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Make DIY the balcony safe for children

DIY the balcony safe

So that children can play safely on the balcony, you should make it childproof beforehand. We give practical tips for more security.

Children like to climb. However, climbing on the balcony can quickly become very dangerous. In order to avoid falls and injuries, mindfulness alone is sometimes not enough. Safety measures can be taken when planning a new balcony as well as when modernizing it.

Secure parapets and railings

The safest are parapets or railings with a closed surface. Here the little ones can neither climb up the struts nor stick their heads through the bars. However, the free space under the balcony railing should not be more than twelve centimeters.
In contrast to flat balcony parapets, other models are equipped with exactly these struts (e.g. wooden boards, metal rods), which are arranged at a certain distance from each other. So that neither the head nor the body of a child can fit through the vertically arranged bars, the rungs must be no more than 12 centimeters apart. Of course, less is even better to ensure that small children are adequately protected against falling. How high the balcony railing has to be depends on the state – it can vary between 90 and 120 centimeters.
The building regulations of the federal states contain all the necessary specifications that must be observed.

Make the balcony safe for children
Photo: gardena

Better to retrofit barred parapets

Many balconies – especially in old buildings – have barred parapets. Although it certainly goes well with the style of the architecture, it poses a safety risk for children. They offer excellent climbing opportunities and are therefore no longer child-safe. The TÜV therefore recommends covering the struts firmly.

Panels made of wood or aluminium, plexiglass or frosted glass panes can be used. Balcony cladding made of fabric or tarpaulin are not quite as suitable because they are still flexible despite being attached. If you decide to do it anyway, make sure that the fairing is stretched taut and firmly attached. Check regularly whether the fasteners (cable ties are common) have loosened or come loose.

In addition to child safety, balcony cladding also offers other advantages: on the balcony, residents sit protected from the looks of passers-by and neighbors and gusts of wind are also mitigated.

Horizontal struts encourage climbing

Horizontal struts on balcony railings are also dangerous. They involuntarily take on the function of a ladder and encourage children to climb it and do gymnastics.

If you are building a new one, you should avoid such a solution right from the start, i.e. during the planning stage. With balconies that have already been built, you should check your balcony railing once and possibly secure it afterwards. Here you can only make the balcony railing safe for children, just like with barred parapets, with stable and firmly mounted plates.

Make the balcony safe for children
Photo: DIY Academy

Avoid slippery floor coverings

The most important protective measure is undoubtedly a stable and safe balcony railing.
However, injuries can also occur from falls on balconies. Rain or irrigation water on the floor can be dangerous not only for children. Puddles form above all when the slope does not meet the structural requirements of 1 to 2 percent or when drains are clogged with leaves and dirt. In order to protect your children from falling while playing, you should choose a surface that is as non-slip as possible and keep it clean. The little ones can walk and run safely on it even if they are only walking in stockings.

Make the balcony safe for children
Photo: BURG WÄCHTER
Make the balcony safe for children
Photo: DIY Academy

Secure balcony door

The transitions from the living room to the balcony can also be problematic. The frame of the balcony door is a tripping hazard for both children and older people. If you are planning to renovate the balcony, you can directly select floor-level models. In modern residential construction, attention is paid more and more to barrier-free solutions.

You should also secure the balcony door. In principle, small children should never be able to open the door themselves. So always lock the door or secure it with a window and balcony door lock . You can also mount the handle of the balcony door in such a way that it points upwards when closed and is therefore not so easy to reach.
If the door is open, you prevent children from pinching their fingers with a pinch guard.

Make the balcony safe for children
Photo: Bosch

Caution climbing aids

All structural precautions are useless if you violate your supervisory duties. Children’s fantasies know no limits. A chair, a table, a flower pot or a crate of drinks offer excellent climbing opportunities that children like to use when they are not being watched. Therefore, keep an eye on your children or remove all furniture and objects that could serve as climbing aids.

Make the balcony safe for children
Photo: Fiskars

Safe plants for children

Be careful not to plant poisonous plants on your balcony. What looks delicious for children and tempts them to try it can be toxic and cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or irritation of the mucous membranes and even respiratory paralysis. You should therefore inquire beforehand and avoid aconite, laburnum and angel’s trumpet, for example. The leaves and stems of tomato plants and green, unripe tomatoes can also contain toxic solanine.