Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Childproofing Open Stairways

Supplies needed for open air stairways/open shelves childproofing:
  • Plexiglass
  • Jigsaw
  • Wood Screws
  • Drill
When it came time to childproof in my house, I was perplexed when problem-solving my stairway.  I have one of those houses that was built during a time in the 70's that said, "the busier the better".  When it comes to the stairs, not overly functional, not overly pretty, and a major pain!  Prior to having Vivian, I struggled with how to deal with these stairs in general.  The shelves were narrow and things tended to fall off!  Parts of them I blocked with various pieces of furniture...and then it came time to childproof!



As you can see, quite a childproofer's dilemma!

Initially, a very wide gate was purchased...the idea there was to basically block off the entire area.  This solution wasn't going to work because the gates that were wide enough were stabilized by being too tall!  I stared and stared and stared at my stairs...and then it came to me!  Plexiglass!

Plexiglass is a great solution to childproofing open spaces such as this one.  You can keep the "beauty" of the space while making it safe for your little one.

You can purchase plexiglass at any major hardware warehouse store.  Then, cut it to size (you can use a box cutter but it takes forever).  Best bet for cutting it is to use a jigsaw with a blade that is suitable for plexiglass/plastic.  This part was trial and error as I used a rotary tool one time, which only melted the plastic making it even HARDER to cut through!

After cutting it to size, make sure to PRE-DRILL holes in it...don't get all crazy and try to put screws directly into it.  Works best if you drill the holes while bracing it against the wood.  Plexiglass can be unforgiving, so measure, cut and drill carefully!  One mis-sized screw or incomplete cut and you can break it off at the wrong spot!

You can line up plexiglass very easily and even line it up against carpet.  It's virtually invisible to the casual onlooker!


Backside view of plexiglass with screws.  Virtually invisible from the front.


bottom showing lineup with carpet and with other plexiglass.  Considering adding something in the groove, but that would make it visible on other side.


you can use larger pieces for larger spaces


Aside from the line between pieces, the plexiglass, if kept clean, keeps your shelves looking good and keeps baby from crawling under open spaces!

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