The stairs are an important part of your house, transporting you from one story to another. But considering that they’re a high-traffic area, it’s also associated with a slew of accidents, with some even bordering on life-threatening. Just a single slip can already warrant a trip to the emergency room, especially if one is not careful.
As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your stairs are safe to use. Below are some tips that you can follow:
Provide ample lighting.
Using the stairs gets extra dangerous at nighttime, so make sure that there is adequate lighting for complete visibility. When people are unable to see where they are going, the higher the chances they have of falling. The best thing to do is to have lights mounted on the wall, preferably five to six inches above each step for maximum illumination. It also helps that you install light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs, giving people the option to light and the staircase should they need to use it and vice versa. Having proper lighting does not only make your staircase safer, but it also presents an opportunity for creativity. You can play around with different light colours if you wish.
Keep it free from clutter.
When your staircase is littered with stuff, the more likely people are going to trip and fall. It’s an absolute no-no to use the stairs as some sort of storage. Resist the urge to decorate it, too, unless it’s in an area away from the steps and handrails. It’s also important to keep it free from other tripping hazards like area carpets and rugs, electrical cords, and furniture. As a rule, everything you put on the stairs can increase the risk of accidents.
Use a safety gate.
For households with young children, a safety gate is non-negotiable. The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital revealed that every six minutes, a child younger than five get sent to the hospital for a stair-related injury. Staircases may be commonplace to you, but for toddlers, they’re like obstacles that must be overcome.
Make sure to keep children away from the stairs. It’s best to install a safety gate at the base and the top, so they have a barrier preventing them from traversing the stairs. Avoid gates that have large gaps as they can still be used for climbing. Hardware-mounted gates are found to be the most secure, so use them if possible. It’s also vital to have the gate locked at all times when not in use.
Be mindful of the handrails.
Railings are also a must-have as they can help reduce the likelihood of falls. But be sure that they’re not there for decorative purposes. Assess your current handrail and check if an adult can wrap their hand entirely around it — a circumference of 6 ¼ inches is ideal. If at all possible, the handrails should be on both sides of the stairs and extend the full length without a break. Adults should also be able to put their entire weight on the rails without risk of damaging it. For extra safety, they should rest at the average adult elbow height of 35 ½ to 38 inches.
If you are looking for experts in Perth, Western Australia that can help make your staircase at home more secure, get in touch with us today! We are more than happy to be of assistance.