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Just How Common Are Child Stair Injuries?

By Karie Reynolds
on June 27, 2017

Just How Common Are Child Stair Injuries?

Stair injuries are more common than many parents realize, especially among young toddlers and infants who are just learning to walk. In fact, according to WebMD, a 2012 study found that every six minutes, a child is treated in the emergency room for a stair-related injury. Children under 12 months, usually around eight months and walking with the assistance of a baby walker, have a high rate of accidents falling down stairs in the walker, making the fall even more dangerous. Children around twelve months old, walking on their own, are at a high risk as well. Staircase falls are the #1 source of non-fatal injuries for one-year-old children because this is often the time they begin to walk on their own and gain confidence in their newfound abilities.

It's Not Just Fabric

The study also found that many child stair injuries may have been prevented with child gates for stairs. When properly installed, baby gates for staircases can protect your child from climbing the stairs and accidentally tumbling down the stairs and, as a result, possibly suffering serious injuries. Although parents do their best to watch their child at all times, toddlers are unpredictable child gates for stairs can help keep accidents from happening and provide parents with peace of mind.

Baby gates for staircases are one of the best investments to make for a child's health and safety. They are an integral part of whole-house toddler-proofing, along with outlet plugs and cabinet locks. Baby gates can also be used to keep children out of workrooms, garages, storage areas or other places where they are likely to get hurt.

Upon first glance, a retractable stair gate might look like no match for your strong baby crawling around the house. However, looks can be deceiving because our fabric barriers have more to it than meets the eye. Within our gates are vertical struts that support the fabric in an upright position. Our gates will not droop, and the fabric cannot be manipulated by little hands.

Unlike many baby gates, our fabric stair gates are easy to install, effective and help keep the stairs toddler-proof. Installing indoor baby gates at the bottom of the stairs will help ease a parent’s mind when their toddler is exploring the surroundings or refining his/her walking techniques.

Climb No More

If you leave a child alone with a standard stair gate with bars, they will often use the bars to climb the gate to get to the other side. Our child gates for stairs are different. There are no footholds or areas to grab that make climbing a possibility. Children might pull and grab the material, but it will not budge from its tight design. As a result, children simply move on to another activity instead of focusing on the climb in front of them.

Additionally, parents who are concerned about going up and down the stairs themselves should also consider a retractable stair gate. Retractable gates are designed for adults to open and close frequently, so Mom and Dad aren’t tempted to try to climb over them.. The best rated baby gates of this type roll neatly to the side when they are not in use or parents need to use the stairs.

Making Your Home a Safer Place

A high-quality gate will help protect a child, as well as their home and parents, by prohibiting toddlers from climbing stairs or accessing rooms in the house that are off-limits.. Evaluate your home today, find the danger areas, and install appropriate gates at the top and bottom of stairways and in the doorways of any rooms that should be off-limits to small children. It is a small investment to make to protect your little one.

 

Photo Credit: Kari Hill, Raising Hill Blog

Why Retractable Stair Gates are the Unbeatable Childproofing Tool

By Karie Reynolds
on June 22, 2017

Why Retractable Stair Gates are the Unbeatable Childproofing Tool

Parents with children under the age of five have their hands full when it comes to keeping their little ones safe. Very few places are designed to be childproof, so almost every moment of the day has to be spent keeping a watchful eye over children to ensure that they do not get hurt. While there is not much that can be done to the outside world, parents can control how safe their home environment is. One way to do this is with retractable stair gates from The Stair Barrier.

Concealed Safety Option

Most baby gates for staircases are not efficient simply because they never get used. Frustrated parents often end up putting them away in the closet after a short time because they trip over them so much. However, this isn't the case with retractable baby gates. They tuck away neatly at the side of the staircase when they’re not use. Then, when you need them, all you have to do is pull them across the staircase. They latch easily and secure tightly to the other side of the staircase, making it quick and painless to keep children off staircases.

Great for Odd Spaces

Since not every house is identical, there is not a one-size-fits-all gate solution. Odd angles and twists and turns can make it difficult to tell if a gate will fit on a staircase until it is installed. A retractable stair gate with flexibility to be used on different banister shapes and sizes and various staircase widths is a great option for unique staircases. Retractable gates that do not require two flat surfaces for installation can often be the only solution for staircases that require mounting a gate on an angle.

Perfect for Visits

Parents aren't the only ones who can use a retractable stair gate as a child proofing tool. Grandparents, who are generally reluctant to baby-proof their homes, will appreciate having one too. When grandchildren come to visit, banister to banister gates can be put in place in minutes and wall to banister gates can simply be unrolled and attached to banisters to secure staircases.  Since these baby gates are offered in 13 fabric options, it’s easy to find one that blends seamlessly with a home’s interior design.

