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Safeguarding Stairs

(9 Posts)
Editorialmoo Wed 12-Nov-14 14:44:25

Hi there,

We are moving into a rented property and the stairs are painted wood with horizontal bannisters that have big gaps between them.

I wondered if anyone had come across innovative solutions to prevent small children slipping on the stairs (I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 5 month old) and also slipping crawling through the bannisters, which are also on the first floor.

We are looking for something that will not damage the wooden stairs to minimise repairs when we leave.

I've posted a pic of similar bannisters although with these ones the gaps are much bigger and the spindles much smaller.

Any help would be appreciated and if anyone knows a builder/ fitter who might be able to help out that would be great.

Thank you!

SolomanDaisy Wed 12-Nov-14 15:38:34

If the gaps are big enough for a toddler to fall through then they probably don't meet safety standards and you should ask your landlord to replace them. We had to do this when we rented our house out. If they won't, you can get safety devices, like this:

specialsubject Wed 12-Nov-14 19:39:19

no, in the UK the landlord does not have to replace them unless they are wobbly/loose. You have decided to take the property after viewing it as it is.

BUT (hold your bile, landlord-haters) that doesn't mean adaptations cannot be made. Obviously stair gate top and bottom, with a pressure-fit so nothing permanent. Some kind of trellis/mesh netting that is too small to stick little feet in and so can't be climbed; I've known this used to toddler-proof a gate to a road. This can be wrapped/securely tied on the banisters on the landings which are not blocked off by the stairgate.

as for the flooring - toddlers can slip on anything and will. Obviously if it is glassy smooth then landlord does need to do something, but otherwise it is a matter of stair lessons.

SolomanDaisy Wed 12-Nov-14 20:08:36

My understanding was that it falls under the defective premises act, and by renting out a property where you know the bannisters are wide enough for a toddler to fall through, you become liable for any accidents. That could be wrong though, as I have limited knowledge! I didn't look into it, because it just seemed sensible to replace the bannisters. It's not expensive either.

Editorialmoo Wed 12-Nov-14 20:40:18

The landlord basically said what specialsubject said and I can see their point. I fell in love with the house and it didn't even occur to me till I went round for a third time and actually clocked the stairs as a potential hazard.

I'll look into the bannister guard and some kind of trellis and of course education is the way forwards. I suppose I'm just anxious about the whole thing and having a potential death trap in the middle of the house! Worse case scenario we can leave after 6 months but I think we'll have solved it by then.

Thank you!

specialsubject Wed 12-Nov-14 22:27:14

if stairs were invented now they'd never be allowed!

horizontal slats are a bad idea with kids because they can be climbed, but houses are not all designed for child safety. Fortunately there are easy, inexpensive and non-damaging workarounds. If the gaps really are big enough for the child to fall through that is seriously sixties.

My rental has an unfenced terrace in the garden, the lady with a toddler who viewed asked if she could fit a gate to prevent access until her child was older. She didn't see it as a complex problem nor did she expect me to deal with it for her.

InaPuckle Wed 12-Nov-14 22:35:02

Stair gates are not essential, which I wished someone had told me when my DS was younger. Teach the children how to get down the stairs safely, going down backwards is best, facing up, hands on the stairs if needs be. Strictly no playing on the stairs or climbing. The trouble with stair gates is that stairs in someone else's house without gates become a nightmare.

BaffledSomeMore Wed 12-Nov-14 22:36:38

Can you get some bamboo screening panels and cable tie them to the top part to prevent climbing?

SolomanDaisy Wed 12-Nov-14 22:47:26

I was the landlord of that house btw not a tenant being demanding. Maybe I am over cautious about stairs. We're actually getting a complete new staircase in our new house, as I don't think the existing one is safe enoughblush.

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