Balcony safety

Balconies are a great place to relax and hang out with friends and family when you’re on holiday. But if you’re high up you need to take extra care particularly if you’ve been drinking or have children with you.

There have been a number of very serious accidents (some fatal, others life changing) as a result of holidaymakers falling from balconies, staircases and over low walls. Some of these have been due to poor safety standards where people have been staying but others have not.

Tips on keeping safe

So just as you’d take care around a pool or in your hotel, here are some tips on how to stay safe on your balcony.

  • Don’t take unnecessary risks around balconies, particularly if you’ve been drinking or taking drugs. Not only are you at greater risk of an accident if you’re under the influence of drink or drugs but your travel insurance may not cover you for any incidents that happen on the balcony.
  • Never stand on balcony furniture.
  • Never sit or lean over a balcony rail.
  • Don’t try and pass items to someone on another balcony.
  • Don’t jump or climb from one balcony to another. Not only is balconing incredibly dangerous but you may be fined for it. Three Britons have this year been fined €600 each by a local council in Majorca for doing this.
  • Never jump into a pool from a balcony.
  • If it’s a bright sunny day or dark, it can be hard to see if a glass balcony door is open or closed so be careful not to walk into it.
  • Always follow the safety advice of your hotel and/or tour operator if staying in a room with a balcony and watch out for friends who may be at risk.

And remember, it’s always worth giving a balcony (or any wall for that matter) a good shove before you lean on it to make sure it’s safe.

Take extra care with children

If you have children with you then you need to take a couple of extra precautions.

  • Never leave children unsupervised on a balcony.
  • Don’t leave balcony furniture or anything children can stand or climb on near a balcony edge.

ABTA has produced a short video on keeping children safe on balconies.

Measures being taken to reduce risks

Some popular holiday destinations have been looking at ways to reduce the incidents of balcony accidents. For example, in Majorca the Magaluf Hoteliers Association has advised its members to try and put young guests in ground-floor rooms when possible to avoid any accidents from falls. And they have put higher barriers on the front of balconies.

The local council has also ordered a barrier to be installed to restrict access to a block of apartments where there have been several balcony tragedies and told the owners to raise the height of barriers on walkways.

Other measures include crackdowns on offers for unlimited alcoholic drinks in hotels and fining touts who try to lure tourists into bars. Several Spanish councils have introduced controls on happy hours and pub crawls in a bid to reduce all-day and excessive drinking which often leads to accidents.

Safer Tourism balcony safety checklist

Published on 07/06/18

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