Sturdy Design

Although the retractable baby gates may look sleek and thin, they are incredible sturdy. Constructed with upholstery grade fabric and reinforced internally with vertical struts and horizontal mesh, these gates stay in place no matter how hard a child tries to get through it. The solid design means that kids can’t get fingers stuck in openings, they do not have bars to climb, and when they can’t see the stairs, they lose interest.

Dogs and Tick Safety

By Janelle Fitzpatrick
on June 06, 2017

Pet Safety Gates

As we enter the final countdown to the summer season, your family is probably feeling the call of your backyard, whether it’s grilled dinners out on the back patio or a family game of baseball. And the family member who’s probably most excited of all is your pup, with the weather just right for lots of fetch, play, and snoozing in the sun.

Unfortunately, the summer also brings with it the increased risk of ticks. With new tick-related diseases still being discovered, it’s important to include tick prevention as a part of your summer preparation so that you can keep your pup, and by extension your whole family, safe and tick-free. 

  • Know Your Area
  • First, familiarize yourself with the level of risk for ticks in your area, and specifically which kinds of ticks to look out for. This map is a great tool to locate your home area and find out the number of reported cases of tick-related diseases in dogs.

  • Landscape a Tick-Safe Yard
  • When landscaping or adding new plants and bushes to your yard, keep in mind that some will be more inviting to ticks than others. The CDC recommends removing any old furniture or debris that could harbor ticks, building playgrounds in a sunny spot away from the edge of the yard, and placing a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between any surrounding wood areas and lawns, patios, or playgrounds. Another source advises that the common deer is essential to the tick’s life cycle, so it’s best to avoid planting any shrubbery that would be inviting for deer to snack on.

  • Keep Up with Annual Screenings
  • Though there are a lot of preventative tick products available for dogs, in the form of both topical applications and vaccines, none of them are guaranteed to be 100% effective. Plus, many symptoms of tick-born diseases are subtle and easy to miss. Keeping up with an annual test is the only way to be sure your dog is healthy. To make it easy, ask that your dog be tested for vector-borne diseases at his or her annual heartworm screening.

  • Check for Ticks Daily
  • We know the thought can be pretty tedious (and gross!), but the sooner ticks are caught and removed, the better, so make it a part of your routine during tick season to scan your dog for ticks. Feel along their body with a firm pressure to check for bumps. If you feel a bump, pull their fur apart to determine what is there. Be sure to check in armpits, between toes, behind ears, and around the tail. If you do find a tick, follow these instructions for how to successfully remove it.

  • Limit their Home Access
  • With dogs frequently running in and out of the house during the summer, it can be unsettling to find a tick on them, or even to think about the fact that they could be tracking them into your home. For peace of mind, keep The Stair Barrier closed to limit your dog’s access to the second level of your home and away from any bedding. 

    Though summer is known for being the season of ticks, research shows that we aren’t quite in the clear during other seasons, either. Keep these tips in mind year-round to keep your pup and your family happy, healthy, and tick-free.

    Bringing Home a Puppy? What to Expect and How to Prepare

    By Janelle Fitzpatrick
    on June 06, 2017

    Bringing Home a Puppy? What to Expect and How to Prepare

    Dogs are lifelong friends and family members that are there through thick and thin. This special bond is why so many parents give puppies to their children as gifts. Unfortunately, many of these puppies end up going to animal shelters because the families who adopted them weren’t ready for the responsibility of caring for them. This is why it is so important for parents who are considering a new puppy to prepare for the arrival of their furry new family member before they bring him home. We put together the following list to help you get started.

    Have a Plan of Action

    If your children have been asking for a dog for a while, they will promise to care for it day and night without being asked. But realistically, the newness of the situation will wear off. After a few weeks, the children will not be so excited about cleaning up after them,walking them, and feeding them. So be sure that there is a plan in place for what to do when this happens. For example, some parents might want to add tasks for caring for the puppy to the chore charts that their kids already have on the wall. Each child can take turns doing the different tasks each week to ensure that they always get done.

    Remember They are Children Too

    Puppies grow and develop at a much faster rate than humans do. But it still takes time for them to learn about their surroundings and what is considered to be correct behavior because they are still basically children. So, it isn't fair to expect them to instantly know what to do and not do as soon as they are brought home. They are going to have accidents on the carpet sometimes, and once in awhile, they might steal your slippers. This is simply part of having a pet.

