The Pikler triangle is many toddlers’ favorite climbing toy, but before you let your child start climbing — it’s important to keep safety in mind.
Today, we’ll look at Pikler triangle safety from various perspectives and offer some simple safety guidelines — so your little one can enjoy all the benefits with fewer bruises.
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Especially in the beginning, Pikler climbing frames are more challenging for young kids — than common hand-held or table-top toys.
There’s definitely a learning curve that parents should be aware about.
The first step towards preventing safety hazards is to understand which risks may be involved. Most parents have safety concerns.
First and foremost, you’re probably wondering — will my child fall down?
Yes, most likely.
Pikler climbing toys are designed for toddlers to problem solve, and figure out how to navigate the toy at their own pace. Sooner or later, it’s likely your child will take a fall.
Just like any baby or toddler activity, there is always the risk of injury. Kids just wouldn’t be kids without a scraped knee or bruised elbow now and then.
But there are precautions you can take, and that with choosing the right Pikler — even if that’s a second hand Pikler triangle.
Before you buy, pay attention to safety features.
Modern wooden Pikler toys are built with toddlers in mind, and include excellent safety enhancements, like rounded edges, sanded wood, pinch-proof adjustments, and more.
Keep reading — we’ll take a look at more safety tips for parents to follow below.
When you’re thinking about buying a Pikler triangle for your child, the chances are he or she is already climbing over everything in the house — no matter if it’s high or low, wobbly or sturdy, hard or soft, sharp or rounded.
Since a Pikler triangle — indoor wooden climbing toy, or however you like to call it — is designed for climbing, rest assured it’s already a safer choice of climbing equipment.
There’s nothing you can do to stop your baby or toddler from climbing, but there are things you can do to ensure a safe environment. In this regard, a Pikler triangle is an excellent choice to help your little one develop and practice gross motor skills and overall muscle strength and dexterity.
When does a Pikler triangle become age-appropriate? Most Pikler triangles are recommended for toddlers 6 months and up to children 5 years of age.
More accurately, the best time for toddlers to start with a Pikler depends on the individual child’s stage of development. When your kid starts crawling on furniture, on shelves, on countertops, and everywhere else — that’s the best time to introduce a Pikler into your play routine.
Here are some other signals that indicate your little guy or gal is ready to start with a Pikler:
- Mastering hand-and-knee crawling
- Starting to grasp objects lift him- or herself up
- Learning to take his or her first steps
- Ability to move large-ish objects like chairs or coffee tables
As a parent, there are a few common ways you can provide the safest-possible climbing environment for your toddler. Here are the best safety guidelines around — the kind experienced parents wished they knew when they started:
- Lay a soft surface. The best surface for Pikler climbing is soft yet sturdy. Something like foam floor mats is ideal, but carpeting or rugs work too. The idea is to avoid unforgiving hard floors like especially brick, concrete, or kitchen tile.
- Clear the area. Remove all sharp, hard, or breakable objects from the climbing area. Think hardwood furniture, indoor plant pots, handheld toys, or any other object that could cause harm if fallen or stepped onto.
- Don’t push the limits. The most common cause of playground accidents is peer pressure — when kids feel pressured to take on physical challenges beyond their current level of ability. As a parent, you might think you’re helping your toddler learn faster by helping him or her up each step. On the contrary, you’re increasing the risk of a tumble or fall. Instead, let your child explore on his or her own and only climb as high as their comfortable with.
- Adjust the angle. Make sure your climbing toy is appropriate for your child’s stage of development. If your Pikler triangle is adjustable, start at the easiest setting, then adjust to higher difficulty when you know your child is ready. The old saying goes “you must learn to crawl before you can walk”.
- Fasten the hinges. For adjustable Pikler triangles — like most on the market today — they’ll come with hinges that allow you to adjust the height and angle of the structure. After you make an adjustment, make sure you fasten the hinges securely. That way you’ll avoid finger pinching — or even worse, a collapse.
- Follow weight guidelines. Particularly when multiple kids climb on a single Pikler, remember to keep your Pikler model’s maximum weight limitation in mind.
- Keep it dry. It’s a uncommon scenario for sure, but just in case your Pikler does get wet, from spilled milk or the like — stop playing, wipe it dry, and wait for it to completely air dry. Not only is a slick Pikler more dangerous to climb, but you risk warping the wood permanently which could render the entire piece unsafe.
- Consider alternatives. Parental anxiety is real. Even after reading your Pikler triangle’s manual and watching a dozen safety tips videos online — if you’re still not comfortable with the idea of your little one climbing up high, it might be time to consider alternatives. An indoor balance board or outdoor playhouse are just two examples of play equipment that’ll keep your kiddo moving, without tinging your parental fear of heights.
And remember the importance of parental supervision…
Independent play versus unsupervised play — what’s the difference?
One thing parents need to understand is the key difference between “independent play” and “unsupervised play” — because one is safer than the other.
- ✅ Independent play is a good thing because it helps your child learn and grow. It essentially means as a parent or guardian you offer your child more freedom to explore — and that’s what the Pikler triangle is designed for. By letting your child move freely and climb by themselves. You act as an observer, and let your child figure out his or her next steps without explicit instruction.
- ❌ Unsupervised play poses danger and is never recommended for young children. It means no parent or guardian is around at all — so if a tumble, bump, or scrape were to take place while a child’s climbing Pikler triangle, there’s no adult present to intervene. Need I say more?
Over to you!
Before introducing a new toy to a child, safety is one thing every responsible parent should ask themselves.
Maureen Ryan — a teaching consultant specializing in health, parenting, and education — said it best:
Climbing is an important stage in the development of gross motor skills, but it can be hard behavior for parents to manage. […] Trying to stop a climbing toddler is not likely to work. A better approach is to learn what motivates your child to climb, look for ways to redirect that urge, and do whatever you can to lessen the risks of injury.
And that’s where a Pikler triangle is the your perfect companion!
I’d love to hear your experience with a climbing toddler! Do you have any pointers for new parents? What do you think is the safest Pikler triangle brand? Let me know in the comments below!