A 15-month-old baby died this weekend after falling two stories through a balcony railing. The little died Friday night after falling two stories from an indoor balcony outside a laundry room at the apartment complex at 2010 Carmel Drive.
The mother was putting clothes into the dryer Friday night while a friend watched after her son, who liked to run up and down the hallway to the laundry room. The boy fell two stories to the ground floor of the apartment complex, he was rushed to the hospital but later died.
As is so often the case, the balcony railing’s bars were too far apart to prevent the youngster from falling. The guards are roughly 8 inches apart, much further apart than recommended for child safety. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors states on its website that horizontal guards at raised floor areas, balconies and porches should have intermediate rails or ornamental enclosures that do not allow passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere.
A 2003 study published in the journal Injury Prevention found that most balcony related falls occurred as the child fell between the balcony rails, and most of the window related falls occurred from low lying windows. The authors noted that they had expected that most balcony-related falls would have involved children climbing over or under the railings, but this was true in only a small proportion of the injuries. Most occurred when children fell between balcony rails, which were spaced an average of more than 7 inches (18 cm) apart, based on measurements from on-site visits of some of the apartments. Those apartments all were built before 1984, when the building code allowed balcony rail spacing of up to 9 inches (23 cm).