One of the great pleasures of parenting is being able to take your children on vacation and watch them experience new things through their eyes. However, you are leaving the security and comfort of your own home and you need to take precautions to ensure the safety of your little one while on the road. One place of concern is the hotel balcony. It’s always enjoyable to have a nice walk-out deck off your hotel room to enjoy the nice weather and views. This is also very enticing to your young children. Being prepared not only prevents falls and suffocation but also adds to your ability to relax and enjoy your time on vacation as well.
All US states have minimum safety standards when it comes to above grade deck and balcony rails. Typically, the minimum height of the railing is 30″ and the spacing between balusters is no more than 4″. However each state and/or county can vary. Older hotels may have been built before the code was in place and others may simply be out of compliance all together. In short, you simply can’t count on the hotel or resort when it comes to your child’s safety. There are several things that can be done to help keep you and your family safe while out on the deck. First, you should always call the hotel or resort and ask if they have any child safety measures that they can implement before your arrival. This can include outlet plugs, window guards, poison control, etc. Be sure to ask about the deck and the railing system for the room you will be staying in.
– Is there a child safety lock on the door leading to the balcony?
– How tall are the railings?
– What is the baluster spacing?
– How far off the deck floor is the bottom railing?
– Is there furniture on the deck and if so, is it light and easily moved?
Try to get a feeling for the overall safety of the balcony before ever even leaving your home. If you’re still a little uncomfortable with what you hear, there are measures you can take to keep your children safe and make the trip as worry free as possible. If there is a railing system there but you’re concerned about the baluster spacing, you can bring along deck railing safety netting. The netting is light enough to be packed in your luggage and is easily cut to fit and attaches to the railing with the zip ties. This will keep your child from putting her head through. The zip ties are cut at the end of your stay, leaving no trace of the safety netting. Be sure to use the child safety lock on the door leading to the deck. This is not the lock for the door but a secondary lock, higher up, out of the reach of the kids. Check the furniture on the balcony. Can the little ones climb on it to reach the top of the railing? Can they move it themselves? If so, be sure to bring this furniture in when you’re not using it or asked the hotel to store it somewhere else for your stay. And of course, always use common sense. Don’t leave the door open when you’re not out there. Always stay with your child when he is out on the balcony. Just a small measure of fore thought can keep your mind at easy, making the vacation as enjoyable for you as it will be for them.