A balcony is a great outdoor space for an apartment. But, they can be very dangerous if you have small children or babies around.
Luckily, it’s not too difficult to make a child proof balcony. This article covers some of the easiest ways to make your balcony a safe space for kids.
Safety Issues on a Balcony
The most obvious safety issue on a balcony is the railings. Horizontal railings essentially act as a ladder for adventurous kids to climb over.
But railings with a small gap at the bottom can be equally dangerous. If a child tries to get through the gap, they may become stuck and suffocate.
Of course, the higher up your balcony is, the greater the danger. But even first-floor apartments are dangerous because a child could hurt themselves falling the small distance to the floor.
So, the reason for making a child proof balcony is to stop them hurting themselves. This will mainly be from climbing over the railings, but let’s not forget about any dangerous items that might be on the balcony itself.
For example, if you have some gardening tools or a BBQ on your balcony, your child could cause some damage playing with these.
How to Child Proof a Balcony
Many of these solutions for creating a baby proof balcony are pretty simple. In fact, most of them rely on items you might have used elsewhere in your home. Others are just common sense for how to set up your balcony.
1. Adjustable baby gate
The most obvious place to start is with an adjustable baby gate. Installing one of these theoretically makes it impossible for your child to get out on the balcony in the first place.
These are suitable for use with French doors and sliding doors. Fitting one means you can still have a breeze coming through the house without any danger of your child ending up on the balcony.
Of course, some children might eventually work out how to climb over it, so be sure to still never leave your child unattended around a baby gate.
2. Be careful where you position furniture
This one is a bit of a no-brainer because you’ve probably done it elsewhere around your home. Kids see pretty much anything as a ladder and love to climb.
While falling off furniture in the home will likely result in a minor injury, it can be a lot more serious out on a balcony. For example, you might have a wall instead of railings, but if a child can climb onto the wall, it offers no more protection.
So, make sure you don’t position furniture anywhere near the wall or railings. Everything should be far enough away for your child to not try to jump or climb.
This might be difficult on a small balcony. If so, consider using collapsible furniture so you can put it away when it’s not in use. This is probably the easiest way to prevent injury on a small balcony.
3. Plexiglass bannister guard
A Plexiglass bannister guard is ideal for stopping kids from climbing through railings. You might have already used one on the stairs in your home. They’re easy to install and are inexpensive.
Most models have tie straps or similar for fixing them onto railings. Importantly, fitting something like this means you don’t lose any of the view from your balcony.
There are plenty of options for different budgets online, some from as little as $1 per square foot. It shouldn’t be difficult for you to find a product suited to your balcony space.
Regardless of what other solutions you use, something like this is one of the best options for making a baby proof balcony.
4. Keep doors locked
This is another obvious one, but the easiest way to child proof a balcony is to keep it out of bounds.
Always make sure doors are locked and keys are hidden. There’s no reason why you should need to keep keys in the door, as this is just inviting trouble.
If you want to be extra safe, consider buying a door lever lock or child proof safety lock. Both products are designed to add another layer of security just in case the balcony door is unlocked for any reason.
The more preventative measures you put on the door, the harder it’ll be for even the most determined child to get out there.
5. Balcony safety net
While this might sound like the kind of thing you’d find under a trapeze act at a circus, it’s not quite that kind of safety net.
Instead, it simply involves fitting some heavy-duty bannister guard netting over your balcony. Much like the Plexiglass bannister cover, a balcony safety screen like this is designed to stop kids getting through the railings.
Of course, it’s important to make sure that the holes in the netting are small enough. If they’re too big there’s nothing stopping a child from using them as a ladder.
One way to get around this to make a truly child proof balcony railing is to run the netting across the entire opening.
Doing so will mean your child has nowhere to climb, even if they can scale the balcony netting.
But, you’ll want to be sure it’s installed properly otherwise it could fall down if they try climbing up it.
6. Reed fence
An option for a child proof balcony that still looks nice is a reed fence. You can fix this directly to the balcony railings with cable ties.
What’s more, using reed fence will provide plenty of privacy on the balcony. This will hopefully also mean your child isn’t tempted to start climbing, as they won’t be able to see anything tempting on the other side.
If you go for this option, you’ll want to make sure the fence is higher than the railings. Ideally, it should be taller than your child, too, so they can’t see over the top.
A reed fence might not be the safest option (that would be the Plexiglass railing cover), but it’s a good compromise between safety and aesthetics as it looks much nicer than a sheet of plastic or netting.
7. Balcony privacy screen
A balcony privacy screen will offer a surprising amount of protection when setting up a child proof balcony. After all, it’s designed to cover the railings and this is often the most important thing you need from a security measure.
Opt for a privacy screen made from fabric or heavy-duty mesh. These often have very little stretch and very small holes, if any. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any gap at the bottom of the privacy screen either.
8. Always put security measures on the inside
This isn’t a tip on its own but is important for many of the solutions mentioned so far. When fitting something like Plexiglass or a balcony safety net, always make sure you install it on the inside of the railing.
After all, its sole purpose is to stop your child from climbing over the railings. If it’s on the outside, it doesn’t offer much extra protection. Making a baby proof balcony means you need to think as much about installation as the product you use.
Similarly, anything flexible like fabric or netting needs to be really tight. If there’s any give in it, a kid could push their foot into the fabric and put it on the railing. Having loose netting is no better than no netting at all.
9. Fit a door alarm
Along with the multiple extra locks you’ve fitted on the balcony door, consider also fitting a door alarm. Again, you might already have some of these around your home for various reasons.
If not, you’re missing out on a great little device. It consists of two parts: one fits on the door and the other on the frame. Once the connection between them is broken, a loud alarm sounds.
It’s often 120dB, which is about as loud as a gunshot. In short, no matter where you are in your apartment, you’ll hear it go off.
Of course, this on its own won’t be very helpful. But combined with some screening outside, you’ll end up with a baby proof balcony.
10. Conduct regular inspections
Fitting all the safety measures you want is one thing, but if you want a completely child proof balcony, you’ll need to conduct regular inspections.
Consider checking everything at least once a month, if not more often. In fact, there’s not really any such thing as too often.
This is particularly necessary for something like a balcony safety net, as it could come loose in strong winds.
When it comes to creating a child proof balcony, prevention is definitely the best option. Do everything possible to stop your child from getting out on the balcony and you’ll have much more peace of mind.
Fitting something like a Plexiglass barrier guard is one of the most effective ways to make a baby proof balcony, as it completely removes the option of climbing. Whatever option you choose, always make sure you inspect it regularly.