Babies go from being relatively stationary to pulling themselves up on anything available within a few short months. Unguarded stairways are an obvious safety hazard, but unsafe railings can also cause injury and death, reports the Consumer Product and Safety Commission. Making the railings in your home safe for your baby isn't difficult, but it does require thoughtful attention to structure and detail.
Install railing shields or banister shields along your baby's crib and along any stair railings where a soda can can fit through the rails or posts. Covering these openings prevents your baby from getting his limbs or neck stuck in the railing, explains SafeKids.org. Railing or banister shields are available at any major baby store and contain a long piece of mesh material that wraps around the railing to prevent your tiny one from accessing any of the dangerous gaps and openings.
Replace any pressure-fit or V-shaped railings with sturdier screw-in models. Railings that require screw-in installation are more secure, and therefore less likely to fall over or become loose, notes SafeKids.org. Railings and gates that form a sharp V when folded can potentially strangle a baby who gets her head stuck in the folding V, explains the Consumer Product and Safety Commission. Pressure-fitted, temporary railings -- those that expand lengthwise to fit snugly into either side of the wall -- can be pushed down by a baby trying to climb or pulling herself up to stand.
Remove any hanging ornaments, swings or anything else tied to a railing. Regardless of the railing height, things like hanging cords, straps, ribbon or even string can be a strangulation risk for your little one. Babies love to explore anything that hangs, swings or shines, which is why even seemingly benign decorations like tinsel or streamers can be hazardous to your curious tyke. A low-sitting swing or climbing rope hanging from an outside deck railing or second-floor indoor railing can pose similar risks.
Make your railings safe before your baby has an accident or a near miss.
Remember to make every railing in the house safe, not just the ones that your baby is most likely to encounter.
Always check government recalls before using any hand-me-down equipment, including cribs and temporary railings.