    Make Sure Your House is Safe

    Caring for a puppy will be easier if the furry friend is kept in just one section of the house that is blocked off with pet safety gates from The Stair Barrier until they get older. This will prevent them from getting hurt and protect the areas that you don't want to be damaged. Remove anything from this area that could be dangerous to the animal as well, such as electrical cords and sharp objects. Be sure to block off any stairs that are nearby with some stair barriers for babies too. Puppies are still very rambunctious when they are young so it may be best to separate them from your young children when not under supervision.

    Gather Supplies From a Veterinarian

    Each breed of dog has to be cared for in a specific way to ensure that it stays healthy and happy. So it is best to talk to your veterinarian about the best food and supplies for your puppy before stocking up at the local store. The vet will also be able to give the puppy a check-up and the vaccinations that it needs to stay healthy, as well as advice on how to train and protect the animal too.

    What to Consider When Choosing Baby Gates for Stairs

    By Janelle Fitzpatrick
    on June 01, 2017

    What to Consider When Choosing Baby Gates for Stairs

    Baby gates are designed to be strong structures that can withstand the pressure of a pet or small child pressing against them repeatedly. However, they have to have specific features when they are used at the top and bottom of the stairs. Otherwise, a little one might have an accident. So parents who are trying to find the best baby gates for this purpose should look for the following features:

    Permanent Hardware

    A baby barrier gate placed at the top of the stairs has to have hardware to attach it firmly in place. Although pressure-mounted types of baby gates are convenient to use, they could slip over time. Safety experts  and pediatricians recommend that they only be used at the bottom of the stairs or between rooms in other parts of the house.

    Narrow Spaces Between Slats

    The space between the long, narrow slats across the front of a baby gate should be no wider than two or three inches. That is because a small baby or pet could put their head in the area, which could lead to suffocation or other injuries. The space that is directly underneath the baby gate must also be kept to a minimum.

    Retractable Options

    A retractable baby gate or one that has a door that swings out is much safer than a type that a person has to step over because they could end up tripping and falling over it. But besides this, babies watch everything that parents do. If they learn that they can climb over the obstacle to get to the other side, they could fall and injure themselves as well. That is why most well-designed baby gates have no foot holes or wide ledges built into them. Retractable options are also safer because they are less likely to be dismounted and moved out of the way. Safety gates have to be kept in place at all times to be the most effective.

    Firm Latch

    All it takes is one time of a child opening a baby gate at the top of the stairs for a serious accident to happen. So the latch or locking mechanism that is built into it has to be strong. It shouldn't be attached to a push-button release because a small child or pet could push it on accident. Child gates for stairs that have a firm latch attached to a mechanism that has to be pulled up is better because it takes more strength to do this than a child or pet has.

    Great Customer Reviews

    The final thing that a parent or pet owner should look for in a barrier gate is a high product rating and great reputation among its users. These users share similar standards for what they expect out of their barrier gate; therefore, their insight will cover the areas that potential buyers want to hear about. When it comes to children and pets, people do not want to take a trial and error approach. Err on the side of caution by taking time to confirm the quality through reading various ratings and reviews. Feel free to check out some reviews from our valued customers on our site.

    The Baby Guy NYC Calls The Stair Barrier "A Brilliant Solution for People Who Have Stairs With Banisters"

    By Janelle Fitzpatrick
    on May 31, 2017

    The Baby Guy NYC Calls The Stair Barrier "A Brilliant Solution for People Who Have Stairs With Banisters"

    Baby gear guru Jamie Grayson, aka TheBabyGuyNYC (BabyGuyGearGuide.com), shared a closer look at The Stair Barrier Live on Facebook today. He couldn't use the staircase at his sister Jennifer's home, where The Stair Barrier has been working out beautifully, so Jamie did what he does best: he got creative. Using the legs of his dining room table, Jamie explained the brilliance of The Stair Barrier and how it works to keep babies and pets of staircases. Below is the condensed version he shared on Instagram. See his full video here

    Baby Gate-Related Injuries Send Nearly 2,000 Children to Emergency Rooms Each Year

    By Janelle Fitzpatrick
    on May 26, 2017

    Baby Gate-Related Injuries Send Nearly 2,000 Children to Emergency Rooms Each Year

    In May 2014, the Academic Pediatrics published a report from the researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The first nationally representative study to examine injuries associated with baby gates, the researchers looked at the number of children treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by baby gates and found that the rate of injury quadrupled from 1990 to 2010.

