Any type of railing that has bars set more than three or four inches apart poses a potential risk to children. It may be possible for a child to get her head stuck in the opening, and in many cases slip through completely and fall. Several products are available for childproofing balconies, banisters and railings of all sorts. One of the simplest is plastic netting, which is affordable and easy to use.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring tape
- Plastic netting
- Shears, sturdy
- Zip ties
- Baby gate
Measure the height of your loft railing. The netting that you use to child proof it must be the same height, so that your child cannot get over it or somehow become stuck between the railing and the netting.
Attach the netting securely to either the wall or the first post of one end of the railing, depending on your setup. If the post is up against the wall or very close to it, use the post as your starting point. If there are more than three inches between the post and the wall, secure your netting directly to the wall. Use screws to attach it to the wall. If you have a hollow wall, such as one made with sheetrock, try to anchor the screws in studs so that it will be as sturdy as possible. You can use toggle bolts or other devices made for hollow walls. Place a screw every three inches, being sure to secure both the bottom and the top of the netting so that there are no gaps where a child could slip through.
Pull the netting to the next railing post, making it as tight as you can without pulling so hard that you loosen the screws or over-stretch the netting. Attach the netting to the post with at least three zip ties, placing one at the very top, one at the bottom and one in the middle. Repeat this process for each post in the railing.
Continue with the netting until the entire length of the loft railing has been securely covered. The last post needs to be done like the first one, with ties every three inches so that the child cannot possibly squeeze through.
Cut off access to the stairs by placing a baby gate across the head of the stairs. Attach it per the manufacturer’s instructions, and be sure there is no gap between the baby gate and the railing netting. If there is a gap, it can be made secure with the use of an additional length of netting.
Trim the ends of the zip ties if desired, but make sure you don’t leave any sharp ends on them that could hurt your child. Turn them so the cut sides are where the child cannot reach them, for best results.
Tips & Warnings
- If you prefer, you can buy acrylic sheeting and attach it in the manner described here. It has the advantage of being clear and fairly rigid, but it also tends to be quite expensive.
- Netting will help to keep your baby safe, but never depend completely on such devices. Always supervise your child carefully to prevent accidents.
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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