Has anyone not used stairgates or am I mad for considering it?(22 Posts)
DS is nearly 9 months. He's crawling, cruising and climbing and can climb the stairs by himself (obviously I follow him just in case). I'm sort of thinking about not getting stairgates, and just teaching him how to go up/down stairs safely.
There is nowhere in the house I can leave him unattended safely anyway, so I wouldn't be losing that. I think the only issue would be if/when he learns to climb out of bed. The problem with that is our bannisters. We have got stairs coming open plan into the living room and the bannister is 3 diagonal panels and at the top of the stairs, 3 horizontal panels (pics on profile as I'm not explaining v. well) which would be really easy for a toddler to climb up like a ladder, rendering any stairgate useless as he could climb up there and fall off the top and THEN down the stairs
i never had stairgates until DS went into a bed at 2.5 years old when i was worried about him wandering about at night, unattended
we never did. DD was supervised for most of the day and learnt how to go up and down stairs safely.
We have never had stairgates, but we do have one on DS's bedroom doorway so that he is contained in there. No problems at all
I didn't bother for either of my two. And we lived in two three story houses. They both learned to get up and down stairs without any mishaps luckily.
I didn't think I needed stairgates either - well I had one to keep the pup in the kitchen but not on the stairs. Then last month my DD (aged 14m) toppled from top to bottom. I was right beside her and she fell like a little rag doll. It was horrible. She was fine, not a single bruise on her but I now have a stair gate at the top of the stairs. Accidents can happen right in front of you and ever so quickly.
I only have one at the top and used it at the crawling early toddling stage as top of the stairs are very near the bathroom door and dd would love to crawl /toddle from bathroom to bedroom and it looked all to easy for her to trip / topple down the stairs. I use it now to stop her coming downstairs at bedtime!
Could not find one to fit on the bottom of the stairs - and dd was never left on her own long enough to get up the stairs on her own. I encouraged her to learn to do it safely with me right behind her.
You are right to be concerned about your ds climbing up the bannister panels - you could fit a flat piece of wood / plastic on the outside so it is smooth and offers no foothold.
We have a travel stair gate www.amazon.co.uk/BabyDan-Gate-Go-Travel-Grey/dp/B000KGERNA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=baby&qid=1246373256& sr=8-2 that is only put up now and then when DS is wandering about on his own downstairs. It's great cos it's just left off propped against the wall at night He also knows how to get up and down the stairs OK but it's good when you need to nip upstairs etc.
We have one but never used it much. Could certainly have managed without.
We have the same type of banister as you (he'll be sliding down the stair banister when he's older!) and at the top we have a large piece of MDF covering the landing side so there is nothing to climb up. DH screwed it onto blocks that fit between the horizontal bars, then screwed planks to the blocks going vertically on the back (over the stairs). That way, nothing is screwed to the banister itself and it can be removed completely without leaving a mess later. We also put a stairgate at the top of the stairs as DS's bedroom is closest to the stairs and I didn't want him heading off downstairs before we got up and feeding the fish to the DVD player or whatever else he could think of.
We had them top and bottom when the DDs were little as at the time we had the most dangerous staircase ever, in the most badly-designed house ever in fact, but anyway...
Now we have a more sensible house with doors between living area and staircase, with DS (nearly 3) we didn't need them.
So it depends on the house. In your shoes I'd definitely change the bannisters or do as others have suggested and fit a panel over them.
We never managed to get one to fit on our stairs. We had one on dd'd bedroom door, and kept the living room door closed. I did forget occasionanlly and found dd half way up the stairs - those heart stopping moments!
We have a stairgate on my daughter's bedroom door. She sleeps on a mattress on the floor. We don't have one anywhere else.
Have never used stairgates have shown the children how to get up and down as soon as they're crawling. Second son is now 12 months and can go up the stairs and come down when I supervise him at the top. He tries to go forwards at the moment but they learn to turn themselves round and come down backwards. Saves problems when you go somewhere with no stairgates.
We have a 13 mth old and do not have any stairgates, I just close the doors instead... however we do have a lot of doors and not open plan like you.
Never used them, taught dd to go up and down herself. Might have been different if we'd had more than one dc.
If your DS is like mine he may not settle for going up/down the way you taught him when he gets a bit older. Ours likes to experiment and although he knows how to crawl down backwards, he insists on trying to walk down the stairs forwards "like mummy", which even at 18mo he is not really able to do safely and consistently yet.
Also, now he is older, faster and more curious I find it much harder to have him constantly supervised, as he does run off when you are in the middle of things and don't always notice or can't always follow right away. So I would recommend stairgates tbh.
As for the banister, we have fixed a big sheet of painted plywood across the banisters at the top of our stairs (my parents did the same when we were small) to make the gaps safe.
Our dd#1 didn't crawl but shuffled on her bum instead, so it was hard to teach her how to descend properly. We resisted getting stairgates until she fell down the stairs She was fine, thank christ, but I sure felt guilty
Think really carefully about all possible situations before deciding for sure.
I've got a 16 month old and the situations I'd find v hard to manage without a gate are:
Making dinner - I let him potter around kitchen and lounge while I get on.
Having a wee - he roams around upstairs with gate shut while I'm in the loo
Having a shower/bath - same, he roams around upstairs
When someone comes to the door or my grocery delivey arrives and I'm busy signing for it and not got my eye on him 100%
I bought three stairgates. They're still in their boxes. Total waste for us!
we have really low door handles and DD can easily reach them (she's now 15m) so closing doors doesn't work for us.
we never got one after DS1 - so Ds2 and DD never had one.
I also always keep the doors open so they could move from room to room.
I can't remember with DS2 but I know that DD just used to be told 'wait for mummy' if she wanted to go upstairs and she learnt really quickly on her own. She especially liked sitting at the top of the first flight.
She never fell or had any problems at all.
I hate to say it but it was just another of those things that I didn't get excercised about. Maybe I was just lucky. The safety stuff just so often seems so....threatening IYSWIM. It is as if you have this new baby and you are, from the moment you conceive, being told of all the ways in which terrible things can happen. I just didn't want to be frightened of her in the house and just watched her and let her get on with it.She went into a big bed at about 18 months and just got on with that too
I am not trying to dismiss how others feel. Perhaps my attitude is shaped by my experience with DS2 - I did everything all those books told me and he ends up with a problem from his vaccination. I don't want to be watching her childhood through a veil of 'but OMG what if'.
That was a really long answer wasn't it
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