Michele of I Got Two, Babe came up with this answer for the baby + stairs problem:
We have almost 2-year old twin boys who have been fascinated with the stairs since they could crawl to them. We have them gated off, but are starting to let the boys try to go up and down them “like big boys” (walking, not crawling). Plus it is time for us to ward off the inevitable gate security breach that we expect any day. I found a way to cushion a possible fall and my nerves while they learn is to put a big, (new) pillowy dog bed at the bottom of the stairs. The stairs are carpeted, but the landing is wood and the dog bed offers a softer landing. You can find them in any of the big discount retail stores for about $30 and up.