Children getting their heads suck in the railings of a balcony or staircase is almost a trope on television and in movies. Yet, behind this comedic situation is real hazard. Balcony safety for kids is important, as approximately 140 children die from falls per year in the United States
Balconies are dangerous for children as they’re high off the ground and children don’t understand that danger. Children have been known to climb railings to look at something interesting, as well as to stick their head and limbs through the rails. If you have young children, invest in these ways to improve high-rise balcony safety and protect your children.
Cable Railing Systems & Glass Systems
Many online safety organizations tell you how to modify your existing rail system to protect your children. They suggest tying or taping netting or fencing across the rail to make up for its vertical rails with large gaps.
You can do that, but it doesn’t look good and it can create additional safety concerns. If your child can still fit their head through the rail, the netting, tarp or other obstruction may just make the problem worse. Instead, consider installing a cable railing system.
Railings with cables are safer for children than other types of rail systems. The cables run horizontally, not vertically, which means that children are less able to stick their heads between the rails. Plus, our cable rail systems can be installed with cables closer together than typical rails so that most children’s heads will not fit.
Glass railings are similarly safe because they have very few gaps where children could even attempt to fit their heads. Plus, without a horizontal rail, these systems are hard to climb.
Starting with a safer railing system will make it easier to child-proof the railing, but that’s not all that needs to be done.
Other Safety Features
Even with properly installed cable railing systems, children can still attempt to climb the rail and end up falling off the balcony. One great way to prevent this is to install a strip of small spikes on the top of the rail. These plastic strips should not be sharp enough to puncture the child’s skin but should be too uncomfortable for them to rest their weight against.
A few specialized products accomplish this task, including the Anti Grabbity. This strip of small spikes is virtually invisible, so it doesn’t ruin the lovely look of your balcony railing.
Besides safety features, there are also a few things you can do to help keep your children more safe while on the balcony:
- Furniture: Keep the balcony furniture far enough away from the rail that children cannot use the furniture to climb the railing and then fall off it.
- Supervision: When you’re not nearby to supervise, keep the door to your high-rise balcony closed.
- Small objects: It’s unwise to allow children to play with small objects on the balcony. If they drop between the rails, children may be motivated to go get them back, without understanding the danger.
Once you have a secure railing system and a controlled balcony your young children will be much safer when they’re on the balcony enjoying the sunshine.