There are countless safety organizations around today that will give you many options to modify your existing balcony railing to make it safer for children. Some of the solutions are to add netting or lattice to eliminate the risk of children placing their heads through the gaps in vertical rails.
While these are effective options, they may not look as stylish as you had hoped. In addition, by adding netting or lattice, you can end up adding more potential safety concerns around toddlers as children can be notoriously adept at getting tangled up. Instead of these alterations, consider installing a horizontal or vertical railing system.
Barriers that are made from cables are safe for children. They are normally done in a default horizontal direction which makes it more difficult for children to place their head between. Most cable railing installations can be adjusted to your preferences as well. You can choose to have the railings placed much closer together to completely eliminate the risk of a small body part getting caught in between.
Horizontal vs Vertical Cable Railing
When it comes to cable railing, there are both horizontal and vertical versions, though vertical installations are not as commonly found. When it comes to households with children, horizontal cable railing is normally viewed as the safer option. The biggest concern with vertical cable railing is that children are more prone to squeeze their heads through the railings and may become stuck.
With horizontal railings, the biggest concern is that children will attempt to climb the rails like a ladder. However, there are a variety of simple ways to keep children from climbing the railing such as adding small plastic knobs or spikes that can be secured to the cables. While these will not hurt your child, they will be too uncomfortable for a child to place their weight on the railing to climb and will practically reduce the chance of an active toddler tumbling over the barrier.
Child-Safe Alternative Railings
If you aren’t comfortable with using cable railing, there are additional options you can consider including solid panels, diamond weave wire, and angled slats. While not every railing type will work with every balcony, deck, or other structure you want contained, there are still many options you can consider.
One of the most popular alternatives to cable railing is glass panel railings. These railings are made from tempered glass which does not crack or shatter without extreme force being placed on it. In homes with toddlers and other small children, durable tempered glass is strong enough to withstand thumps and bumps from active children playing with their toys.
Additionally, glass panels are difficult or even impossible for a toddler to climb, and there are very few gaps between panels where a small head, arm, or leg may get stuck. If that wasn’t enough, they are also extremely easy to keep clean and sanitize which helps keep your children healthy and your home looking its best.