stair rail safety

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Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680
stair rail safety

Hi, I was wondering if anyone can help me figure out how to childproof the top of the rails. I'm afraid the kids will pull up a chair (or anything) to the rail and fall over. The problem is there is a great deal of the rails which doesn't have wall to anchor any sort of attachment to.

thanks!

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3229

Hi and welcome to Pregnancy.org!

I'm not sure if I understand your question. Are you referring to the top of a banister (such as along a second floor balcony?)

Let us know! I'm sure some mom's here will weigh in with their ideas and solutions!

~Missy

MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3229

Since the OP has not yet come back, I am still curious about the answer.

I love the homes that showcase a vaulted ceiling in the living/great room that is overlooked by a second floor balcony (leading to bedrooms?) They always look so very elegant but I can envision those kids that go sliding/climbing. Without watching them E-V-E-R-Y second, is there anything that those of you do with balconies like this to make them safer for your little ones? As I *think* the OP was asking, some children... in a desire to "see over" (or to give their parents a heart attack!) will push chairs, boxes, or even toys to climb on.

Outside of the rail nets to prevent slippage, I don't believe that I've seen a *product* that would protect a small child from accidentally falling (up and) over a balcony rail for indoor use. I have seen high rise outdoor balconies with the floor to ceiling screens.

For those with this worry, is there anything else other than watching them that you do to help safeguard your little ones?

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I have seen people tape tacks to the edge of the railing, so that the pointy part is pointing out. The idea is that if their child grabs hold of the railing to gain leverage to climb, they will get the tacks in their hand, and it will hurt. Therefore discouraging them from climbing over the railing. Not sure how well it works, but they didnt have any problems.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

Yes, this is what I was asking, thank you so much. and you described my kids :).

There were no single story houses for rent unfortunately. These houses are beautiful but not practical for us. I have googled extensively and could not find anytHing or even anyone with this concern, weird. I am Sorry it took so long to come back - I got a little busy :).

Joined: 08/08/12
Posts: 1

Nice Post?Thanks For sharing the info.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4103

I have a number of friends who live in upper-floor apartments where a balcony overlooks the stairs from the front door. Most do a combination of Angel not allowing anything near the balcony that can be climbed on (b) warning the kids that anything thrown over or used as a step will be confiscated *forever* and really mean it & do it and (c) making sure that the railing itself is as safe as possible. Many of these places are close to 100 years old, so if they haven't been recently remodeled, the gaps might be too wide so the parents install a plastic shield (it's safer than netting) across them.

Another problem, which sounds like yours, is that the railings are sometimes too short -- my upstairs neighbor's is just over knee height, yikes, I've worried about falling over it myself! Some people have gotten a carpenter to build a second railing across the top of the existing rail, to raise it another couple of feet, or have installed some support beams to hold rigid plastic panels that extend another 3 feet higher; others have completely replaced the existing rail with a taller one. And some of them have completely filled the space with lattice work which provides a sense of openness while closing off the space. You can buy premade latticework panels at Lowes or Home Depot, but be sure to get the thickest one you can afford, 3/4 inch is the best, 1/2 inch or 3/8 inch would be OK. You'll need to install a couple of good strong support beams to connect them to, but it could all theoretically be removed when the kids get bigger. Another poster mentioned taping down tacks; you can buy strips of carpet tacks at places like Lowes or Home Depot & just nail them down.

And finally, since you mentioned that you're a renter, check your state laws because there might be a requirement for the owner to bring a balcony railing up to code before renting to children. If not, then at least ask him for permission before doing anything beyond the most temporary installation, and maybe even ask him to share the cost since you're making the place safer for the next tenants. Good luck!

Kid Kushion Kid Shield, 15', Childproofing-Deck Balcony Safety
Clear Banister Guard Kit for Kids Safety - One Step Ahead Baby
Shop Lattice at Lowes.com

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

You're so kind for the lengthy reply. Fortunately, the stairs are all up to code and the right height. But, my kids are really adventurous. Only once did pull something up to the rails at the top to climb up to hang slightly over the top of the rail. My husband got on to them a lot and explained how dangerous it is. I 'think' they understand. We pretty much don't keep anything that can be taken to the rail, eg chairs etc. But they drug a giant (fairly heavy) container and stood on it. I watch them carefully though. I do know there can be times when I'm temporarily in another room, so I was just trying to be as safe as possible.

