Child safety concerns in apartment buildings in Bahrain

In many countries, living in apartments is convenient and economical. These are more secure and safer compared to the villas, as the landlord has a certain responsibility for the tenants. However, there are some additional security issues to consider when designing residential buildings.

Unfortunately, in many apartment buildings, the authors have identified some key safety issues related to windows, balconies and railings. In addition to the failure of balconies and railings due to deterioration, there are major concerns about the design of these.

Some shortcomings are explained below:

Windows are openings in the walls that are important for fresh air circulation, passage light, ventilation, etc. They also help control room temperature by allowing solar heat in winter and avoiding hot outside air in summer. These windows must be at a certain height to prevent objects from falling through the window if there is no protection. However, it has been found that in some residential buildings the windows are not high enough, which is very dangerous.

If the height of the window opening is small, there is a chance that something will fall through the window

(Fig. 1a). In particular, it is extremely dangerous for autistic people / children. Some windows can also slide out, which can lead to accidents due to wind when opening or closing.

Depending on the height of the windows, there must have some restrictions on the size of the opening. There are some restrictions on the opening size of these types of windows. Therefore, the height of the windows should be such that children cannot reach them, as shown in Fig. 1b.

On the other hand, balconies are very important for high-rise buildings as they provide outdoor living space for relaxation. For safety reasons, this must be surrounded by railings.

There are different types of railings. The railing should be designed in such a way that it cannot be climbed for safety reasons. However, the author noted that some buildings do not meet these important criteria for railings. Figure 2a shows some unsafe railings on the balcony as they are easy to climb and can cause accidents. In contrast, Fig. 2b shows a safe railing that cannot be climbed. The issue should be considered in all high-rise buildings.

Fig.1: Safe and unsafe height of windows (Courtesy: Internet)

Fig. 2: Safe and unsafe railings (Courtesy: Internet)

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Assistant Professor, University of Bahrain

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