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When did you let your toddler use the stairs freely?

(69 Posts)

My ds (2.3) can walk up the stairs very competently, and comes down backwards, but the only practise he gets of the stairs is when we go up and down with him.

Was wondering when should we take the stairgate off and let him use the stairs? I'm quite scared of him falling down and seriously hurting himself, but that's always going to be an issue because the stairs aren't carpeted and the ground floor is tiled. WWYD?

Or should we get a couple of thick rugs to use as a crash mat at the bottom of the stairs? <frets>

DS was about 2y2m. We had stairgates and planned to just leave them up as we were expecting DD, but had some furniture delivered so had to take them down, and just decided to leave them down for now (they were the type with the bar across the bottom, so left open were probably more dangerous than not there at all iyswim!). I think for the first week or so we were probably quite aware of when he was using the stairs, but within a month we just let him use them as he likes (with a huge telling off for playing on them or right at the top). I'd get a thick rug for the bottom and just see how he gets on!

FlappyTheBat Sun 25-Oct-09 12:37:20

Have never been able to have stairgate on our stairs since we moved house several years ago. So dd1 would have been 16months.

Luckily, the staircase twists round so if they ever fell, would only be a few stairs and not the full amount.

Bit of a different situation from OP though, I would maybe go for a thick rug at the bottom of the stairs just incase of any falls.

littleducks Sun 25-Oct-09 12:39:27

eerm we have carpet and laminate ds is 18 mo and goes up and down as he wishes mostly and has done for a while n(sometime after his birthday)

he climbs up and slithers down on tummy

nightofthewakingdead Sun 25-Oct-09 12:46:25

We only used a stairgate while the DS were crawling.

We also have tiles at the bottom and wooden steps.

Let him practise for a couple of days while watching and then leave him to it.

I find they don't really want to go up that much on their own anyway once the novelty has worn off.

WoTmania Sun 25-Oct-09 16:48:28

DS2 squeezed under the stairgate at around 13 months and was a wizz a going up and down.

WoTmania Sun 25-Oct-09 16:49:07

oh, and we had uncarpeted stairs and wooden floors.

cleanandclothed Sun 25-Oct-09 16:50:42

I haven't actually ever had gates on the stairs, just over a couple of rooms. DS has been going up and down for the last couple of months on his own and he is just 1. But he doesn't walk yet - so I might start supervising him again then, not sure. And our stair are all straight, no twisty bits.

Adair Sun 25-Oct-09 16:54:21

Like Littleducks, about 9/10months for both, slithering down... dd was giving it a go at 7mths hmm

Disclaimer - we live in a flat with two small flights of about ten steps each. Kids have run of flat, much easier. Though do hate stairgates at top of stairs, they terrify me.

juuule Sun 25-Oct-09 16:58:02

Let him use the stairs when you feel confident about him using them. It can vary from child to child when they are ready.

Once he got up stairs what would he be doing? I wouldn't leave him to his own devices up there for any length of time anyway. So, just monitoring him up the stairs to fetch something and coming back down again while you wait at the bottom might reassure you that he is okay with it.

defyinggravity Sun 25-Oct-09 17:23:39

I'm glad I've seen this thread as this is a worry for me too. We live in a Victorian house with quite steep steps, no curves at all and it has the original tiled hallway. I'm sure ds is perfectly capable of going up and down but it worries me to death. He's 21 months btw.

MrsBadger Sun 25-Oct-09 17:30:20

iirc dd is the same age as your ds, James&TGB and we ditched the stairgates a year ago.

we did go up and down with her every time at first, but we are in a townhouse (so 6 short flights) so she got pretty good pretty fast...

vvvodka Sun 25-Oct-09 17:40:03

about fifteen months, or slightly earlier, not sure.

stair gates are incredibly dangerous. ive had a child fall down on one, and slide down the stairs, we were very lucky he escaped with only a few bruises. the important thing, is to teach a child how to use something safely, and then let them.
falling down carpeted stairs doesnt hurt as much, if you are, a, very small, and b, not hurtdling againsta a metal stairgate.

if i could, i would never ever use them, but unfortunatley they are necessary for that short period of time, when a crawler hasnt yet learnt how to come down backwards.

