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Child Safety Balcony Railings Guide

Curiosity comes naturally to children. 

Their love of climbing, touching, observing, and exploring causes them to be more susceptible to injury.

Apartment complexes and other high-rise residential buildings have balconies and other outdoor areas that can be dangerous for children. 

According to studies, children who fall heights of 50 feet or less have the highest survival rate at 98%. Of those who die, lethal head injuries are the leading cause. 

Many of these deaths could be prevented with simple measures, like installing strong railings on their balconies and porches. 

In this guide, we will explore the importance of railings in keeping your balcony safe and why you should consider glass railings.

Related: How to Baby Proof Apartment Balcony

Also: Child Proof Indoor Balcony (6 Ideas)

Are balcony railings safe?

Modern railing must meet safety standards because of the risk of falling apart and causing youngsters to fall through or become trapped between balusters. 

Related: Can Balcony Guardrail Have Diagonal Balusters?

According to the International Residential Code (IRC) or International Building Code (IBC), a residence must meet several standards before it may be built. 

This implies that any product you purchase today is safe for children and satisfies quality standards. 

The person installing the product, whether it is a contractor or you, is responsible for ensuring that it is installed correctly by following the manufacturer’s instructions and using the appropriate hardware.

The spacing between balusters and posts on decks and balconies, as mandated by modern construction rules, must be as tiny as possible in order to prevent even a very little kid from having their head stuck in the gap. 

Related: How to Block Balcony Gaps: 8 Ideas

Railings must also meet a certain strength and height standard in order to limit the danger of falling as discussed in the following section.

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What gap can a child squeeze through?

Climbing onto a balcony is usually a child’s favorite pastime. 

With the added height, they can finally achieve their goal of getting up high. 

Of course, parents would be worried about safety and protection from falls. 

However, getting past such barriers can be as simple as penetrating instead of jumping over.

In such cases, the gap size can be a reason for concern. 

If the horizontal gap is greater than 11 cm (or approximately 4 inches), not only will the kid be able to fit through it easily without any problems, but it also poses a risk of falling according to studies

Balcony railing height regulations in most countries are generally 36 – 42 inches

In addition to being an excellent choice, a concrete parapet is also an option that is kind to your wallet when it comes to childproofing your balcony.

In the meanwhile, if you are concerned that towering grills will obstruct your view, one alternative that will keep youngsters safe and won’t obstruct your view is to install a clear balcony shield made of waist-high plexiglass.

Related: Baby Proof Balcony Plexiglass: Pros and Cons

Are horizontal railings safe for kids?

Parental concerns about kids attempting to scale horizontal railings have fueled a spirited discussion over the railings’ safety. 

The flexibility of the steel cabling in horizontal cable railings, which might result in a youngster forcing the wires apart and either falling through, being trapped between the cables, or otherwise harming themselves, is another common issue. 

For the safety of everyone who uses the place, a few rules must be rigorously adhered to.

It is essential that cable railings are installed correctly in order to guarantee their safety.

Deflection is significantly reduced when high-quality, rigid cabling is used. It is essential that this cabling be properly and thoroughly tethered. 

Another important factor to keep in mind is the space between the wires. This will guarantee that no children or dogs may get between the cables. 

Learn More: Leaving Balcony Door Open for Dog: 6 Answers (Explained)

Installing horizontal balusters is safe if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use an expert. 

To avoid cable railings becoming loose and disconnected from their posts, the materials and construction techniques used should be of the highest quality. 

If the cables aren’t tightened on a regular basis, they’ll loosen up and cause problems down the road.

Are glass railings safe for kids?

The architecture of any home or business area may be improved by installing glass stair railings. 

Even though there are a wide variety of styles to choose from, the many customization choices make it possible to create almost any combination you can imagine. 

Read More: 13 Inspiring Indoor Balcony Ideas

Glass is a beautiful material since it can be used in any kind of space, and it also looks well with a broad variety of architectural styles and color schemes. 

