Having an apartment balcony is a perk. People like to refresh, dry clothes, or entertain themselves in an open area. So, extra natural outdoor space is a sensible idea that some people take advantage of in a confined apartment.
But for unsupervised little ones who don’t think of consequences, a height and a large exposed area is a tempting invitation for adventures that pose equally great danger.
To keep your balcony safe for your baby and minimize the risk, take the following 12 measures:
- Plan before moving in
- Cover balcony with shields
- Shut the doors
- Buy baby safety gate
- Get a playpen
- Lock balcony doors
- Install an alarm
- Remove climbable objects
- Create a designated outdoor play area
- Add a mat or rug to the balcony floor
- Secure furniture on the balcony
- Cover electrical outlets
Related: First Floor Window Security Ideas
Balcony safety ideas for toddlers
1. Plan before moving in
Life happens. But what if you had the slightest chance to control the outcome? You would go for it.
Hunting for a new rental presents the opportunity to settle for what’s best for you. If you have a baby coming, you must consider their safety before they start to crawl.
Urban development authorities do the leg work of ensuring apartment buildings are hazard-proof before they’re approved to host human beings.
On a personal level, you can inspect other features that may harm your child’s safety.
Open balconies, staircases, or ledges that a baby gate cannot block off are less desirable to sustain unintended tumbles.
You surely don’t want to rely only on the safety gate. At least, there should be a pretty standard balcony wall or grill only to make a few adjustments.
2. Cover balcony with shields
If you have already moved in and are unsatisfied with the frame and bars on the balcony, it’s time to shop for your first protection product.
Local stores supply balcony shields, which are thick rolls of plastic shields that can cover open areas within balcony posts.
Never will you worry again about your baby fitting her body through balcony posts when you have them installed. Sometimes they are referred to as banister shields because of their versatile indoor usability.
Discover: 13 Inspiring Indoor Balcony Ideas
Plexiglass is another option here. Though expensive, it can fill balcony frame gaps and protect against rain, dust, and sunlight.
3. Shut the doors
Without keeping the doors to your apartment balcony closed, a plastic shield won’t stop a skilled little one from jumping over.
When climatic conditions allow you to commit to closed apartment doors, then please do so.
We want to ensure the balcony is out of reach.
For the sake of everybody in your home, aerate the apartment enough by opening the windows instead so that the warm, stuffy air can escape and be replaced by cool air.
That way, even when you’re not looking, a creeping baby won’t access the balcony.
4. Buy baby safety gate
Circumstances may not allow you to keep the door leading to the balcony shut the whole day.
Alternatively, you can purchase a baby safety gate on the market. A pressure-mounted gate, for example, can be conveniently placed to block the doorway and be removed after it has served its purpose.
There is no need to worry about permanently fitting the gate with screws and drilling holes. You can use it in other areas of the house too.
Considering that a safety gate ultimately divides a section of the floor area to offer an added layer of security, it’s worth the money you spend.
5. Get a playpen
There are many purposes for which we use the balcony. It won’t be a sensible idea for kids to roam freely there.
You wouldn’t want your baby to make its way into plant pots or other fragile things. If you use your balcony as a storage place for equipment like barbecue grills, your baby will be interested in touching or hanging over.
They could tamper with your valuable things or, worse, eat dirt and put their health at risk.
A perfect solution for baby safety on the balcony is a playpen. However, you must ensure no plant or equipment gets in their way. You want to store them a bit far away from their reach.
6. Lock balcony doors
As much as you want to keep the balcony doors locked, an unsupervised kid can jump to the ledge and push them open.
An easy fix is to secure the doors inside with a lock and key (ideally, one that is self-locking). These must be the kind of locks that can’t be easily picked, as your little one will try to figure out a way to open them.
If other dwellers of your house use the balcony regularly, inform them about the importance of keeping it out of bounds or only use it when necessary (even if they have a key).
Otherwise, spending money on apartment balcony locks may seem like a waste of time, only to find that they have been disregarded.
7. Install an alarm
An alarm that will notify you in case of break-ins is completely overkilling for balcony safety, but it will be helpful if you have guests over.
If you install a motion sensor that will activate in case of movement on the balcony, you will be alerted about the unauthorized entry and your child having too much fun outside.
Of course, the alarm will cost a small fortune, but this investment could prove invaluable depending on your living situation.
Creepy crawlies may not be your biggest worry, but even a few families with tiny, squishy, and loud pets have been known to stir too much excitement in their little ones, so adding an alarm will make you sleep better at night.
