Section Heading Background Image


For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Tips for Going Up and Down Stairs Safely

July 2019 | Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Occupational Therapist, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Going up and down stairs can be challenging for some people with Down syndrome. Aging, differences in depth perception, unsteady gait, and other issues may contribute to difficulty with navigating stairs. The suggestions below may help with going up and down stairs safely. 

  • Make sure there is at least one handrail. Having two handrails is best (one on each wall or side when possible). 


  • Keep stairways well-lit. When possible, include lights on the walls up/down the stairway. 
  • Remove photos and other decorations from the walls of the stairway to minimize distractions.
  • Use a slip-resistant tape on the tread of the step.
  • Provide contrast between the tread and riser of the step. Consider using different colors of paint or tape for the tread and riser. ‚Äč
  • If possible, add a chair lift.
  • Caregivers can use a gait belt to assist their loved one up and down stairs.
  • When all else fails, scoot up and down on your behind.


For resources on aging and Down syndrome, please see this link


Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

View Resource Library


Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.