Tips For A Toddler-Safe Chain Link Fence
Safe yards begin with good fences. Chainlink is a durable and inexpensive option that works especially well for keeping toddlers and young children safe. While you likely know that your child shouldn't play outside unsupervised, it's still best to plan for distractions or the unexpected. The following tips will help ensure your fence is as safe as possible.
Tip #1: The Right Height
There is no single best height to ensure safety. For a standard yard with no attractive dangers, like a pool, opt for a fence that is high enough so a child can't easily grab the top rail. This prevents young children from pulling themselves up or from leaning over and tumbling over the top. If there is severe danger on the other side of the fence, such as a pool or a busy road, you may want to opt for a 6 foot or taller fence. Some municipalities have strict rules for the height of fences around pools, so check with your local city offices to find out the requirements in your area.
Tip #2: Stop the Climb
Toddlers may not seem very graceful, but they can surprise you with their agility and climb to the top of the fence. Unfortunately, it may not end well if they tumble over the other side. There are vinyl slats that you can install in the chains that make them difficult to climb. You can also cover the fence with a privacy net made to fit the fence. If you want a permanent option that doesn't affect the look of the fence, opt for a fine metal mesh net. Your child can't find a foothold in the small mesh.
Tip #3: Check the Gates
There are two concerns when it comes to gates and children. First, make sure a child can't easily open the gate. There are safety latches available that are difficult for a child to operate. Ask your fencing contractor about these latches, which are sometimes lumped all together as pool safety latches.
The second concern is that there is usually a small gap between the gate and the fence. This gap should be narrow enough that a child's head can't fit through it. After installation, check all gaps to verify they aren't too large. Stripping can be attached to block the gap if it is unavoidable due to the terrain in the yard.
Tip #4: Step Stool Troubles
The best made fence does no good if a child has plenty of items to climb on top of. Make sure patio furniture and chairs are too heavy for a child to push near the fence, or have them anchored to the ground. Survey the yard and make sure there are no toys or items near the fence that the child could use as a step stool to climb over the fence.