Safety Steps: When Carrying a Child Up or Down Stairs, the Child Should be Your Only Cargo

by | Apr 25, 2020 | News

To lower to risk of falling when carrying a child up the stairs, leave your child in safe place, like a crib, when you need to carry other items.

For decades, securing staircases has been an important part of getting a home ready for children. Most parents and caregivers are familiar with safety gates, which protect children by limiting their access to the stairs. But what parents might not realize is that there is more to stair safety than installing gates: children are at risk of serious injuries when their caregivers fall while carrying them up or down steps.

In busy households, parents often multitask, carrying multiple items up and down the stairs instead of making multiple trips. When one of those items is a child, however, that multitasking can put the child in danger. If a parent or caregiver is carrying a child as well as other items and loses their balance on the stairs, they do not have a free hand to grab the railing to prevent the fall. Many staircases also do not have a railing that the hand can completely go around—called a “power grip”—making it harder to catch yourself if you slip or trip.

In many cases, when children fall on the stairs by themselves, the injuries tend to be more minor, such as bumps and bruises. But when you add an adult into the equation, the force of the adult falling on a child can be strong enough to break bones and cause other major injuries. In fact, research shows that one in four stair-related injuries to infants (children who are not yet one year old) were caused by a fall while being carried, and some of the injuries were serious enough to require a hospital stay. To prevent these injuries, carry only the child when going up and down stairs.

To keep children safer in the home, Pediatric Associates Foundation is reminding parents and caregivers that the laundry, toys, groceries, and other items can wait until the next trip. When carrying a child up or down steps, protect your most important cargo by carrying the child only, leaving one hand free to hold on to the railing.

More prevention tips are available at


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