Climbing is great for children, building physical strength and gross motor skills.
However, with climbing comes the danger of falling so it is important that a service’s premises, furniture and equipment are constantly maintained so that they are safe for children.
While most falls lead only to bumps and bruises, falling from a window, balcony or playground equipment results in a significant number of Aussie kids being admitted to hospital each year.
Falling from these and other areas above ground level can cause serious injury or death.
Safety barriers such as balustrades, handrails, guardrails, and security screens may prevent accidents and there are a range of factors for approved providers to consider when choosing the most appropriate option.
Top 6 factors to consider when choosing a safety barrier:
- Height from decks (including those on outdoor play structures), balconies, verandahs, mezzanine floors and windows to ground level (a potential fall of 4 metres requires a different barrier compared with a 1 metre fall).
- Whether the design prevents climbing (for example, non-climbable arcs outwards from the top of the balustrade and no footholds).
- How to safely use furniture and play equipment on decks, balconies, verandahs and mezzanine floors (can youngsters move play equipment and climb over the barrier?).
- Ensuring there are additional staff to supervise children, particularly in areas above ground level.
- Installing a second, lower handrail at child-height in stairways (make sure it doesn’t create a ladder).
- Installing protection devices such as security screens on windows where there is a significant drop to ground level and where the opening is at a climbable height for little ones.
Other factors approved providers need to consider include meeting National Law requirements and following relevant building standards, codes and barrier standards.
Read more about the health benefits of play, including climbing.