Q & A with an expert Baby Proofer!

Today’s question comes from a Twiniversity mom in Pennsylvania who has a future super hero on her hands, or an escape artist…depends on how you look at it!

Q: Help! I have a 3y/o & 17 mo b/b twins. When you reach the point where one baby can climb gates but not go down steps without help, do you remove the gate? I’m at the point where occasionally the safety feature is becoming a hazard. Input please!

A: I can appreciate the dilemma that the mother who wrote this letter is having in her home. I come across this unique situation on a regular basis.

It’s amazing that a child that has the dexterity to get over a gate but can’t yet navigate the stairs. I think you have a super baby on your hands!  All jokes aside this is difficult issue but fixable. Perhaps the gate is installed too low. Top of stair gates should consist of rows of vertical slats and be installed with approximately 2 3/8″ of room between the bottom of the gate and the floor and as well as between the vertical slats. These vertical slats create an impossible opportunity to use the gate itself as a climbing threat. That said, and assuming the gate is installed correctly, you should change the gate out to an oversized gate. The standard sized safety gate usually is 30″ in height.  These oversized gates tend to offer the extended peace of mind that is needed while teaching your children how to navigate the stairs. You could also consider putting an oversized pressure gate on the older boys room and use that as your “safe zone” when you need to. The oversized gates offer protection up to 42″. That is a significant increase. I would recommend that that while you are all in the house, and you haven’t done the safe zone gate that you have a rule of never leaving the older one alone near the stairs until she can navigate the stairs which should be very soon.  It is important to to make sure that the the “safe zone” is free of any chairs or steps that the child can use as a stepping stone to freedom and potential disaster.
What Baby-Safe America would do with this scenario is evaluate the entire home and then pinpoint the weak links. We would make our recommendation and then implement the installation process so the house would be beyond safe without having that over the top feel.
Today’s Expert is James Hirtenstein of Baby Safe America has garnered the highest respect of most in the child care community of New York City. Baby-Safe provides baby-proofing, pool-fencing background checks and nanny surveillance and is the only full service child safety company serving the New York tri-state area.  As a pioneer in the child safety business, James is a founding member of the International Association for Child Safety (IACS), an industry trade group representing well over 200 child safety experts internationally.  James has mastered the field of child-safety risk management and has appeared as an expert on shows such as The CBS Morning show, Dateline NBC, Good Day New York and many others.  When not actually baby-proofing, James can usually be found giving safety seminars at  various pediatrician’s offices, hospitals, community centers and new mommy groups. For more information about Baby Safe America visit their website or to find a Baby Proofer near you visit the IACS.

Thank You James!

-Your friends at Twiniversity

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