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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Windows & Balconies: 4 Building Tips for Child Safety & Fall Prevention

Keep kids safe by choosing railing that meets code
According to the American College of Surgeons, falls among children and adolescents account for more than three million emergency department visits each year with 40% of these falls occurring among infants, toddlers and preschoolers.  Nearly three quarters of child falls from elevated areas are unintentional and tend to originate from balconies, windows and trees. 

Whether you're renovating a public housing facility in an urban area, or designing a new high rise hotel near a popular vacation spot, consider making balconies and windows safer for each family and child by following these helpful tips:

Security window screens prevent curious
children from dangerous falls
1.  CONSIDER WINDOW SECURITY SCREENS - Standard window screens rip, tear and bend due to flimsy infill and framing.  Aluminum window security screens with wire mesh infill offer a more cost effective solution to screen replacement while providing accidental fall protection, should a child wander over to an open window without the supervision of an adult.  Learn more about security screens for accidental fall protection by clicking HERE.

2.  AVOID RAILING WITH HORIZONTAL PICKETS - It's no secret that children like to climb, so beware of any type of balcony or guardrail design that includes horizontal pickets. Most kids see these types of components as rungs on a ladder.  Learn more about vertical picket railings for balconies by clicking HERE

3.  CHOOSE THE PROPER RAILING HEIGHT AND STRENGTH -  Make sure the railings on your building meet both standard and local codes.  The International Building Code (IBC) requires a concentrated loading requirement of 200 pounds of pressure from any direction with a minimum height requirement of 42 inches from the floor of the balcony to the top of the rail.  Learn more about the International Code Council HERE.

To most children, this guardrail looks like a jungle gym.
4.  FOLLOW THE 4" SPHERE RULE FOR RAILINGS - The 4" sphere rule was put in place by the IBC to prevent an infant's head from passing through posts and pickets.  The IBC stresses that required guardrails shall not have openings which allow passage of a sphere 4 inches or 102 mm in diameter from the walking surface to the required guard height.  There are exceptions, however.  Refer to the latest copy of the International Building Code for more information. 

Learn more about security screens for accidental fall protection by clicking HERE.

Learn more about vertical picket railings for balcony applications by clicking HERE

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