See Also: Leaving Balcony Door Open for Dog: 6 Answers (Explained)
8. Remove climbable objects
Climbing is a pastime that will become more relevant the longer your child is going to be an active, curious young one.
While they may not be able to climb up every balcony railing, there are still objects that should not be left at reachable heights. Make sure all lights and other things with cords are out of reach.
Even if they aren’t visible, you can bet they are still within arm’s reach. Potted plants may be beautiful, but don’t forget to keep them out of danger’s way. Otherwise, you may end up with a very expensive prizewinner.
Rocking horses, ride-on toys, and bikes can also be dangerous sources of entertainment in the wrong hands.
9. Create a designated outdoor play area
An area where your kids can safely play while you are busy inside will keep them out of trouble as they grow up.
A trampoline or a tree swing is just a few things you can add outside on the ground to keep your young children busy.
Letting them know that the balcony is off limits and only for adults will help enforce the eldest’s authority and won’t allow them to feel like they’re missing out.
A little training can keep them in line, but remember that they will still have to learn the hard way and will probably try to sneak onto the balcony occasionally.
10. Add a mat or rug
Safety measures should always be taken, mainly when your little one is around because you do not want them to trip and fall.
Ceramic tile can be a little slippery, proving problematic if you have a toddler who loves to run around the apartment.
Adding a non-slip mat or rug to the balcony floor will add some cushioning and make it safer for your little one.
Staircases can also be hazardous sometimes, so be extra careful when they are up and down. Clean spills immediately, and don’t allow your kids to eat or drink on the balcony.
11. Secure furniture
Like your child, furniture can easily get knocked over.
As a result, you will either have to take it apart and move it inside or find a way to keep it from falling off the balcony.
Windy days can be scary with the patio furniture. So keep it secured by stacking, planting a windbreak, or using bungee cords or a safety harness.
Aside from the falling table, you don’t want any of your possessions to go overboard. Be wary of what you leave out there in case a gust of wind takes it with it.
Don’t place heavy objects like flower pots on high surfaces, as they may get blown off or broken from being bumped.
12. Cover electrical outlets
Some balconies have outlets for plugging in the TV, electric grill, computer, or phone when you need a quick charge.
Little fingers love to throw things into these open holes, and even though they are not very big, they can still result in a nasty shock.
Do yourself a favor and put a protector over the wall opening or plug anything in before leaving the room. Install self-closing outlet covers, so they stay shut even if your child tries to open them.
Also, wrap multiple cords together and use a holder to keep your cables out of the way when they are not in use.
What to consider when planning to keep your balcony safe
1. Lockable balcony
Understand the risk of having a balcony, and if it is feasible to lock the door, you should do so.
Before your small children know how to climb a patio, always consider the possibility that they might try with the door open.
While a daycare may be the first place that you think of for checking for potential dangers, it is never too early to start instilling a sense of safety for all those living under your roof.
By planning all kinds of scenarios, you can help to design an environment where harm and injury are less likely to occur.
2. Climbable balcony
Children can have exceptional climbing skills. Underestimating their abilities is the worst thing you can do.
If your balcony is arranged so toddlers can climb up the wall, it’s time to reconsider the setup. Curious minds will want to see what’s on the other side of the wall.
Apart from risking falling off the balcony to the ground, when your child can move up the wall, then can fall inside the balcony and still get badly injured.
3. Railing gaps
Different balcony designs and makeup present various climbing hazards.
A balcony with rails will have gaps within.
More than 4 inches of space allows your child to fit through crisscrossed bars. Additionally, folded rails and grills provide perfect grip points for tiny feet to mount the frame.
Related: Child Safety Balcony Railings Guide
4. Furniture and toys
Your little geniuses can improvise tables and chairs on the balcony into ladders. They’ll drag a chair over a table and climb it when you’re distracted from watching over them.
Do you allow your children to play with toys on the balcony? If they are big, then they will be used as climbing platforms. That’s not the only thing to worry about. Easily movable toys can be lifted and thrown off the balcony, endangering the safety of passersby beneath.
Related: Balcony Toys for Toddlers: 9 Ideas & Factors to Consider
Burn hazards emanate from open fires and BBQs. No wonder regulations discourage using BBQs within your premises.
Setting aside balcony space for such purposes only adds smoke and fire dangers to the likelihood of kids ascending the balcony.
6. Traveling abroad
Short visits abroad for a holiday offer some time to relax but no chance to secure your balcony. Most serviced apartment owners might not meet every guest’s needs.
