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Crutches and children - stairs

Taking stairs with crutches can be tricky and scary. Learn how to help your child take stairs safely.

Taking Stairs with Crutches

Teach your child to put his weight on his good foot and leg when going up or down stairs. Walk behind your child when he is going up stairs, and walk in front of your child when he is going down stairs. 

Your child may find it easier to scoot up and down the steps. Your child can use his hands and good foot to lift his bottom up to scoot up or down the steps. 

Tell your child to think UP with the good foot or leg and DOWN with the bad foot or leg. 

To go upstairs, tell your child to: 

  • Put his good foot on the step and push up. 
  • Push down hard on the crutches to help lift up too. 
  • Lift the crutches and his bad leg up to the step. Both legs and crutches are on the same step now. 
  • Repeat this until he is up the stairs. 

If there is a handrail, have your child hold both crutches in one hand. Hold the handrail with the other. Step up with the good leg. Bring the crutches up to the step. Repeat for each step. 

To go down stairs, tell your child to: 

  • Lower the crutches to the step. 
  • Put the bad foot out in front of him.
  • Balance on the crutches and step down with his good foot. Keep the bad foot out in front of him.

Update Date: 9/27/2012

Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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