Going up and down the stairs — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Going up and down the stairs

At what point did you let LO start going up and down the stairs?  Did your flooring (carpet or hardwood) affect your decision?  I ask because DD has been walking since 9 months and she is now 16 mo and is very steady on her feet, though she does still fall down sometimes.  She is pretty steady on the stairs when I follow her up and I've watched her come down feet first (following in front of her) and she is pretty good at it.  We have hardwood floors so it seems more dangerous than carpet for head bumps, etc.  But, we have a new baby at home and it's hard to carry both of them.  I need advice; at this point, would you still carry your 16 mo or let him/her go?

I wouldn't leave DD on the first or second floor unattended, just let her follow me up/down so I don't have to carry both.  She may be a minute behind me, etc.  We have baby gates at the top and bottom. 




Re: Going up and down the stairs

  • we let her go up and down but 100% always stay behind her in case she falls. we have carpet on the stairs but hardwoods at the bottom, and a door to the staircase that always stays closed. she is obsessed with the stairs, so this means im going up an down tons of times a day, but hey, it wears her out! :-)
  • We had carpet till my LO was 15 months on the stairs.  I would let her climb the stairs as I followed behind and hold one hand on the way down.  Now at 20 months we have hardwood. I hate the hardwood stairs and they seem slippery. We hold hands on the way up and down.
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  • I stopped carrying her (regularly) when she could do it, though I held her hand for a long time.  I still carry her sometimes - she asks to be often - but not always.
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  • DD is 21 months and we definitely not at independant stair walking yet.  One of our staircases is hardwood so it is particularly dangerous but I don't trust her alone on the carpeted stairs yet either.  She has just started walking up and down the stairs with hand holding (previously was crawling up and down the stairs) but we are still far away from her doing them without very close supervision.   We are expecting LO#2 in three months.  I expect I will still be holding her hand while carrying a baby!

    She's been a good walker since 10 months but I still fear the stairs! 


    ETA:  When she crawls the stairs, I am comfortable just walking below her in case she slips. 

  • We have hardwood stairs, gates at top and bottom.  DS has been going up and down on his own (with us two steps down from him) since about 12m.  We taught him that he has to sit down, turn around, and go down feet first - basically the same position he uses to go up - and he gets it. 

    I only carry him if he is wearing pjs with soft feet because then he can't get traction.

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  • Our DS has been going down and up stairs on his belly since about 10 months.  We supervised him closely for the first few months, but now we're pretty lax about it.  If I'm in the kitchen and DH is in the basement, he'll go up and down the stairs pretty frequently.  We're nearby, but not right by him as he does this.  (our stairs are carpeted)

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  • I've let DD crawl up the stairs on her own ever since she could, with me following close behind. Now she wants to walk up the stairs and I hold her hand. She's just starting to learn to hold on the the spindles on her way up. She was never good at going down on her butt or crawling down, so I always carried her or held her hand. I still do because there's no way she can walk down stairs on her own.

    ETA: there's tile at the bottom of the stairs and that does affect my decision to still help her walk down the stairs. In the basement there is subfloor and carpet and I'll let her walk down the last few steps on her own because a fall wouldn't be such a big deal.


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  • We have several carpeted stairs in our house and I would say that she started to be able to do them while standing at about 19 months? She won't let me hold her hand so I just walk one step in front of her in case she trips and falls. We have a railing she can hold onto and that helps a lot. On our bottom stairs the railing is too high for her to reach (and luckily she doesn't go down there often) so she knows to hold my hand for those. 
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  • DD's been going up and down for a while now, I've been promoting it activley for the past few months because I don't want to have to carry her and a NB up and down the stairs. We have hard wood floors and DD treats them like a slide, lies on her belly and down she goes! 
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  • We've been letting DD go up and down the stairs since she was probably 8 months old. I started teaching her pretty young and immediately taught her to go down the stairs backwards on her belly. Even now at almost 15 months, she will turn around and go down backwards if I'm not helping her or holding her hand.

    To teach her, I just laid her on her belly and pulled her legs and knees down one step at a time. So, now I don't worry about her going down on her own.

    (We have carpeted stairs).

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