There may be general safety measures in place that might not be up to your standards. It can be daunting to try to fix the balcony of a vacation rental because of your short stay.
Child proof roof terrace
Roof terraces are a great feature of a home. They allow you to breathe fresh air outdoors as you enjoy an elevated and secluded view of the neighborhood and the areas beyond.
Your children enjoy the roof terrace as much as you do. They cannot protect themselves. Their safety is your responsibility.
Unless it’s your own house, not all landlords allow making permanent adjustments to their building. If they do, and you’re willing to convince them by offsetting some or all of the cost, then apply these few ideas:
- Fit a tall trellis around the railing
- Build a custom design glass railing
- Fix a raised balustrade with tall posts and strung wire above the glass.
General rental home baby-proofing tips
1. Things easy to knock over
Almost anything in the house can catch your curious and active baby’s eye. And if these items are loosely kept, they have the potential to cause harm.
Plants, picture frames, and other home decors are easy to knock over but can also cause tripping accidents that may be fatal.
In the kitchen, keep away knives, gas stoves, glass dishes, and any sharp, hot object that can shatter into pieces when dropped.
If the baby has to be with you in the kitchen, restrict her to a chair far from the table, sink, and rags, and if possible, lock up all cookware and cutlery.
The next area you want to check is the living room.
Wires that connect the console, stereo system, and TV set create a danger zone for unsuspecting children. They are not only hazardous when it comes to falling, but your child will be electrocuted when she puts a live wire in her mouth.
Remove any cords running on the floor or hanging within reach. Cover or hide them away to minimize access for the kid.
If your home has stairs, you need to be more vigilant than a rental property that does not. It means you have extra precautions you need to take.
First, ensure hand railings are sturdily and strongly supported.
Cover slippery frames, such as wood, with non-slip materials to enhance grip.
On the same note, avoid placing furniture next to staircases, so your kid doesn’t climb them.
Making time for friends by visiting them or meeting in a restaurant can be daunting to keep kids safe. Don’t take your eyes off your baby. And if they have to play, balconies and stairs should be out of bounds.
Related: Can a Balcony Have Stairs?
3. Cabinets and cupboards
Lock up cupboards by all means.
These areas house medical supplies, cleaning products, pots, and pans, and if toddlers easily find them, they might want to experiment with them.
Nowadays, there are many child-proof locks you can use on cabinets. Check online or with your retail store and organize for them to be fitted.
Some rentals do not provide provisions to lock or close kitchen cabinets. Maybe it’s due to the design.
Do not despair.
Transfer potentially dangerous items to higher-level shelves in the kitchen.
4. Heaters and radiators
The danger posed by heaters is burning.
Even if your kid is coming into contact, you risk losing your house’s possessions into flames.
Effects can be widespread.
We want to protect our children, who can cause overheating. Block accessibility to power switches or radiator valves so they won’t turn on.
Once you’re done using a radiator or heater, ensure it cools first before keeping away, just in case your kid is curious enough to touch it.
5. Furniture arrangement
It might not be easy to convince your landlord to replace furniture if you live in a furnished apartment.
On the other hand, if the furniture is yours, you can use that control to your advantage.
In what position is your chair or table? The solution may be to move them to a different location.
Are they wobbly, sharp, or fragile?
If your answer is yes, it’s time to replace them with standard, more family-favorable options.
Purchasing new furniture could be something financial constraints won’t allow in the short term. Safety guards come in handy, for that matter. Use them to smoothen and fill out jagged edges.
Any fastening on the wall should be brought to the owners’ attention before any hardware installation.
Since windows open to the outside, they increase the chances of falling. The higher you live from the ground floor, the scarier the accident gets.
That does not mean people living on lower floors face no such risk.
Regardless of where you live, the impact can lead to death when your baby falls.
Here are a few ways you baby-proof your rental apartment windows:
- Window Guards
- Window Stops
- Shard-Proof Window Films
- Window Cord Retrofit Kits
Prioritize your children’s safety
An apartment balcony can be a blessing in disguise, especially if you’re a new renter and have small children. This is where you can enjoy great fun and fresh air without ever having to step outside the building.
Children will also want to frequent this exposed area, and you don’t want it to be a danger zone.
The most critical aspect of ensuring your child is safe if they ever get to the balcony is ensuring it’s completely protected with a shield and not easy to climb. Otherwise, restrict babies from going to the balcony.
A secured balcony is a safe home for dwellers.