Spiral staircases look classy, but can also be a headache in some ways. In addition to the problem of trying to get furniture up them when moving, this type of staircase poses a whole new set of problems when trying to childproof. The reason this can be trickier than traditional staircases is that they are often freestanding, meaning the sides don't back up to walls. Kids can fall on the stairs, stick their arms, legs or heads through the spaces between bars on the sides, or throw toys of books through the sides, possibly causing injury to people in the room below. To prevent injuries, proper childproofing is important.
Install gates at the top and bottom of spiral staircases. If there are no walls at the top or bottom and the staircases are freestanding, you might need to get creative. Since many baby gates require walls to be pressure mounted, you may have an issue if there is nothing to attach the gates to. In this case, use zip ties to secure the sides of the baby gates to the metal or wooden posts at the top or bottom of the staircase. The best option if using zip ties is to install a walk-through gate, which has a "door" you can open instead of stepping over the gate. Fasten the zip ties tightly so the gate doesn't wiggle or sway.
Purchase and attach non-slip mats on each riser of the spiral staircase. Although the idea is that your child won't be on the stairs unattended, this will add an extra safeguard if he does happen to get there by himself. These mats will give your child traction to keep from slipping and falling on the stairs.
Install clear banister guards. These flexible plastic sheets are designed for installing on banisters at the top of staircases to keep kids from either sticking body parts through the slats or pushing toys onto the stairs below. However, due to the clear, flexible nature of these guards, they are also ideal for curving with a spiral staircase and filling the same needs as at the top of stairs. Banister guards are easy to install with zip ties securing them to each post.
Contact a professional childproofer to get an estimate for having formed hard plastic made for your spiral staircase. This strong plastic curves around your staircase, following the metal or wooden railings, and can keep young children from getting body parts caught in the railings or falling through wide openings. While this can be pricey, it will offer you peace of mind in the long term and makes spiral staircases much safer.
Things You'll Need
- Baby gates
- Zip ties
- Non-slip riser mats
- Clear plastic banister guards
Never store items on the stairs, even for a few minutes. For example, don't leave books, laundry or toys on the bottom stair to bring up later, as tempting as it can be. If your child is able to get up onto the steps somehow, he can trip on these items, or throw them over the side, breaking them or causing injury to himself or his siblings. Also, seeing items on the steps can tempt him to start climbing.
- Never store items on the stairs, even for a few minutes. For example, don't leave books, laundry or toys on the bottom stair to bring up later, as tempting as it can be. If your child is able to get up onto the steps somehow, he can trip on these items, or throw them over the side, breaking them or causing injury to himself or his siblings. Also, seeing items on the steps can tempt him to start climbing.
Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.