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Puzzled re keeping DS (3) safe at night

(52 Posts)
Bug2014 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:42:27

DS is 3 and very tall and since he's been in his own room he has had a stair gate on the door to keep him from going downstairs and wandering about the house getting into (dangerous) mischief at night. Soon he will either work out how to open the stair gate, or manage to climb over it, so we will have to remove it.
I am puzzled about what happens when we do- he is not really safe to use the stairs on his own yet, and obv by no means safe to have unsupervised access to the whole house if he gets up while we are asleep. What do people do in this situation? Just get a taller stair gate? Although he usually wakes us up instantly on waking by shouting from his room, I am concerned that he may wander about quietly at night without waking us, and come to some harm. It would be impossible to make the whole house completely safe for him, every night.
Any enlightenment appreciated!

ElizabethMedora Fri 27-Jun-14 12:49:19

Do you have any reason to think he will wander about a night? Is he up a lot in his bedroom in the night? I have to say I have no idea what people do as I am not aware of any of my friends having stairgates on the door of their 3 year old.

Chocotrekkie Fri 27-Jun-14 12:50:49

Stair gate at the top of the stairs ?

SecretSpy Fri 27-Jun-14 12:55:02

I had a gate at the top of the stairs only. Not least so they can go to the toilet. I think we got rid of all gates sometime around three.

WaffleWiffle Fri 27-Jun-14 12:56:57

Two things:

At 3 years old perhaps it is time to start teaching him how to be safe on the stairs.

The said, you still don't want him wandering downstairs at night. So as said, a stair gate at the top of the stairs would be reasonable.

greensnail Fri 27-Jun-14 12:57:46

Does he get up at night? It never crossed my mind to be concerned about this with my children. As you say, the first thing they do if they wake is shout for me or come into our room. We did keep a stair gate on the top of the stairs until youngest was about 3 just in case they came through to us during the night and got a bit disorientated in the dark while sleepy.

JuniperTisane Fri 27-Jun-14 12:58:31

We removed DS1s gate at his bedroom door earlier this year when he cracked no nappies overnight as I wanted him to have free access to the loo. The only place he ever actually wanders is into our bedroom and every single time he has we have woken and heard him within about 5 seconds of him getting out of bed.

We have a gate at the top of the stairs which he can climb over if he's determined but he never ever has bothered at night.

Take a deep breath, move the gate to the top of the stairs and stop worrying.

Bug2014 Fri 27-Jun-14 13:00:07

Oh yes, he is nearly there with the stairs- am just not convinced it is right to completely leave him to his own devices with it. Of course we show him how to be safe every time he uses it.

He does wake s

dotty2 Fri 27-Jun-14 13:00:43

Only you know your son - is he likely to get up and find matches to play with etc? At that age ours would just not have gone downstairs by themselves - they would have come and woken us up first (timid, scared of being upstairs when we were downstairs and vice versa). But other children I know are/were more confident and might have gone and fiddled with something dangerous, in which case more caution needed. But either way, you are getting to the age when you can't depend on physical barriers and need to think about keeping certain high-risk stuff (medicines, chemicals, matches etc) out of reach all the time, and teaching him to be sensible around the medium risk stuff. You can't keep getting higher and higher stair gates!

Bug2014 Fri 27-Jun-14 13:03:19

..wake at night sometimes and we do have a stair gate at the top of the stairs as well. Even the thought of him having unsupervised access to the bathroom is a bit scary, tbh. What if he ran water in the bath and climbed in?

madamweasel Fri 27-Jun-14 13:04:34

Perhaps a few 'special' toys in his bedroom that keep him occupied so if he does wake up and get out of bed, he isn't tempted to search out mischief further afield. And a gate at the top of the stairs. Could you add some little jingle bells to the gate when you go to bed so that if he does try to interfere with it you will hear him.

jerryfudd Fri 27-Jun-14 13:06:30

Never really worried about the kids venturing downstairs in the night but if they did we'd know about it as they'd set the alarm off as downstairs sensors left on at night

BeanyIsPregnant Fri 27-Jun-14 13:07:15

How deep do you sleep?!?? I think you would probably hear him running a bath! From experience, your instincts take over, you probably won't sleep well for the first week because you'll be on alert all the time, but when dc wake up in the night they are tired, probably a bit scared of the dark I wouldn't use the stairs without a light now and I'm 22.. and just want a wee and/ or a cuddle.... Give it a shot and just take the gate off, maybe to make yourself feel better pt away some of the bigger risks from downstairs?

