Joshua R. and his wife recently moved to a Megaworld at the Fort condominium with their two-year-old daughter. They felt the condo facilities and the Megaworld township lifestyle were perfect for a toddler: there were facilities like a pool, playground, and pocket gardens. “She’s a bundle of energy!” say the proud parents, “we love how she’ll be able to play and explore!” However, the couple is worried that their daughter will wander off into the balcony and fall. “She loves to climb, and she’s so fascinated by the view too! She’s always begging us to carry her so she can get a better peek. What if she decides to go there alone, and falls?!” They’re not being over-anxious either. One Australian study showed that of all the documented cases of falls from balconies and windows, most of these happened to children aged 12 to 24 months. Megaworld offers these important safety tips.
Invest in balcony guards and rail nets
These are difficult to find in Manila, but are sold online or in home stores in the United States. Another option is to attach safety netting along the balcony. These are not fool-proof, but it will be harder for toddlers to climb up. Another bonus is that they won’t be able to stick their toys through the slats, either–and parents know they will attempt to do that, much to the chagrin of any neighbors living on the floors below!
Remove any furniture on which they can hoist themselves
A determined toddler can drag or push patio furniture to the balcony. Until your child is old enough to understand safety hazards (and practice self-control!) bring in outside furniture when you’re done using them, or buy very heavy furniture that he will be unable to move. Aside from furniture, your ingenious toddler may try to step on pots, boxes, or even pull some of his toys outside to use as a makeshift ladder. “I caught my child bringing one of the plastic kitchen stools to the balcony! I was shocked and scared that he would do that when I wasn’t there to stop him,” says Ida R. Since then, she keeps both the kitchen and the balcony doors locked whenever they’re not in active use.
Get safety locks and latches
Your balcony door should have child safety locks. You may also want an additional hook-and-eye closure, positioned far beyond his reach, in case your Little Houdini figures out how to open the lock. Remember, toddlers are very observant, and may learn how to manipulate the lock just by watching other people do it.
Supervise and discipline
This goes without saying, but no child should be allowed to play on the balcony unattended. Aside from explaining this to the yayas, try to explain to your toddler why the rule is so important. Since young children learn from consistency, immediately stop and scold your child whenever he or she tries to play with the lock or climb up on the outdoor furniture. It’s crucial that your child realizes how serious you are about balcony rules. A toddler may not be able to understand very long lectures, so use simple words but convey your message with your voice and facial expression. How would you react if you saw your child playing with a knife? You’d probably use a very stern, serious voice, and your child would probably never try to do that again. That’s the same manner that you should use when you talk to him about the dangers of climbing over the balcony. He should realize that you are not just teasing, and that this is not an optional rule. Check the Megaworld at the Fort blog for other tips on childproofing your condo. While the chances of your child falling off the balcony are very rare, even the smallest risk is not worth taking–and these tips are very easy and affordable to implement. After all, like many parents, Joshua and his wife chose to move to Megaworld at the Fort because it is a safe and family-friendly area to raise kids. With the right precautions, your home can be just as secure as the rest of the condo grounds.