A five year old girl miraculously survived a four story fall from her apartment balcony in Sungai Long, Malaysia today. After her mother left her home alone with the balcony door open, she pushed a chair to the railing and climbed over, falling four stories and landing on a garage roof. A security guard who witnessed the incident contacted the authorities. The young girl is currently in hospital with two fractured legs and in a stable condition. We wish her a speedy recovery.
This incident is a reminder to always supervise young children and ensure chairs, furniture, pot plants, basically anything that can be climbed on is kept away from balcony railings (both indoor and outdoor) to prevent children from climbing and falling. If your child is in home care or baby sitting take a look around the home and make sure that it is safe and free of hazards.
Here are some tips to help keep your child safe from fall injuries:
- All windows above the ground floor to be opened no more than 12.5cm.
- All windows have window locks/latches fitted to stop windows opening more than 12.5cm, or guards to protect the opening
- Where possible, open windows from the top.
- Beds and other furniture to be kept away from windows, so children can’t climb up.
- Parent’s don’t rely on flyscreens to prevent a child from falling out of a window.
- Children are taught to play away from windows.
Balcony safety tips include:
- Balcony balustrades (railings) be at least 1metre high.
- Make sure that any vertical bars in the balustrade are no more than 12.5cm apart.
- Your balustrade should have no horizontal or near horizontal parts that would allow children to climb.
- All furniture, pot plants and other climbable objects are kept away from the edge of the balcony.
- Parents should be aware of furniture that is light enough for children to drag to the balcony edge.
- Children should always be supervised.
- Keep doors leading to balconies closed so children can’t gain access to them.
- Children are taught to play away from balconies.
References: Kid’s Don’t Fly, Westmead Hospital, Australia
Photo from Shamir on Flickr.
Maree has over five years of experience in Occupational Health and Safety and in the development of safety standards, training workshops and improvement initiatives. She is passionate about health, safety and education. Maree, a mother of two children, has a Advanced Diploma in OHS and will be graduating soon with a B.Sc. (HSE) from Australia.