When you look at a banister, you see something to help you keep your balance as you traipse up and down the stairs. When a toddler looks at the same banister, he sees something he can squeeze though, lick and use to refine his climbing skills. When there is a young child involved, an unsecured banister is a disaster waiting to happen. Don’t leave your toddler’s safety to chance. Use these ideas to childproof the banister in your home.
Put a Barrier Over Slats
When the gaps between slats are too far apart, a toddler can push his noggin through and get it stuck. Even worse, a small child may be able to slide his entire body through and tumble to the lower level of the home. If your banister slats have gaps that are more than 3 inches wide, the Home Tips website recommends providing a barrier by clamping sheets of clear acrylic or styrene plastic to the balusters with cable ties. Alternatively, you can purchase a banister guard or secure a sturdy piece of wood over the slats.
If there are sharp edges on your banister, your toddler can crash into them and suffer nasty bruises and gashes on her head and face. If your tyke falls and hits the edge just right, she could lose an eye. To avoid these types of injuries, pad the banister with foam cushion strips. You can trim the cushion strips to fit your banister and adhere them with double-sided tape.
When people walk up and down the stairs, they may lean, push and tug on the banister as they grip it for support. If you have a child using the banister as a swing or monkey bar, it can really take a beating. Over time, the constant use can loosen the rails. Check your banister regularly and tighten it as needed.
Wipe Away Germs
When people go up and down the stairs, they transfer the germs and grime from their hands to the banister. When your toddler touches and mouths the germ-filled banister, she can get sick. Regularly wipe down your banister with warm soapy water to reduce the amount of viruses and bacteria your toddler picks up -- or spreads.