Due to the fact that glass is transparent, you won’t need to be concerned about finding the ideal railing hue to complement your room. 

Because it requires little to no upkeep and will endure for a very long time, purchasing it is an excellent financial move.

Glass, in contrast to other forms of railing, does not split horizontally into two pieces. 

Instead, glass railings allow for the unimpeded passage of light across the whole space (whether it is a room or stairway). 

The end effect is a room that gives the impression of being much bigger than it really is. 

Even the ceilings themselves will seem to be of a greater height than they would be with a conventional railing.

When you think of a product made of glass, you can mistakenly compare it to the delicate nature of a drinking glass because of how easily it can break. 

The majority of people who own homes and businesses worry that glass won’t be able to sustain enough weight, or that it will break if it receives an accidental blow to the side. 

Realistically, glass railings are very solid, provided that the custom railings or glass stair railing kit is obtained from a reliable manufacturer and are placed in accordance with the most effective installation methods. Here’s why:

  • It’s made from tempered glass through the heat treatment process that gives its safety properties, increases the surface strength and alters the way the glass breaks. Regular glass breaks into dangerously sharp fragments when it is shattered, however this is not the case with this material which is four times stronger. In the very unlikely event that tempered glass breaks, it shatters into small harmless cubes.
  • You won’t find gaps, slats and bars for children or pets to fall through in glass railings, unlike many other solutions. Because there is no room for a foot on glass railings, children cannot climb them.
  • Related: Can Cats Get Fleas From a Balcony? How to Keep Them Away
  • Glass does not deteriorate or rot in any way; it keeps its integrity and does not move from its position. Metal, which is resistant to rot and decay, is frequently used in the construction of the support systems for glass stair railings.
  • When high-quality fasteners are used, the glass railing’s load-bearing capacity, sturdiness, and protection are all enhanced.

Are glass railings hard to keep clean?

Adding glass balusters to a balcony or patio is a great idea. 

For the most part, glass is a non-porous material that doesn’t become tarnished or faded by exposure to the elements. 

Rust or damage from typical household items will not affect it. 

Although you will have to maintain it more often than you would with an iron fence, it isn’t quite as tough as you would expect to clean it.

For a quick and easy clean of your glass railing, invest in a window cleaning tool from your local hardware store that has the appearance of a spray bottle and can be attached to your garden hose. 

These equipment spray cleaner onto the glass. After that, give the glass one final rinse before you call it a day. 

Utilize a cleanser for your windshield.

A simple wipe can keep the glass railings clean for a long period of time, much like a windshield cleaner.

Vinegar may also be used to make your own dish soap or cleaning solution. 

Those with chemical sensitivities should opt for vinegar-based cleaning solutions. 

Nevertheless, you should be careful not to get vinegar on the railing’s supports, top and bottom rails, or the coating on metals. 

Powder-coated surfaces should be cleaned using a pH-neutral cleanser, such as a mild soap solution, according to most manufacturers. 

The coating may be damaged by vinegar, regular detergents, cleansers and chemicals derived from petroleum, which may invalidate the warranty.

Acetone- and toothpaste-based cleaners may remove even the most persistent stains, such as those caused by permanent markers.

Balcony guards are not inherently safe!

Rental property owners are legally required to provide safety for children and others on balconies. 

This means that the balcony guard must be a minimum of 42 inches in height and have railings on all sides. 

Balcony railings do not guarantee the safety of children and others but it does reduce the risk of serious injury. 

Check your local building codes to ensure that your balcony meets the legal requirements. 

Also, keep balcony play areas free from clutter, securely fastened and out of reach from children to whom they are not suitable.

Zebedee Nambaleo
Zebedee Nambaleo

Zebedee is the founder of RealEstate Ke. He creates content by carefully examining and analyzing the real estate market, home improvement resources, and government data. His analysis is based on the principle of supplying high-quality, relevant, and in-depth information to his audience. By evaluating the current conditions and predicting future trends, he provides his audience with invaluable insights that allow them to make better decisions.