5 safety checks for a child-friendly strata living
Child-safety is the first thing on every parent’s mind. Here are the top action items that should be on your safety checklist while living in a strata property with family and children.
Young children need round-the-clock supervision and the responsibilities within a strata apartment are no different. While it’s easier to keep an eye on them at home, toddlers and young children often love venturing outside, especially in common areas such as hallways, elevators, driveways, gardens, pools, etc. To enable you and your family to safely enjoy all aspects of strata living, here are five points to keep in mind regarding safety and compliance:
- Balcony and deck height
Did you know that according to the Building Code of Australia, your balcony balustrades, boundaries and decks should be at least one meter in height from the ground? They should be built with sturdy, durable building materials and regularly inspected for wear and tear.
Most areas that form the boundary walls or structure of the building are usually owners corporation responsibility, so you should take care to check with them before undertaking any maintenance work and renovations.
- Pool safety
As per your state laws, your swimming pools and spas should be built in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and adhere to Australia standards. All above ground pools should be at least 1.2 meters from the ground level, and have child-resistant barriers and fences set up to keep children safe.
The depth of the pool, timings of use, directions for safety and contact information of safety professionals are some of the things that should be clearly detailed and displayed on signs around the pool area. You should also make sure first aid kits are always at hand, so your children remain safe as they enjoy the pool.
- Smoke vents and chimneys
Recently, NSW Fair Trading released a warning that all open-flued gas space heaters should be checked for compliance and modified by certified professionals if they’re found to be at risk. Many apartments usually have flue-less chimneys, so smoke or fumes are not released into the air outside the building but simply move into hallways or other rooms. Take care to find out your building plan and what measures are in place for fire-safety.
Also, smoke drift is a common concern in strata apartments and children are affected by passive smoking. So, if you’re worried about cigarette smoke drifting from your neighbour’s apartment, you may speak with them or get your owners corporation to consider adopting a by-law restricting smoking on common property.
- Doors and windows
According to Section 106 of the Strata Schemes Management Act (2015), your owners corporation is responsible for maintaining and repairing common property to ensure safety. This includes the locks and fasteners on all doors and windows of your strata property.
If you’re having trouble with any of these fixtures, you should speak with your strata manager or owners corporation to figure out how to get them repaired so your family remains safe. Make sure to retain any evidence such as pictures and videos of the issue and keep track of conversations via email, letters, etc. so that any insurance related concerns can be addressed as needed.
- Pet-related allergies
Children usually are the biggest fans of pets, but you should keep any eye out for any allergies your child develops around pets in your strata property. Take care to keep your apartments free of pests too by conducting regular inspections and clean-ups.
Community living begins with prioritising safety for all residents. For more specific concerns around about safety and compliance regarding your property, contact your strata manager or owners corporation.