[waves to MrsBadger]

Thanks for your input everybody, I almost feel like we've left it a bit late!

Our stairs are a bit steep, 13 steps, straight down. We do have an old piece of carpet which I may cut up and use several layers as a crash mat. Dp isn't keen at all, so maybe we need to do a trial run and see how we go.

At the top of the stairs is his bedroom, and a doorway which leads to the two other bedrooms so I was going to move the stairgate to across that doorway so he only had free access to his room, and then (the magic aspect of the plan!) he could actually have some toys upstairs instead of all downstairs under my feet! That's the theory anyway.

He'd be allowed to play in his room a bit (there's nothing in there he could damage or hurt himself on) as long as he learned to respect the stairs and not play on them. What do you think?

MrsBadger Sun 25-Oct-09 17:57:50

this is going to be unpopular but dd loves playing on the stairs, and it's been a good way to help her learn their (and her) limitations eg jumping off the bottom step etc

we also sit on the bottom step of the last flight (from bathroom to bedroom) for bedtime stories

so we have normalised them into her world rather than demonised them, if that makes sense, but we have had a year to do it in and because of the layout of the hosue we are all up and down all of them all the time.

she has only tried to ride her wheelybug down them once, and once was enough!

punchandjudy Sun 25-Oct-09 18:03:15

When ds could undo the stairgate by himself..and even then we turned they around so he couldn't open them again due to the opposite hand movements..it bought us a couple of extra months. I think he was about 3.7 years.

Even now (at 4.2) we have still got the one at the top of the stairs even though he can undo it..as if he has woken up in the night and is half asleep he won't topple down the stairs by mistake. But then I am a worrier by nature

juuule Sun 25-Oct-09 18:04:21

Not sure why you think you've left it a bit too late <puzzled>. At some point he'll go up and down quite confidently anyway.

Personally, I wouldn't have left my 2yo on his own upstairs for long.

ministryofsleep Sun 25-Oct-09 18:05:46

ds2 is 20 months and has been going up and down the stairs freely for about 2-3 months, DS1 (PFB) was much later - almost 2.5 blush

vvvodka Mon 26-Oct-09 10:58:09

punch, i would be very very very wary of a stair gate at the top of the stairs, and a four year old. sounds like anaccident in themakinjg

Right then, dp won't much like it but I think I'll give it a go, I'll stick three or four layers of carpet at the bottom of the stairs, stick ds's new rubbery grip slippers on him and go for it. I think he'll love having access to his room (and I'll love the instant reduction in toys around here)

Just really hoping we don't have any silly accidents. Fingers crossed!

EyeballsintheSky Mon 26-Oct-09 11:17:30

Hmm, dd is 21 months and can do stairs confidently, has done for about 6 months. We still have a stairgate at the bottom as we also have steep Victorian steps and wooden floor at the bottom. Never occurred to me to take the stairgate off for at least another 10 years . Maybe I should start thinking about it.

allaboutme Mon 26-Oct-09 11:23:40

Havent used the gates now for 2 or 3 months and DS2 is 20 months.
He has free run of the house and quite often potters upstairs to play in his room or downstairs to the playroom while I am in the kitchen (middle floor, town house)

AngryPixie Mon 26-Oct-09 11:28:13

Never had stair gates, taught DC3 the feet first method for crawling down and now at 20 months he walks up and comes down backwards or bumping on his bottom confidently. I don't follow him around, all the upstairs doors are closed so he can only get into his bedroom.

Mybox Mon 26-Oct-09 11:31:49

Don't have stairgates as have older kids. dd is just 2 and needs a hand going up & down.

pinkpip100 Mon 26-Oct-09 12:14:06

Just to be controversial... like the OP we also have a single steep flight of uncarpeted stairs leading to a stone tiled floor, which terrifies me tbh, and we still have stairgates at the top and bottom - DS1 is 4.7, DS2 is 2.10 and DD1 is 7 months. I'm happy for DS1 to go up and down on his own, but DS2 is not the most cautious child so I go up and down with him everytime. DD1 isn't on the move yet - though I doubt we'll get the gates off before she is, which means they'll be there for another 2-3 years shock.

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