tried to teach her how to get off the sofa and bed before she could climb up onto them.

notso Fri 14-Feb-14 13:38:35

It's not the stair gate that is the problem in your post it is the child not being taught to use the stairs.

I have taught all my 4 to use stairs safely but still had stair gates more to stop them going upstairs unsupervised than to stop them claiming the stairs.

My 22 months old is trying to copy my three year old in every way at the moment, he wants to walk downstairs rather that go backwards. It is scary and I don't like it.

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