A children’s safety group says a four-year-old girl’s fall from a Gold Coast high-rise building should act as a wake-up call over the safety of many balconies and balustrades.
The girl fell from a balcony on the eighth floor of the Phoenician apartment building in Broadbeach on Thursday afternoon.
Miraculously she survived, suffering a broken leg and abdominal injuries, with a first-floor garden bed breaking her fall and likely saving her life.
Kidsafe Queensland chief executive Susan Teerds says the news of the fall wasn’t much of a shock to the group, who say many older buildings in the state have balconies which are not safe when it comes to young children.
Ms Teerds said while the regulations were adequate, they were not retrospective, and that many homes and apartments across the state posed a risk.
“Kids’ centre of balance is different to ours, if their shoulders and head can get over the top of the balcony, then there’s enough impetus for them to actually fall; the rest of the body will follow the head,” Ms Teerds told AAP.
She said any owners marketing their holiday lets as “family-friendly” should ensure their units and balconies had the best safety standards.
“Why can’t they go above and beyond?” she said.
Ms Teerds said installing perspex over balconies or fitting child-proof latches on sliding glass doors were steps that could be taken to minimise risk.
She said Kidsafe was also hoping to implement a safety checklist with the Real Estate Institute of Queensland about improving the safety of balconies.
“This is a wake-up call; that was one very lucky little girl and a very lucky family,” she said.
“If you’ve got even a two-storey house, you’ve got to think about children falling.”
By Ed Jackson