How to Make Home Balcony Railings Safe for Children

Written by margaret dilloway
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If you live in an older building that was built to older codes, your balconies might not be safe for children. For safety, balcony railings should be 42 inches high, have no more than 4 inches of space between each railing, and children should not be able to climb over.

Retrofitting your balcony railing to make it safe for children will take only an hour or so with the right child safety product. KidShield is a clear, nonscratchable, rigid plastic safety product that comes with cable ties, a hole punch, and screws. However, you can use any product made for childproofing balconies.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Cardinal Gates KidShield balcony safety product kit, or similar child safety product from the manufacturer of your choice
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Drill and hammer (optional)
  • Screwdriver (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the height and length of the balcony railing using the measuring tape. Purchase the correct amount of KidShield; it comes in different lengths. You'll need 2 extra inches on each end, and 6 extra inches where the balcony meets the wall. Make sure that the height is adequate; do not allow space on the bottom.

  2. 2

    Lay out the KidShield on a flat surface, and mark the measurements from step one on the plastic. Take off the protective paper backing. Cut to size. Round the corners so they're not sharp.

  3. 3

    Put the KidShield against the railing and against the balusters. Make sure that the extra end lengths are appropriately in place. Mark each side of every baluster with your pencil. This is where the holes to secure it will go.

  4. 4

    Using the hole punch that came with the KidShield kit, punch holes in each mark. Thread the cable ties that came with the kit through each hole, around each vertical bar, and meet the ends behind the bar on the outside of the railing. Secure the ties and cut off the extra.

  5. 5

    Screw the ends of the KidShield into the endpost or into a wall stud for the most security, if possible. KidShield comes with wall anchors, screws, and washers. To secure, drill 1/16th-inch holes through the plastic and into the post or wall every 6 to 9 inches. Pull back the KidShield, and hammer the wall anchors into the holes. Then put the KidShield back into place, and line up the holes over the wall anchors. Place a washer on top of the opening, then drill or screw the screws into the wall anchors tightly. If this is impossible because the endposts are metal, use the cable ties to secure the ends to the endposts.

Tips and warnings

  • Remember to never let your children outside on the balcony without direct supervision, and install childproof locks on the balcony access door.

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