8 tips on child-proofing your condo unit

A recent tragedy has raised certain safety issues, among which is the structural integrity of the building.

A few days ago, Filipinos were horrified by the news of a four-year-old falling to his death from the 27th floor of a Cebu City condominium.

Following this, a Cebu City councilor opened a probe to check if the condominium complied with the guidelines set by the National Building Code of the Philippines.

But the burden of responsibility should not only rest on a condominium’s management or our local government officials. As parents or guardians, we can do our share in making sure the youngest members of the family are safe from any kind of accident.

A tragic death in Cebu City prompted officials to look into the structural integrity of condominiums. Photo by Xrdes from Unsplash

Here are eight tips to ensure the safety of your little ones in your condo unit, because unlike traditional homes, high-rise residences have unique safety considerations that need to be addressed.

1. Secure the balcony

For obvious reasons, especially in high-rise condominiums, balconies can be potential hazards for children (even your pet dog or cat). To reduce risk, install a safety netting, railings, or even balcony doors with guards to prevent children from climbing or falling through the railing. 

Balconies could be a risk for young children in condo units. Photo by Solen Fenissa from Unsplash

Also make sure that your balcony furniture is stable and cannot be easily tipped over. Keep furniture away from the sharp corners of the balcony to discourage children from climbing.

2. Childproof windows

There have been cases where children fall out of high-rise residences’ windows, such as the case of Eric Clapton’s son, Conor, falling from the 53rd floor of the Manhattan apartment he shared with his mother in 1991.

Install window guards or window stops to prevent children or your pets from opening windows too wide. Photo by Sam Jotham Sutharson from Unsplash

Windows clearly pose a risk of falling—it should then be among your topmost priorities to childproof and secure them. 

Install window guards or window stops to prevent children or your pets from opening windows too wide for them to fit and fall through. Opt for window blinds or cordless coverings for sliding windows because dangling cords pose a risk of strangulation among very young kids.

3. Anchor heavy furniture to the floor

This may not seem to be an obvious potential risk at first, but tall and heavy furniture can pose a tripping hazard. Make sure TV stands, bookshelves, and other heavy furniture are anchored securely to the floor or wall to prevent accidents. 

Tall and heavy furniture can pose a tripping hazard. Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang from Unsplash

Moreover, avoid placing furniture near windows, doors, or balcony edges where they can be climbed on by your kids or pets.

4. Make the kitchen safe

Though not really a falling hazard, the kitchen has various potential risks as well. Install cabinet door locks or latches to keep children away from cleaning products that can be poisonous. Keep sharp objects, utensils, or appliances away from tiny fingers’ reach. 

Your kitchen has various potential risks. Photo by Francesca Tosolini from Unsplash

Unplug and stow away small appliances, like toasters or blenders, in places where children cannot mistake them for toys and play with them. You may want to consider using stove knob covers to prevent accidental burner activation.

5. Install safety gates, security systems

Living in a loft or a two-story condo unit? Know that safety gates are essential for preventing falls. Install them at the top and bottom of staircases to restrict access. Consider using security gates to lock the doors to your apartment or limit access to specific areas such as the kitchen or balcony.

Various security tools like CCTV cameras can provide an additional layer of security when you’re not physically present. Photo by Bernard Hermant from Unsplash

You may also consider installing a security system, CCTV cameras, or child-monitoring systems in your condo unit. These various security tools can provide an additional layer of security for personal property and help you keep an eye on and protect your children even when you’re not physically present.

But please, as much as possible, DO NOT leave very young children unattended at all times.

6. Educate and supervise your little ones

More than installing safety features, teaching children about potential hazards and how to avoid them is just as important. Remind them to avoid playing near windows or climbing on furniture.

Set clear boundaries for where children can play, explore, and interact with others. Photo by Wander Fleur from Unsplash

Be firm in establishing clear boundaries for where they can play, explore, and interact with others. Reinforce these lessons to ensure they understand and remember them.

It’s crucial to supervise children at all times no matter the age, especially in areas where risks of injury may be present.

Nurture an environment where kids feel comfortable expressing any safety concerns they may have. Encourage them to communicate with you or a trusted adult if they encounter any potentially dangerous situations.

7. Be prepared for emergencies

Being prepared for emergencies at all times is crucial when it comes to avoiding accidents be it in a condo or a traditional home. Keep emergency contacts readily accessible, or you can also have older kids memorize them.

Take time to familiarize yourself with your condo’s emergency procedures. Photo by Wesley Tingley from Unsplash

Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, testing them regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. Having a fire extinguisher ready is also a big plus. 

Take time to familiarize yourself with your condo’s emergency procedures, including fire escape routes and locations of fire extinguishers. Teach your children what to do in case of emergencies, such as where to safely exit and where to meet outside the building.

8. Engage the condo community

Open communication with neighbors can also come in handy during emergencies. You can inform them and the building management about the presence of children in your condo unit.

Open communication with neighbors can also come in handy during emergencies. Photo by Orian Lev Ari from Unsplash

Promote awareness and collective responsibility for safety by participating in community events or meetings to connect with other owners, parents, or guardians. Sharing safety concerns, tips, and information with others can help create a safer environment for children.

Ensuring the safety of children in condos requires a multi-pronged and proactive approach involving parents or guardians, the management, and the condo community as a whole. Enacting the provided tips and precautions, as well as enhancing safety measures, can create an environment where your children can thrive and be safe at all times.

Associate Editor

The new lifestyle.