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Four essential tips on how to child proof stair rails


Sometimes a stair gate is all you need to block access by children to the stairs. But sometimes staircases come with bigger than standard gaps in the rail. Not all staircases are made with safety of young children in mind.

The gaps between the rails may be safe enough for adults and older children but still big enough for a baby or curious toddler to pass through.

If you live in a house with a flight of stairs, it will be imperative to childproof the balustrade gaps - even if it’s just for children who visit often.

A word of caution: childproofing doesn’t give you licence to leave children unattended. It’s just an extra precaution because children are generally quicker than we are.

Use netting

There are accident-preventing safety nets available for sale on the internet. One such website, www.childproofnets.com, even comes complete with a guide on how to measure your stairs.

If you’re not a fan of internet shopping, perhaps you can improvise with chicken wire mesh or poultry netting, which is easily available in hardware and farm supplies shops.

It may be unconventional but it will save you having to hover around your toddler every time they go near the stairs. Use shoe tack nails to keep the wire in place. Later when you remove the mesh, a coat of varnish will restore your wood to original state. If your stair rails are metal then a cable tie or wire can be used to tie up the mesh to the rails.

Use fabric

Take a long sheet of fabric like a lesso, Ankara or a bed sheet. Cut the fabric to size then using ribbons, punch holes in the fabric edges and tie it up to the rails or you can use shoe racks to nail them in permanently.

Fabric on stair rails is easier to live with than wire mesh. However, it needs frequent washes or dusting to keep clean.

Add plywood

Painted plywood or board is another alternative for barricading stair gaps. This will be perfect if your stair rails are wooden. Paint the board or wood so it looks similar to your wall. Nail the board to the wooden rails using shoe tacks.


This is the most expensive way to barricade a stair rail gap. The glass you use will have to be toughened and polished with screw holes to attach it to the stair rail.

You will need to have the glass shop take a template of your stair rail which they will then use to cut the glass shape and give you a quote. A cheaper and safer alternative to toughened glass would be Perspex, Plexiglass or Lucite, which are brand names for solid, transparent plastic.

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