Safety Precautions: Rocking Boat Step Climber / Pikler Triangle Climber

A soft surface such as a mat, rug or other should be always used underneath and around our Rocking Boats and Pikler Triangle.

The Step Climber is suitable for children of all ages beginning in infancy, however, when using the Rocking Boat orientation we recommend that children should be at least 12 months old. For first uses and before 18 months, children should be closely supervised to the point they are able to safely grip the handles and rock the boat on their own. After 18 months general supervision is still recommended. With close supervision we found that our boy at 12-13 months old was able to learn to grip the handles well within a few play explorations. After 18 months we were comfortable he could use the product safely while we were in the same or next room.

The following safety tips apply to both our Rocking Boat Step Climber and Pikler Triangle Climber.

Child play specialist Janet Lansbury recommends the following instructions when introducing a child to this product:

“Closely supervise children on this equipment the first few times they use it and whenever it is in use by more than one child. “Spot” rather than rescue, catch or otherwise remove children from the equipment, unless the child is too upset or exhausted to attempt getting down herself. (And if that’s the case, pick the child up rather than helping her down, so as not to give her a false of sense of her ability). Helping children with motor activities hinders their safety, because it gives them false impression they are able to jump, roll or step off of equipment independently.

One of the most common unsafe parenting practices is holding children’s hands to help them down steps. (For a story that illustrates, please read “Don’t Stand Me Up“.) Young children are impressionable and develop habits with astonishing speed. In a recent class, I was surprised to see a 14 month old whose parents have been diligently nurturing her natural motor development take a standing step off the step climber and fall. I was glad I happened to be there to break her fall (which is the goal of spotting — it’s very important to allow the child to fall as he or she would, so she understands the effect of her action). It was obvious to me that this toddler had been walked down steps recently, because she would not have taken a chance like that otherwise. The parents realized this must have happened with the substitute caregiver they’d hired for a couple of days. Through our patience and spotting during class this toddler quickly readjusted, remembering how to crawl down safely.” 

(Janet Lansbury article, see referenced extract in our blog here)