The Third Step Solution
If you have a one-year-old baby and a two-story house, you are eminently aware of the fact that infants love to climb stairs. They are compelled to take on the challenge and take great delight in using their ever-improving strength and coordination to conquer it. The activity provides them with good exercise as well as the opportunity to increase their motor skills and build their self-esteem.
Unfortunately, stairs also present an obvious danger, as taking a tumble all the way down can result in serious injury. Consequently, most parents place gates at the top and bottom of each staircase in the home and only allow their infant to pursue her climbing passion when they are available to supervise.
However, in homes where I have observed children developing beautifully and to the full extent of their potential, the parents often take a slightly different approach. While they do place gates at the top of each staircase, they choose at least one staircase, usually a carpeted one, and place the other gate on the third step up from the bottom. That allows the infant unlimited opportunities to climb with sufficient challenge and with minimal risk of injury.