How do you babyproof an interior loft or balcony? And do you ever reach a point where you stop worrying about your kids (or their friends) climbing over the railing and falling? Is there any way to extend the railing higher so it's monkey-proof?
Great question! My parents have had these in their last house and current house. The last house we were usually upstairs with them, but they were see through railings and they never had a reason to climb over, they could see through. Those ones never worried me for some reason. Their new house however you can't see through and I'm rarely upstairs when the kids are (where they play and sleep if we are staying there). However my mom has made sure no to put anything the kids can climb onto in front of it and she tries to put things there that will deter the kids from going near it. (picture stacks on the floor, potted plants)
However my kids are also a bit older so I don't know how it would work with a toddler.
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I've seen clear thick plastic guards that go on the inside of balcony so it can't be fallen through. With 4" slats or less I wouldn't worry, though, that is the standard.
We have a ‘catwalk’ hallway upstairs. Part of the hallway is open on one side, a portion is open on both sides, and a portion is closed on both sides. I wasn’t worried about them falling through the railing but I was afraid they would climb or pull themselves up over the railing. We had a gate at the base of the stairs so the kids could not go up alone. We also had a gate further down the upstairs hallway so if the kids left their bedroom or playroom they could not get to the portion of the hallway with the open railings. I’m not sure if that makes sense. I cannot remember how old the kids were when we took them down.
With twins and two dogs, the gates were a great help. But nothing is foolproof, one time I ran into the washroom for a few minutes and returned to two toddlers laughing hysterically. They had crawled up the outside of the stairs and were hanging onto the outside of the upper hallway railing. When they saw my panicked face they stopped laughing and got frightened. I wasn’t sure if I should stay below in case they fell or run up to grab them over the railing. I decided to stay below and coax them back down the way they got up.
dbsam, yikes! My husband had a balcony in his childhood home (a large stately old home with high ceilings). He says his standard way of coming down the stairs was to flip over the balcony, slide down the spindles, dangle there a minute, then drop to the floor. :)
My DD isn't a daredevil - it's really not her, it's me. The balcony gives me vertigo, and it's hard enough for me to relax when she's sleeping alone in her room in our current tiny apartment - how will I ever sleep if she's up there? (a good reason to extend cosleeping another couple of years, right?).
For now, my biggest disappointment will be that I can't allow her to play alone in her room, or to scamper back and forth from her bedroom to the rest of the house. But, we live in a popular city with a totally crazy real estate market, we've been shopping for 2 years, and we don't exactly have a lot of other options. The setting of this house is picturesque and convenient, and the rest of the house is lovely and meets our needs, so I'm trying to make it work.
The clear plexiglas covering the banisters is great for now (she's 20 months) and so are the extra gates in the upstairs hallway. Also, this might be completely overkill, but looking online I saw this idea in a DIY chatroom. It raises the railing by a couple of feet and is clear. It's not exactly chic, but it made me feel better to see that if necessary, there ARE things that can be done.