How to make your balcony safer for your children
At this time of year, any outdoor space to call your own is a blessing, and a private balcony is certainly no exception.
However, if you’re a parent with young children, your balcony may have found itself somewhat neglected. As every mum or dad knows, letting little ones out onto a balcony poses some worrying risks.
While children should be accompanied and watched carefully at all times while on balconies, with these simple steps, you can get out and enjoy the rising temperatures with the kids more safely.
If your railings have any horizontal bars which your child could use as a ladder, you’ll need to cover them with protective sheeting, from the inside of the balcony.
If you're not precious about how your balcony looks, one free option is to cover the railings with old bed sheets. However, the sheet would need to be pulled taut against the railing to act properly as a barrier.
For a more aesthetically pleasing solution that also doesn't obstruct your view, you can buy detachable safety nets online.
Properly position balcony furniture
Make sure any furniture is kept away from the balcony railings to stop your child using them to climb up and go over the edge.
Cover up railing gaps
Children are notoriously flexible, and are known to get into all sorts of nooks and crannies.
So, if your balcony’s railings have any gaps that are wider than four inches (half the width of an A4 sheet of paper) you'll need to cover them up, in order to prevent your child from squeezing through.
Secure the stairs
If there are any stairs attached to your balcony, whether they head up or down, you should install a child safety gate to keep your child from falling.
The gate will need to be tall enough to prevent your child from climbing over it, and will also require a child safety latch to avoid them outsmarting it.
Add window and door latches
Consider adding child safety latches to any windows or doors that lead out onto your balcony, to avoid little ones accessing it when you're not looking.
Consider a play pen
If your child is very young, it may be easier to keep them safe on the balcony within a playpen.
This is an alternative to covering any gaps in the railings to secure the balcony parameters.
Unlike covers, playpens are also handy indoors during bad weather when the balcony is not in use and they can be easily taken out onto the balcony when you do need to use them.
Add a soft floor mat
Unless you have made some unusual design choices, it is unlikely that your balcony will have carpeted flooring.
To keep your child from grazing or bruising themselves while they enjoy their time in the outdoors, consider using a soft floor mat.
While most high street retailers have shut up shop due to the pandemic, you needn't worry if you don't own one already, as many stores sell these mats online.