    Of the children injured, 60 percent were younger than two years old and they were most often injured by falls down stairs after a gate collapsed or when it was left open. Injuries caused by these accidents lead to soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, and traumatic brain injuries, said the researchers. Children aged 2-6-years-old were most often injured by contact with the gate itself after climbing on it, which can lead to cuts.

    Despite this increase in injuries, the study's lead researcher had this advice for parents and caregivers:

    “Baby gates are essential safety devices for parents and caregivers, and they should continue to be used,” explains Lara McKenzie, PhD, the study’s co-author and a principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “It is important, however, to make sure you are using a gate that meets the voluntary safety standards and is right type of gate for where you are planning to use it.”

    Dr. McKenzie recommends parents think of pressure-mounted gates as products that should only be used as room dividers because those kinds of gates are not designed to withstand much force and will not prevent a fall down stairs. For the top of the stairs, only gates that have hardware, which needs to be screwed into the wall or railing, will be strong enough to prevent a child from falling down the stairs. 

    Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., shared this take away from the research with Healthline

    “Our study results highlight the need for further advances in gate design to limit children’s ability to climb gates, to prevent gates from collapsing, and to better cushion children when they fall on gates,” McKenzie explained, adding, “It also wouldn't hurt if gates were easier to install.”

    The Stair Barrier's stair gate design addresses many of Dr. McKenzie's concerns:

    1.       The Stair Barrier does not have a top bar that children can use to hoist themselves over the gate.

    2.       The Stair Barrier’s internal vertical struts, horizontal webbing, and strong buckles provide a tight fit and prevent our gates from collapsing.

    3.      The Stair Barrier installation is easy. The buckle system is simple to understand and our fabric safety gates do not require two flat surfaces for installation. Our Wall to Banister gates also come with an installation kit specifically designed for our safety gates.

    If you are looking for a way to secure a staircase with banisters, we hope you'll take a look at The Stair Barrier Difference page to learn more about our fabric stair gates.

     

    Go Ahead, Take that Trip! A Packing List for Traveling With a Toddler

    By Janelle Fitzpatrick
    on May 23, 2017

    Go Ahead, Take that Trip! A Packing List for Traveling With a Toddler

    Don't let the idea of traveling with a young toddler and all the necessary preparations discourage you from making a trip! We put together this list of essentials to help keep your little one safe and entertained so that the whole family can enjoy smooth travels together.  

    Favorite Lovey

    DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT. Most of the items on our list can be purchased on the road, your child's Lovey cannot. Whether it’s a teddy bear or a blanket, their favorite companion can help you to avoid meltdowns at night and provide a sense of well-being and security on the road as your little one is exposed to new environments.

    Bag of Tricks

    Pack a backpack full of a variety of your child’s favorite toys and activities. Stop by the .99 Store to pick up new items to surprise them with. When your little one shows signs of needing some stimulation, give them one item from the backpack at a time, allowing them to play with it until they’re no longer interested before giving them something else.

    Baby-proofing Items

    Plan ahead and you'll be able to enjoy some hands-free time rather than trailing your little one every waking minute. Take outlet covers with you for the rooms where your little one will spend the majority of his time. You should also find out before you arrive if there will be a staircase to secure. Stairs are the most dangerous place in the home for children so it's important to be prepared. There's no reason to rely on cushions and chairs to block a staircase when you can take your safety gate with you. The Stair Barrier's banister to banister gates are compact and easy to pack in a suitcase or car trunk.

    Spillproof Snacks

    Hungry children are cranky children, and there may be stretches of highway without a rest stop or restaurant for miles. Pack plenty of your child’s favorite, travel-friendly snacks. Dried fruit, rice cakes, and O-shaped cereal tend to travel well. Bring spill-proof sippy cups for juice to minimize mess and refill as needed.

    Baby Wipes

    No matter how prepared you are, some level of mess is inevitable. Be armed and ready with a fresh pack (or two) of baby wipes for sticky fingers and spills, or just to sanitize little hands that have been exploring at every stop along your journey.

    Keep a Change of Clothes Accessible

    As we said before, some level of mess is inevitable and sometimes the mess requires a change of clothes for you and your little one. Pack a change of clothes for both of you in your carry-on if you're traveling by plane or in a small bag in your car. If you need to change, you'll be glad you don't need to unpack your trunk or wait until you land.

    Enjoy your trip!

    Giveaway: Must-Have Baby Products, Conceived and Created by Moms

    By Janelle Fitzpatrick
    on May 22, 2017

    Giveaway: Must-Have Baby Products, Conceived and Created by Moms

    Moms are problem solvers by nature, so it should not come as a surprise that many of the most innovative products on the baby market are the brainchild of moms who designed solutions for problems they faced daily.

