How to Child-Proof Staircase Rails On the Cheap

Bungee Cords and Cable Ties: The Cheap and Easy Way to Child-Proof Your Stairs

When your first-born becomes mobile, the reaction is to child-proof everything.  There are the basic things, like baby gates, outlet covers, cabinet latches, etc.  But then your child REALLY becomes mobile, and suddenly you find the larger problems.  In this house, the issue was that the space between the posts are the stairs was far too large (see picture.)  A quick and inexpensive solution was needed – bungee cords!Stairs before child-proof

There are expensive ways to child-proof your stairs.  Plexiglass, custom built wood, welding in additional stair rails.  And then there’s our way: Bungee Cords and Cable Ties.

Supplies needed:

10-16  4′ to 6′ bungee cords (amount needed will depend on the length of your stairs.  We used twelve here)

1 Box Cable Ties

1 Strong Parent

Scissors optional, for trimming cable ties.


Start at the top of the stairs.  Hook bungee cords on first post.  Then pull the bungee cord is taut, and hook it on first available post.  Mattering on the spacing of your rails, you may need to use two people.  On wood rails, bring the cord around the rail and hook it to itself, not the rail, to avoid dents.

Repeat with a second cord about four to five inches under the first.  Continue until you have enough cords to completely fill in the space.

Once you’ve completed one set, continue down the stairs until you’ve reached the bottom.  Double-check visually to make sure that all of the cords are tight, but not excessively so (you don’t want to accidently bend your rails) and evenly spaced.

Use cable ties to attach the top bungee cord to the top railing, approximately every six feet.  The attach a cable tie between each row of bungee cords.  Attach a last tie between the bottom cord and the bottom railing, if there is one (metal stairs typically have a bottom railing, wooden ones do not.)  This will ensure that your bungee cords stay evenly spaced, and that an ambitious child will not pull them all down or push them all up to get through the space.

Trim the cable ties if necessary.  We didn’t need to.

Viola!  For less than $20 and under an hour of your time, you’ve fixed your stairs.  This method, although not the prettiest, will last for years to come.

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