You may find the title of this post quite silly, however, it’s something we don’t even think about when arriving at our hotel rooms. Balcony safety is an important topic especially for those who are traveling with children, and for those traveling at younger ages (late teens and early college years – perhaps for the most obvious reasons).
As odd as it may sound, each year there are hundreds of deaths around the globe related to balconies, with the majority of those happening in regards to “tourists” or “tourism”. We are not talking about your building collapsing due to an earthquake or faulty structure. This pertains to a person’s common sense and activities people carry out on their balcony.
First off, here a few tips for families traveling with Children. Despite a balcony being a great place to relax and often enjoy the view during a well deserved holiday, sometimes a balcony may be a hazard for children and even a dangerous place. We do not want you to be afraid of using your balcony and enjoying the few, however, we do want you to take into account a few tips when traveling with your kids. Things that may seem logical, however, often we do not think about because perhaps the brain is vacation mode.
Balcony safety with kids
- Supervise kids – Regardless of how much you may trust your three-year-old, never leave children unattended on a balcony. Kids have the brightest of imaginations, and hey, they too may want to see something and find a way to climb up if they can’t see through it.
- Construction – Regulations including that of design and heights of balconies differ from country to country. Do not make the assumption that your holiday destination has the same requirements as your home country. The balcony in your hotel room may not necessarily be child (or for that matter adult) friendly.
- Furniture – ensure that all balcony furniture is kept away from the walls or railings so that your kids are not encouraged to climb up to see what’s on the other side.
- Tidy up – make sure the balcony is free from anything that may cause your child or you to trip. Things like toys or buckets, etc may be hazardous.
- Gaps – be aware of any gaps in the structure of the balcony. For example your balcony may have a glass window so your child is able to see through it, however, the gap between the ends of the glass and the railing may be big enough for your child to slip through. For older kids, these gaps may even become a climbing frame.
- The doors – Hotel rooms should always be clean. This includes the glass doors of a rooms balcony. Be cautious and let your child know whether or not the door is open. It may also be difficult to see in bright light or even at night depending on room lighting. They may run into it, and it may even break, as most hotel rooms do not have double pane windows or safety glass (country and structure dependent)
- Locks – this ties in closely with the above point, however, we wanted to make a separate note of it. If you go out onto the balcony, ensure that there is a handle on the outside and ensure yourself that your child is not playing (or knows how to play) with the locks of the door, essentially locking you out or you just not being able to get back in for who knows what reason.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind while vacationing with your family and kids to ensure that everyone is on the same page and you can relax without having to worry about any accidents.
Balcony safety for everyone else
You may be thinking that these points are common sense, and they are, however just read through them and tell us what you think.
- You should not overlean on a balcony, sit or climb on its walls or railings. Even if your favorite climber may do a daredevil stunt, professionals also slip.
- Never try passing something to someone on another balcony. Whether a towel, a drink or any other item, just because the two of you happen to be out on your respective balconies. Make the extra effort and meet each other in the hallway. As solid as you may think you are, you never know when you may lose balance.
- Do not climb around from balcony to balcony, regardless of how close the gaps to each room may be. You never know when a railing may be loose, or the surface of a balcony wet. Let Spiderman do the climbing and swinging.
- Do not stand on balcony furniture. Fairly straightforward.
- Never jump into a pool or try jumping into a pool from a balcony. This is called balconing and causes several hundred accidents and even deaths every year. What you perceive to be the depth and distance to a pool (including the depth of the pool) may not always turn out to be what it seems from above.
- Drink responsibly and if you plan on getting hammered anyway, then go do that in the cocktail bar or lounge. Your judgment will be affected and common sense may no longer be your number one priority when drinking.
The above points are naturally very logical, nonetheless, if they were then we wouldn’t have related injuries or deaths reported. Aside from this, keep the last point in mind. Your balcony is there for you to relax (or perhaps dry a towel on). It is not the short cut to a friends room or a diving board should you think that you’re close enough to the pool. Inappropriate behavior may lead to some serious injuries, especially after having a few drinks (or just being straight out drunk).
Use this place of relaxation and often breathtaking views responsibly and sensibly and also keep an eye out for your friends. Booze and balconies don’t mix very well. Keep the above in mind whether you’re traveling alone, with friends, family or children and enjoy a relaxed vacation with (hopefully) the view of a lifetime.