Archive for the ‘staircase safety’ Tag

Hall and Stairway Safety: Part II

Picking up where we left off yesterday, here is the remainder of my hall and stairway checklist. Look it over (and don’t forget to check out Part I) to make sure you know all the “do’s and don’ts” of these potentially dangerous, high-traffic areas.

5. Keep stairs free of all objects.

6. Never put floor wax or polish on stairs; if you do, you’ll own one dangerous Slip N’ Slide.

7. As cool as spiral staircases and steps with open risers may look, they are not very easy to negotiate. Think twice before acquiring this type of stairway. If you do have either of these kinds of stairs and you have small children, do not allow them unsupervised access.

8. Balconies or upper levels with railings are no place for an unsupervised child. If a child will be present in an area of your home with a railing in place to prevent falls, make sure the rails are too close for your child to squeeze their body through or cause entrapment of a body part. If the rails are too far apart, add additional rails or cover the openings.

9. Cover, remove, or replace any hard, sharp, or otherwise risky edges or protrusions on stair rails and banisters.

10. A safe stairway has at least one handrail positioned at a comfortable level for adults (about 32 inches). If children too small to use the adult hand rail safely will also be climbing the stairs, a second railing should be installed below the first at an appropriate height.

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Keeping Kids Safe: Staircase and Hallway Safety

Staircases and hallways are high-traffic areas and should be monitored for safety hazards. Knowing what to look out for is the first step toward keeping those areas safe for the whole family.

1. Safety gates can be used to prevent very young children from accessing unsafe areas such as open staircases. Don’t forget, however, that hurtling safety gates can pose its own safety risks. Try to position gates in such a way that allows you to regain safe footing after stepping over and before starting down the stairs. If that’s not possible, make sure you purchase a gate that can operate as a swinging gate. If family members and guests can simply open the gate, as opposed to dislodging it completely each time they need to pass through. This way, they will be less inclined, at least hypothetically, to try to hurtle the gate or attempt some other less-than-safe method of passage.

2. Halls and stairs need to be safe to use as night too. Make sure all nighttime traffic areas are well-lit and kept free from toys, decorations, unsecured rugs or runners, and other items that could cause falls or be dangerous to fall on to or walk in to.

3. Stairs should be checked periodically for signs of structural instability.

4. Carpeting stairs can provide a slip-resistant walking surface and some degree of cushioning in the event of a fall. Runners or carpeting that only covers the middle portion of the steps, however, can be more dangerous than a bare walking surface. The change in surfaces can lead to some serious falls when one foot winds up on a carpeted section of a step and the other lands on a part without.

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