    Our founder and CEO, Janelle, invented the Stair Barrier out of necessity when she realized that she couldn’t find a safety gate that worked with the volute/curved banisters on the staircase in her family’s new home. For years, she successfully used her invention, a reinforced fabric safety gate with unique buckle system, with her own kids before deciding to turn it into a business, bringing the much-needed solution to parents with hard-to-gate staircases across the U.S.

    Today, we’re inspired by other moms who, like Janelle, invented products out of the necessity of motherhood and took the leap to make them available to moms everywhere. We’ve partnered with Woombie, Poncho Baby, and Big Bee, Little Bee for a giveaway of must-have baby products, all conceived and created by moms just like you!

    A look at our Mom-Invented Giveaway Partners:

    Karen enjoyed a successful nursing career for 19 years before, out of sheer frustration over her newborn baby’s lack of sleep, she created the first prototype of the Woombie baby swaddle on her grandmother’s sewing machine in the middle of the night. The unique baby swaddle gently cocoons baby and allows for natural movement of arms, legs and hips just like in the womb. The Woombie requires NO wrapping, just put baby in and zip! Four-way stretch fabric allows for movement and a breathable and ventilated design allows excess heat to escape to prevent the risk of overheating.

    Amy of Big Bee, Little Bee invented the Snow Angel bath towel to soothe her baby’s upset over the slow, cold, and uncomfortable drying-off process that followed her bath. After a few experiments and a rough first attempt, Amy figured out how to strategically section and design the towel in the shape of its namesake -a snow angel--which allows parents to quickly and easily dry all parts of baby after bathtime. Her unique bath towel features a padded back panel to protect baby from hard surfaces, an adjustable-length hood that grows with baby, soft terry-velour wings for easy drying of arms, legs and all the bits in between, and multiple panels to keep baby warm during dry-off.

    Breastfeeding was a special and life-changing moment in Carolina’s life, but like many moms, she craved more privacy during the bonding time. Drawing inspiration from her cultural roots in the Colombian Andes Mountains, as well as other breastfeeding moms, she set out sketching the first designs for Poncho Babys nursing poncho. Last year, Poncho Baby® received a patent for its award-winning nursing cover with a flexible, boned neckline that easily allows moms to see their babies. Unlike other nursing covers on the market, Poncho Baby®’s contemporary design provides back coverage and more privacy, and the soothing, neutral colors don’t distract the baby during feedings. The machine-washable nursing covers are made in the U.S. with soft, 100% cotton muslin, and are multifunctional—they can be used as a stroller cover, sunshade, blanket and more.

    Enter below for the chance to win each of the following:

    1. Woombie Air ($25)
    2. Big Bee, Little Bee Snow Angel baby bath towel ($22.95)
    3. Poncho Baby nursing poncho in Navy or Emerald ($58)
    4. Stair Barrier in a fabric of your choice ($144.99)

    Giveaway Ends May 31, 2017. 

    Mom-Invented Giveaway

    Dogs and Stairs: Safety Statistics That Might Surprise You

    By Janelle Fitzpatrick
    on May 16, 2017

    Dogs and Stairs: Safety Statistics That Might Surprise You

    It’s widely known among parents that a home is not designed with a baby’s safety in mind, but what about the safety of your fur babies? Statistics show that a number of home factors may be an overlooked safety hazard for your pup, and one of them is your staircase. 

    The risks of climbing stairs lie not only in the potential for falling, but also in added stress on a small dog’s joints caused by daily trips up and down the stairs - an average of 12 each day. 

    Take into consideration that the average height of each step is 8 inches, which is taller than most small-breed dogs, and it’s easy to see how a home’s staircase can be a huge feat for your dog to conquer. Consider keeping the stairs as off-limits as you can. After your children are old enough to handle the stairs, keep your Stair Barrier in place to limit your dog’s access to the stairs. You can neatly roll it to the side when you and your family are home, but close it off during the day while you’re at work and your dog is home alone.

    You can also minimize the stair’s impact on your dog’s body by training them not to skip the last steps in the staircase. When running down the staircase, small dogs often disregard the last two or three steps. Training your dog to pause at the bottom of the staircase and sit before navigating the last step can help prevent injury and premature joint wear.

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    From the Blog

    Just How Common Are Child Stair Injuries?

    Just How Common Are Child Stair Injuries?

    June 27, 2017

    Stair injuries are more common than many parents realize, especially among young toddlers and infants who are just learning to...

    Read more →