Knowledge - RISC

What type of railing is safest for your home?

Created By RISC | 1 month ago

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Did you know that slips and falls, particularly when children and older adults are involved, are among Thailand’s most frequent accidents? A key safety factor is secure railings. ​

Making safe railings involves seeing how they can fail.

Let's start with children...​

Kids from 1 and 15 in Thailand often suffer accidents. Falls are a common cause, after sudden illnesses and car accidents. The National Institute of Emergency Medicine ranks accidents involving children falling as the second most frequent type of accident.​

A study by Dr. John F. Culvenor in Australia in 1992–93 found that 6,642 kids were hurt in falls from heights, with children under 4 accounting for 33% of all injuries. Common causes were falls from obstructions or fences no higher than 90 cm! Spaces between rails can let youngsters squeeze through. Children love to play in the spaces between balcony railings because they are just the right size to stick an arm, a leg, or a head through. Children's actions such as climbing rails or barriers often result in accidents.​

So why are kids most in danger? The primary cause is... ​

- A child's body is still developing and might lack co-ordination for age-appropriate curiosity. ​
- A minder might be neglectful, whether a parent, guardian, or another individual. ​
- A child's environment, both physically and socially, might lead to accidents. ​

As we can see, there are many contributing factors. Design must therefore boost security by taking into account age-appropriate curiosity as well as situations when a child is left alone. The following design features are required:​

- Railing height
To ensure that an adult leaning on it cannot fall, the railing must be at least 120 cm tall. ​
- Railing distance
Each rail's vertical and horizontal spacing must be no more than 9 cm apart to prevent little children from inserting their heads, feet, legs, and torsos.​
- Railing design ​
The railing form needs to be carefully planned, taking account of everyone's behavior and especially that of young children. Railings must lower the likelihood of climbing. Guard rails must be held in place without horizontal features that provide footrests. ​
- Climbing dangers
Avoid placing anything close to the railing that could be used as a ladder, such as an AC compressor, seat, or planter.​
- Durability
Railings must be strong enough to bear the weight of people leaning on or holding them. Use laminated glass to prevent shattering. ​

Railings are also vital for older adults…​

Physical decline, difficulty moving, and poor eyesight can put older adults at high risk of accidents. To protect all ages, the following factors apply:​

- Handrails must have a diameter of 30-45 mm.​
- Handrails must have a height of at least 0.7–0.9 m from the floor.​
- Handrails must be continuous and installed on both sides of walkways and stairs.​
- Material should be smooth and easy to clean.​
- Handrails on stairs should extend at least 30 cm for better support.​
- Handrails should have a gap of at least 5 cm from the wall.​
- Handrail material should be stainless steel or wood that can be comfortably gripped (and isn’t temperature sensitive).​
- The handrail material must be stable and strong.​

And railings are also vital for pets! ​

Design must protect dogs, cats, and other animals because pets are seen as family. A cat's head is 6-7 cm in diameter so design must adhere to following requirements:​

- Railing gap​
Since 5 mm is the smallest distance pets can squeeze through, gaps should be small.​
- Railing design
Pets should not be able to walk through or over railings. ​

We can see that it’s important to consider safe railing design for both people and animals. RISC has established Residential Design and Development Standards everyone to live in safety, happiness, and independence while also enjoying a sustainable and higher-quality life.​

Story by:​ Dr. Sarigga Pongsuwan, Vice President, Head of Happiness Science Hub & Innovation for Dissemination, RISC, and Saritorn Amornjaruchit, AVP, Research Integration & Design Solutions for Well-Being, RISC ​​

Anucha Setthasatien, 2014​
National Institute for Emergency Medicine, 2014​
Child Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Center, Ramathibodi Hospital “Public Forum for Child Safety” Faculty of Medicine, Three Institutes (Chula-Rama-Siriraj) collaborated with Engineering Institute of Thailand and ThaiHealth Promotion Foundation (June, 2011.)​
Suwanna Ruangkanchanaset, 2008; Adisak Plaitsipong, 2007; Morrongiello, Ondejko & Littlejohn, 2004.​
Tollin and Koka, 2009

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