Good Questions: Securing a Balcony

Good Questions: Securing a Balcony

Feb 23, 2007

EC sent us an email: "We're in the process of babyproofing the house and one of the areas is the foyer balcony. We would very much like to keep this reading area with the chaise, but we know the hazards of children climbing up on the chaise and leaning over the balcony. We thought of using some modern screens (inexpensive if possible)to prevent the child from leaning over, but would still like the light and the view to come through. Any suggestions?"

That chaise! that window! We want to move in and live on your foyer balcony!

Railing security is tough. When we had a social worker inspecting our place (an adoption requirement in the US), one of the things she mentioned is that balcony railings should be spaced less than 4" apart for maximum safety, and that anything over 4" presents significant danger to children under the age of 10 - apparently, kids love to stick their heads through the railings. To make them safer, many people use products like the KidSafe Kid Shield. There is also a corresponding product for outdoor balcony railings.

Unfortunately for that gorgeous chaise, the general rule of thumb is to never place furniture near balcony railings. A standard folding screen placed between the furniture and the railing isn't going to protect a child who falls against it.Screens might help, but only if they are more permanent - either bolted in to ceiling or floor, with no gaps across the span of the railing. have you thought about putting in a new railing, maybe something more modern, that encorporated plexiglass in the design and was taller than the standard 33(ish)" railings commonly used on balconies?

AT readers, what do you think? Is it possible to secure this gorgeous balcony? Is babygating the whole thing off the only solution? If you have a balcony, either interior or exterior, how did you secure it?

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