Baby gate or no baby gate??

A - posted on 11/20/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Okay so my son is 18 months old. We have stairs going down to the basement. I have a baby gate up at both ends- going up and coming down. He's my only child so I keep a pretty good eye on him, but sometimes (like if I run upstairs for 1 minute to grab the laundry basket) I'll come back and he's dangling over the gate climbing over it.

He has no problem climbing up the stairs. He has the ability go safely climb down the stairs but cannot walk down them and sometimes he tries to step off instead of turning around and climbing down.

I just don't know if its time to take the gates down or not. While I don't want him falling down climbing the gate, its a much shorter fall then if he were to fall down the entire flight of stairs. Maybe I should work with him and put a hand rail up and stop helping him walk down the stairs so he learns thats how he needs to get down them everytime? I would feel better if the stairs were carpeted or less steep, but they are wood and steep making the fall that much harder should it happen.

What do you guys think?

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Krista - posted on 11/20/2010

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Either way, you should have a hand rail up -- for his safety and yours. Marina's idea of stacking the gates is a good one. I've also seen extra-tall gates at Babies R Us, but they're pressure-mounted, so they'd only be good for the bottom of the stairs, not the top.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/20/2010

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Man o man...this is a complicated one. I would definately leave the gate up. My son was 2 (and a very very good stair climber) when he turned around to quickly near stairs...stumbled on his own 2 feet, and went cartwheeling down!! SCARY!! If it is an open sairwell, that is the safest thing in my opinion. As far as climbing over the gate, they have gates that have vertical bars, some that are taller than average...maybe stack one on top of the other? I don't know. I use to fall down the stairs alot when I was a kid due to lack of gates. Infact, that is one of the times I broke my nose!

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My son was 15 months and he worked out how to open every stairgate i bought so my only option was to teach him how to use the stairs safely. He didnt have any accidents after i did that.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/21/2010

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Soo, since my first post, and reading through everyone elses I have been really thinking about this. I was pretending like it was my house and what I would do. Have you ever considered just putting up a door? I know it is alot of work to frame it etc but it might be worth it. Or my other thought, and my favorite, one of those half doors! you can put the latch on the other side that adults can only reach. Some of them come with a lip that would make it pretty difficult to climb over. If you have someone handy around, it could be a nice solution and safety addition to the house. I am not sure if you own or rent...if you rent, you can tell the Landord that it is a safety hazard and see what they will do. Good luck!

[deleted account]

I agree with putting up a handrail either way. I'm a grown woman and can hardly make it up a flight of stairs without falling if there's nothing to hold on to lol! Since you live in a house with stairs, you definitely need to work with your son on practicing going up and down them. I'm from Florida and recently moved to NY and so my son isn't used to stairs AT ALL. But when we first moved up and were staying with my in-laws we used to go up and down, up and down. To him it was a game, but in the process of him having fun, he also learned the basics. I agree with the other ladies about finding a taller baby gate with the vertical rails that he can't climb. One that's attached to the walls at the top of the stairs. At the bottom, you could probably just keep using the gate you already have. If you put it below the bottom step, then he's already at a height disadvantage going UP, if that makes sense.

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A - posted on 11/21/2010

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A door is a really good suggestion. We have one tall metal gate with the vertical bars and he can still get over that, and I just don't see any other gate being any more effective, and I just think he would keep climbing. If I'm going to have to spend $$ I think a door would be our best solution. We own so thats no problem, but we have no money right now. Maybe in the near future with tax return season coming up we can install one. I've always wanted a door to the basement anyway to buffer sound when my husband is up and about down there in the mornings while my son and I sleep in. Good suggestion :)

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Investing in a GOOD, SOLID gate is something you won't regret. The chaper, flimsy ones can cause damage in mere seconds. We had the top and bottom stairs gated until my son was easily close to his 3rd birthday. I just wasn;t taking any chances, no matter how well he perfected the stairs. When HE was able to step down onteh pressure mounted release pedal, then I knew it was time to remove the gates. (And sold them on CL!) Ironically, I still keep one baby gate to separate the dog from the cat food, which is behind the kitchen!

Bonnie - posted on 11/21/2010

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Just wanted to say that the ones that are a really hard plastic that you pull out to adjust to the width of your staircase or doorway are not the greatest. We used those and I don't know if over time they became warped or what. When my boys use to play near it when my younest was about 12-15 months old, somehow my son got pushed into it and the gate happened to remove itself, fell down the stairs and took my son with it. That was really scary. He was okay, but at that point we decided the boys are playing rough and to just take it down as he could fall either way. After that point, it was better not having the gate up.

Katherine - posted on 11/21/2010

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I agree with the hardware gates. Get one installed that's taller. If your stairs are that steep I wouldn't take the gate down, AND they're hardwood.
The have the ones with the doors you can open if you step on them. Maybe costly, but worth it.

Becky - posted on 11/20/2010

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We haven't had a baby gate up for a while - since we moved in, actually. Our staircase is weird and a gate didn't fit on it properly. So I just supervisd our youngest really well. He's 14 1/2 months now and is already a champ at going up and down stairs -crawling, not walking. When he starts trying to walk up and down, that will make me more nervous. I still watch him on the stairs, but he's good on them.
I would be worried if he's trying to climb over the gate. If he falls over the gate and all the way down the stairs, he's really going to get hurt! So, I'd probably take it down and definitly install a handrail.

Lacye - posted on 11/20/2010

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I would do what jessica said with the gates! I haven't had to worry about Lily falling down the stairs, she's 18 months and can step down on her own, but I'm scared of stairs, yes you can laugh! lol! When I was about 2 or 3 years old, I fell down some stairs and I have a scar on my right ankle because of it. So that is the reason why I'm nervous when it comes to stairs.

A - posted on 11/20/2010

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How scary Jessica! I'll add the gate I have at the top does have vertical bars and he's still able to pull himself up on it. :(

Jessica - posted on 11/20/2010

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I say get a taller gate or one with vertical bars that he can't climb, and then work with him on learning how to walk down stairs. That way you can have a gate up for a bit longer so you aren't worried for him while he's learning to go down safely.

My 17 month old fell down our stairs a couple weeks ago and I've never felt so bad in my life! He never shows any interest in going down them but this time I guess he just lost his footing and fell; I was standing right there but happened to have my back turned for 2 seconds... and down he went. Thankfully it was only 4 stairs and not the whole way down (there's a landing with a door to outside and then the rest of the stairs go down from that) and he ended up being ok, just really scared. But yikes was it scary, and not my best moment!

C. - posted on 11/20/2010

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Well, my son didn't really grow up around stairs.. BUT, I say if he's trying to climb over the gate, it's time to get rid of it b/c him falling from climbing will probably cause worse injury than him climbing up or down the stairs alone and falling. Good luck! My son is a daredevil, too.. It definitely keeps you on your toes :)

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