Where Were The Parents?
By now, you have likely seen this astonishing video of a man climbing up four floors to rescue a child dangling from a balcony in Paris.
Like me, you may have wondered “Where were the parents?”
Turns out, neither of them was home. The mother was out of town, and the father had gone to the store. CNN reported this morning that after leaving the store, he started playing Pokeman Go.
They had left their young son unattended.
But, you may also notice that this balcony guard would not be considered “climbable.”
Child accident prevention group Kidsafe has stated that balconies are a death trap for toddlers.
Most of these small balconies usually have a combination of table and chairs, which if left against the safety railing can act as a simple set of steps for toddlers. A toddler can easily climb onto a chair and then onto the top of the table, placing them in a very dangerous situation.
A guard is there to prevent an accident.
An accident would be protecting a child who trips on the balcony and strikes the guard. The guard should be strong enough to withstand the impact, high enough to prevent the child from going over, and with spacing limitations to keep the child from going through. All of these elements are covered in the building codes.
Climbing is not an accident. Building codes cannot control placement of furniture or planters on a balcony. Parental supervision is the best way to prevent child falls from balconies. A balcony is not a playpen.