In the U.S., a child is treated in an emergency department for a stair-related injury every six minutes – approximately 87,000 injuries per year. One in four stair-related injuries to children under the age of one occurs when a parent or caregiver falls or drops a child they are carrying.

If you’re taking your child upstairs for a nap and grab something with your other hand to avoid taking two trips, you have no way to grab a railing to prevent a fall. The force of an adult falling onto a child is strong enough to break bones and cause other serious injuries.

There is a fix for this danger: leave one hand free to hold on to the railing if needed.

Some other stair safety tips:

  • Always be ready to catch or help children who are learning to go up and down stairs. The AAP suggests to teach babies to go down carpeted stairs backward at about 12 months old, when your baby has become a competent crawler.
  • Use the right baby gate – pressure-mounted gates, which stay in place without mounting hardware, are inadequate at the tops of stairs. Use a gate at the top and bottom of stairs.

Learn more about stair safety at Prevent Child Injury.