Joined: 10/11/12
Posts: 1

And finally, since you mentioned that you're a renter, check your state laws because there might be a requirement for the owner to bring a balcony railing up to code before renting to children. If not, then at least ask him for permission before doing anything beyond the most temporary installation,

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I have the same or similar problem as the original poster, and we really need a solution. Our child isn't even 2 yet, so he has no understanding of the dangers, nor can we explain it of course, but he is able to climb the 2nd floor hallway balcony that overlooks our 1st floor and is going to go right over the top the first time he gets out of eyesight for a few seconds. I'm very scared about it. He just started climbing out of his crib a week or so ago (so he's in the toddler bed now) but he's using the same technique of just pulling himself up with his arms until he gets a foot on top and then, with some struggle of course, can get himself right up and would-be over. If he's near the wall perpendicular to the balcony it's even easier for him because he just gets his feet against that wall to help himself up. The balcony itself is just a bare wall, no rails or anything to help him climb; he's reaching the top flat wooden rail with his hands and just pulling himself up until he gets that foot over.

We do everything we can in terms of keeping his bedroom door closed and using those door-knob proofing devices, but I just know there's going to be one day when the door doesn't latch, or he somehow gets the knob turned, or someone just turns their back for moment, and then it's a 12-15ft drop to hardwood floors.

If anyone has a solution please, please post. (I saw the one about tacks, but am wary of that for a few reasons and figure there MUST be a better solution out there.)

Thanks everyone.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

I feel for you. I know it is scary. We thankfully haven't had any issues.

Is there no way at all to block any of it off and keep him downstairs? I finally found proper stair gates for spindle stairs and that helps to keep my little one off the stairs. I just haven't found anything that addresses this issue otherwise. The only thing I can think to tell you is maybe you can hire a contractor if it's your own house and build some sort of safety shield around the top of the stairs rails.

Joined: 11/09/12
Posts: 1

Thanks so much. (I can't validate my account for some reason, hence the new user name).

I have to ask what safety gate you were able to get that worked with spindle stairs... although I didn't mention it we have the exact same problem and couldn't find anything that would work. A gate at the top of the stairs seemed like a really awful idea when he started climbing and putting all his weight on that, too, and at the bottom we have the spindle problem.

As for the going-over-the-balcony issue, having a safety shield custom built is the only solution I've come up with in my own mind as well. Unfortunately, we just moved here and this is a rental home for at least 6 months until we find our own. We keep him downstairs as much as possible, but it's just really really dang hard to monitor him all the time like this. Plus there's activities like bathtime and sleeping that have to be done upstairs anyway. Regardless, I just know I'm not going to feel the least bit comfortable until somehow, someway, I know he won't be able to scale up that balcony wall if he gets to it. I hate to keep harping on it but it's just a nightmare because the first thing he does anytime he's upstairs is run to the wall and start climing it. Sometimes he heads upstairs just for that purpose it seems. I was sure there must have been a commercially available solution for this, cannot believe there isn't...

Clearly I'm not about to leave him here with any baby sitters, or even relatives, because the CONSTANT attention this requires is too much to ask or trust anyone with who's not a parent, imo. I don't know what to do; I'm about to bo buy a tether to strap him to me in the house at all times, which won't be fun for anyone.

"myyams" wrote:

I feel for you. I know it is scary. We thankfully haven't had any issues.

Is there no way at all to block any of it off and keep him downstairs? I finally found proper stair gates for spindle stairs and that helps to keep my little one off the stairs. I just haven't found anything that addresses this issue otherwise. The only thing I can think to tell you is maybe you can hire a contractor if it's your own house and build some sort of safety shield around the top of the stairs rails.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

These are the products I bought:

Amazon.com: Y Spindle for Gate Installation (2 Pack) from KidCo: Baby
Amazon.com: Kidco Pressure Mounted Gateway-White: Baby

Extension to make the gate wider
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006OJIY9A/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00

It is pressure mounted since this is a rental house. I have nothing upstairs because I don't allow my baby upstairs. The others are ok with the stairs.

ETA, I really only needed ONE Y spindle because for my stairs the bottom of the gate was ok against the part of the spindle since it was a cubic form near the bottom before becoming round. I hope that makes sense.

Joined: 05/23/12
Posts: 680

I know it's so stressful. Hopefully he'll outgrow this and start listening. My 16 m daughter tries to climb the 'outside' of the staircase!!! The boys are always climbing up the stairs from the outside. That was the FIRST thing they did when we moved into this house. I never would have guessed that would have been an issue. I just keep redirecting her. She hardly does it now compared with the previous months. Maybe it's just a matter of time and patience for your son....I hope so anyway!!