We have a baby gate to block off access to the stairs but my daughter has now learned how to climb up the outside of the stairs. By this I mean she balances on the 2-3 inch ledge on the outside of the banister spindles. It was not so bad when it was only the first step but she can now get up to the 4th step which puts her more than 3 feet off the ground, balancing precariously and holding on for dear life. Thankfully there is a solid wall past the 4th step and she can't get any higher but this is pretty scary at that height. She thinks its great fun but it gives me a heart attack! Anyone been through this? How did you stop it?

asked 05 Nov '09, 04:17

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 14 Nov '09, 09:37

Sabrina's gravatar image


How old is your daughter?

(05 Nov '09, 08:42) Emi

Shes not quite 14 months old

(05 Nov '09, 14:46) dreamerisme

This may be an unconventional answer, but if she is able to climb up the side of the stairs maybe you should take down the baby gate and let her go up and down the stairs by herslef. Taking the baby gate down would probably deter her from climbing up the side of the stairs. (similar reasoning to taking down a crib railing)

If you don't feel your daughter is safe enough to go up and down by herself, then now might be the best time to work on it regularly so she can quickly master this.

As soon as my son could crawl we worked on stair climbing. Just before my son's 1st birthday we felt he was safe to go up AND down by himself and took down the baby gates. I was still nervous the first week or so after we took them down, but I watched him and he never once faultered. He is currently 14 months old and is a pro at stairs.


answered 06 Nov '09, 04:35

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%


Wow! Thats really advanced. :) Does that mean you stopped using the baby gates?

(06 Nov '09, 11:06) Emi

We have a tri level home so we were quickly annoyed with walking through & over baby gates so we tried as soon as possible to teach him to climb stairs. I don't think it's that advanced, my friend's babies learned at similar times, but maybe it relates to how soon they crawl. Also I personally feel it is less dangerous if a baby is taught how to go up and more importantly down stairs because I think it would prevent more "accidents" if a gate was left open by mistake.

(07 Nov '09, 02:08) Sabrina

:) I see. That makes sense. I just imagined loads of steps!

(07 Nov '09, 22:27) Emi

I have fond memories of coming down the (carpeted) stairs on my tummy, feet first (most of the time), BOOBOOBOOBOOM!

(07 Jan '10, 09:56) Benjol

This happened to our family. My sister-in-law and her kids lives with her parents and they have stairs like this. They happen to live in a house that has a big open room downstairs. They bought a kiddie version of the item below (~$20-30 at Walmart I think) and put it up in that room. This gave our climbing and heights loving niece an alternative that they could direct her to. If you don't have room inside, putting it a yard would probably be the next best thing.


answered 05 Nov '09, 15:07

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

I agree with Mungo, this is a difficult one.

I cannot suggest anything other than perhaps as an immediate precaution make sure that the area below the stairs where she likes to practice rock climbing is free of anything that could injure her if she were to fall.

If she likes climbing so much make it a game for her, add some pillows on the floor and let her climb only when you are close by.

Just to share a horror story of ours; At 12 or 13 months our daughter had learnt to wiggle out of her feeding chair, while she was strapped in. I was horrified, as I had just popped to the kitchen for a second, when I came back she was standing like Napoleon Boneparte with one foot on the middle protruding bit and her hand holding the longer straps that come from the rear of the seat I tried hard to be calm and not appear too suddenly.

When we talked about it with my husband we realised there was not much we could do...other than tying her in tightly, and thats not something we even considered an option, so we just told her over and over again, "that's dangerous"", "be careful", "you could fall.." My husband would say you could fall and show her (while holding her) what he meant by... she would just giggle.


answered 05 Nov '09, 16:45

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accept rate: 19%

A difficult one, I can remember doing this as a child myself!

A friend of ours had a son who did similar, but regularly jumped from the top, shouting "I'm Spiderman!"

They used to bargain with him, suggesting he played on the climbing frame outside, or, if he was good and didn't do it indoors, they'd take him to the adventure playground.

Short of elaborate modification of the staircase I don't know what else to suggest!


answered 05 Nov '09, 13:10

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accept rate: 3%

It seems unlikely that you will be able to stop her. You can try telling her not to, but at her age (in my experience, at any age) it's hard to be sure she'll never do it when you're not looking.

If it were me I'd try to make it as safe as possible. Can you put something soft on the floor, maybe a large bean bag or floor cushion, so if she falls she won't be hurt? That way you won't be feeling so stressed about it and won't have to keep checking on her to make sure she isn't doing it.


answered 05 Nov '09, 17:16

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Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

My daughter is 2 and climbs stairs very well but she still likes to climb on the ooutside of the staircase. We put a firm back pillow from our couch and slotted it in between the banister spindles on the 2nd step which allows her some climbing fun but prevents her from going higher. I came on this thread to see if there was something better that didn't use up a pillow but it seems this may be the best solution.


answered 07 Sep '16, 18:19

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Dads are Cool
accept rate: 0%

My dad (and our family) has came up with a solution for this called the "Stair Shield" ( www.stairshield.com ). And once we installed the Stair Shield on our stairs we never had a single problem or incident of our girls climbing the outside again.

He came up with the idea, and created the product, because like many of you, we were having the same terrifying problem of our 3 year old twins climbing up the outside of our staircase...

We had a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs but it only seemed to redirect our girls to the outside of the stair case, where they quickly discovered they could climb up. They would hold onto the railings/balusters and step on the tiny ledge overhangs of the steps. But after finding one of my girls 20 ft up and almost to the top of the stairs, we knew something had to be done. But after searching the internet for a something that would prevent kids from climbing the outside of staircases, we were shocked to find that not a single product or solution existed. Instead all we found were millions of parents in the same situation that we were, desperately searching for a solution to this problem. And it is from all this that the idea and creation of the Stair Shield began. alt text


answered 22 Nov '16, 16:59

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Howell Innovations
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We just found my 20 month old daughter hanging from the top of the spindles 8 feet up I heard her talking (I thought at the front door looking out) but no she had made her way all the way to the top on the outside. My Heart dropped. I am wondering if there is anything we can put on spindles to stop her from doing this again - my heart can't take it, we were so lucky she was not hurt. My mom said to take the gate down and she can go up and down the stairs but she is so fearless I don't want her playing on the steps who knows what she would do if she were at the top of the steps - its not like we don't watch her 24/7 but I thought my husband had her in his sight and he thought she was with me in the kitchen. ohhh the joys of motherhood any other suggestions?


answered 13 Jul '10, 22:42

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Asked: 05 Nov '09, 04:17

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Last updated: 23 Nov '16, 10:21