Taming a treacherous staircase
August 11, 2009 3:25 PM Subscribe
Our new house has a steep steep staircase. What are some ways I can make this feature safer for my family, and especially for our soon-to-be-toddling baby?
posted by Bardolph to home & garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So the new house we purchased has what I'd call a very steep hardwood staircase-- steep enough to have caused several wobbly near-misses in the move-in period alone. I feel especially nervous climbing or descending when I'm carrying my four-month-old, since she's getting wriggly enough that I usually need to use both arms to hold her, leaving no way to hang onto the banister. It's less that the individual steps are high, than that they're shallow-- not enough room for the whole shoe to fit on each one, so you have to watch the balls of your feet for placement all the time.
I'm wondering what can be done about this, since we'll have to navigate this stair 10+ times/day for the next few years, eventually with a still heavier and wrigglier baby, and then with a toddler/small child who may not always follow our instructions to take the steps carefully, slowly and backwards. At a minimum, I'll be putting a large and cushy carpet over the tile floor currently at the bottom of the stairs. But other options I've considered so far are:
1. Do nothing, since maybe we'll get used to the stair mechanics after a few weeks of climbing them?
2. Carpet the whole thing, with lots of padding-- would probably make falls likelier due to slipperiness of carpet, but they might be less damaging when they occurred.
3. Skip the carpet, coat the treads in that sandpapery nonslip stuff-- would make falls less likely, but not less dangerous when they occurred.
4. Save up for some sort of big remodel-- perhaps changing to higher-but-wider steps? Or adding a right-angled section and a landing? I don't know how expensive, or how feasible this sort of thing might be.
I'd love to hear any additional suggestions, or advice on executing any of the options above (particularly #4). Thanks!