How to Make a Balcony Safe For Children
If you live in a house, apartment or condominium that features a balcony on a second floor or higher, you need to consider your child's safety. It's best if you never allow your child on the balcony without supervision, but some children make their way onto a balcony without your knowledge. Therefore, you must make sure that your balcony is safe for your child so he doesn't get hurt by falling from the balcony or getting stuck between the rails.
Remove anything that your child may climb onto to reach over the railing. This includes chairs and tables that some people keep on their balconies. Even if you place these items away from the railing, some children will move the object to climb on it. If you must keep furniture on your balcony, secure it to the wall or balcony floor with furniture anchors to prevent it from being moved.
Measure the space between the guard rails. Anything greater than four inches is a threat to your child's safety. If your rails measure more than four inches or you feel that your child may use the rails to climb, install a clear rail guard all around the balcony.
Replace decorative railings if you're allowed. The decorative pieces between the rails provide your child with a place to climb. Straight rails are more difficult to climb.
Position a safety gate across the doorway that leads out onto the balcony. A safety gate deters your child from getting onto the balcony by himself in the first place.
Lock the door that leads to your balcony so that your child can't open the door. In some cases, the type of lock on the door may be easy for your child to open. If this is the case, take other safety precautions to prevent unsupervised access.
Inspect your balcony frequently for loose or rotten boards and loose or missing rail pieces. Make repairs as soon as possible. If someone else is responsible for the repairs, such as in an apartment, request a repair immediately. If no one repairs it in a timely manner, call daily until someone fixes the issue. Keep your child off the balcony completely until the repair is done.
- Always supervise your child while he's on the balcony.
- You may need permission to install furniture anchors or rail guards, especially if you live in an apartment.
Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.
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