How to Use the Stairs Safely


Anyone, regardless of age, can be at serious risk of accidents when using stairs. The National Safety Council reports 12,000 stair-related deaths per year. This makes accidents from using stairs second only to automobile accidents as a cause of injuries in the United States. Falling down and risking severe injuries can be avoided by following some common-sense stair safety guidelines.

  • Pay careful attention to how steep and wide the steps are, as staircase steps vary. Mentally calculate the distance between each step and know exactly how high you should raise your leg and exactly where you should to place your foot so you land on the next step safely.

  • Avoid using the stairs in your stocking feet, loose shoes or floppy slippers. Pick up the front of your long dress and be sure your high-heeled shoes are in securely strapped on.

  • Always use the handrails. They are installed to guide your way up and down the stairs. If you feel yourself losing your balance, holding firmly to the handrails can save you from falling down.

  • Keep kids toys, clean laundry, shopping bags, shoes, etc., from cluttering up the stairway.

  • Take your time. You are more likely to fall if you are in a rush and don't pay enough attention to what you're doing.

  • Avoid distractions such as talking to someone, using your cellphone, reading, etc.

  • Pay attention to the condition of the stairs in a public area. Note if there are warning signs posted that let you know repair work going on.

  • Turn on the lights when you are walking up and down the stairs. A well-lit staircase decreases the likelihood of accidents.

  • Ask for assistance if you use a cane or crutches or if you suffer from arthritis.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use all your five senses all the time when using stairs.

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  • Photo Credit David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images
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