Beehatch Fri 27-Jun-14 13:09:03

Kids running a bath at night has never occurred to me. Wouldn't you hear it? Remover the plug if you really think it a risk.

We did have a gate at top of stairs, mostly to stop them going down and watching TV at ungodly hours

Heathcliff27 Fri 27-Jun-14 13:13:56

We just had stairgate at top of stairs. Never had one on bedroom doorway, too much like a prison feeling for us but I know that many parents do use a stairgate there.

You can't live your life wondering what if?? all the time. Maybe time to teach him how to be safe rather than trying to prevent every imaginary scenario.

Bug2014 Fri 27-Jun-14 13:14:29

Thanks all, you're making me feel better- will definitely try the bells on gate, movement sensor on stairs and favourite toys in room. He is very sensible and some of what we tell him does seem to be starting to go in now, e.g. he knows we look before crossing the road. Also just like Grandma he is a complete bull in a china shop and we would hear him a mile off should he so much as get out of bed at night once the gate is off! Just need to bite the bullet and do it.

LiegeAndLief Fri 27-Jun-14 13:18:58

I think you might be overthinking this and maybe being a little over anxious. He'll have to have unsupervised access to the bathroom when you take off the night nappies surely? My brain has adjusted such that the sound of either dc's bedroom door opening snaps me awake instantly, I'm sure you would wake if he got up.

Also, unless you have unusually steep dangerous stairs or your ds has SN, he is fine to go down the stairs by himself. I don't know anyone, even my most overprotective friends, who were still following their dc up and down he stairs at 3. If you are still worried maybe you could teach him to bump down on his bottom when you're not there.

As a practical measure you could maybe put a high bolt on the kitchen door and make sure all medicines etc are safely out of reach in the bathroom.

marne2 Fri 27-Jun-14 13:27:37

We have locks on kitchen and bathroom door, we used stair gates until dd was 5, she's now 8 and the locks work well ( before anyone says 'a 8 year old does not need locks' my dd has Autism ).

ElizabethMedora Fri 27-Jun-14 14:15:06

I say this gently OP but do you think you might be particularly anxious? Worrying about him running a bath & getting in seems a bit like your anxiety levels might be a bit higher than is standard.

Bug2014 Fri 27-Jun-14 14:43:06

I don't see it as anxious, I see it as logical: drowning is one of the most common causes of death in young children, so surely water-related risks should be one of the first types you seek to identify...interested to hear your viewpoint though.

youbethemummylion Fri 27-Jun-14 14:47:50

Would he actually leave his room? We shut the doors to our sons rooms not leave ajar and if they have ever woken in the night they know to knock on the door or shout for us and wait for us to come to them.

ElizabethMedora Fri 27-Jun-14 15:03:40

I can see worrying about water if there is, say, an undenied pond in your back garden, or you are walking along a canal, but I have to say - worrying that your 3 year old will wake up in the middle of the night, not wake you, go into the bathroom, run a bath, climb in & drown doesn't seem logical.

Heathcliff27 Fri 27-Jun-14 15:25:14

Sorry but I agree it does seem a bit illogical and over cautious, learning home safety is part of growing up. Do you let him do anything for himself? Sorry that sounds harsh but I can't be doing with babying.

MikeLitoris Fri 27-Jun-14 15:30:36

I won't take dd's gate off yet. She is 3 and I trust her on the stairs but they are really unsafe. She can climb over it but hasn't done it all night as yet. Our toilet is downstairs and I'm not happy about her being down there alone at night yet. Atm she stands at her door and calls us anyway.

justtheonemrswembley Fri 27-Jun-14 15:33:18

I know how you feel and can see exactly why you're worried - I don't think you're worrying about nothing. My ds is also 3 and another climber - she could climb out of her cot bed at 16 months so we moved her into a big girl bed with a safety gate on the door. She's now nearly able to climb that so we are also wondered what to do next. We have a gate at the top of the stairs too (to prevent ds making a bid for freedom! ) but this obviously won't be much use once she can climb it. Climbers just climb - it's what they do! Anybody lucky enough to have a largely ground-based child should consider themselves lucky :-)

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