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Child Safety: prevent falls from balconies

Child Safety: prevent falls from balconies
Posted

By - Uduak Andrew-Bassey

Posted - 20-09-2019

Recently (11-09-2019), at about 4 pm in Lagos Nigeria, a three years old girl climbed the railing of their second-floor apartment and fell through the balcony. She landed on a car’s roof, and the bumper of another before rolling onto the ground – this invariably reduce the severity of the incident (which could have probably been fatal). She, however, sustained serious injuries and was immediately rushed to the hospital by a neighbor as both parents were not at home (they left the child in the care of a 13-year-old help). 

Before the incident, the child was playing at the balcony unsupervised as the maid was preparing lunch in the kitchen with both parents away. The child climbed unto the railings ( less than 1m)  which were already wet after a light downpour and mistakenly slipped which sent her to the ground. The presence of two cars packed below helped reduce the severity of the fall as she fell through them before eventually hitting the ground.

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Problem Statement

Children are particularly vulnerable to accidents and their safety requires different approaches compared to adults. In the early 21st century, approximately  1 million children worldwide died each year for accidental injuries, with about 95 percent of those injury-related deaths taking place in low- and middle-income countries.

Prevention Tips

To prevent falls from balconies; especially children, the following prevention tips can be utilized:

  • Keep entrances to balconies locked. Always supervise small children on balconies
  • Install safety guards across balcony entries and make sure there are no horizontal bars or footholds children could use to climb on
  • Keep balcony furniture away from railings to prevent children from climbing up and over the railings
  • Make sure balcony railings are vertical and at least 1m high. The gaps between railings should be no wider than 12.5cm as it may be possible for children to use these as a climbing frame or potentially slip through the gaps.
  • Install protective net to cover the entire open-space of the balcony. 

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