Small child push man over balcony, possible?

Hi, in my story I need an 8 year old girl to push her father off the first floor balcony whilst her parents are rowing. The child would be about 4’ the man about 6’. He would be surprised obviously, and could have been drinking. My question is still whether she would have the power to do it? Also if it is possible, how would he fall, headfirst?

Assuming that she does it on purpose, and the man was, say, leaning over to look at something, then it would’t take much to tip him over.

Another possibility is that the child runs out, knocks the man off balance, he grabs the rail and the rail fails.

A typical eight-year-old would weigh around 60lbs. chart Enough to knock a grown man, who wasn’t prepared, off balance.

Easy: the adult is leaning against the mid-height balcony rail, the child takes a running leap into his arms, and both will go over.

If you want someone to fall over something - like a rail - a key is to unstick their feet. Even a toddler could tip someone over in the right circumstances. The trick would be to insert yourself between the rail and their legs, and tip them. If you get it right you unstick their feet and they simply tip over the rail. Possibly not what the plot requires.

I don’t think its that easy, no matter what you do you have to lift their centre of gravity higher than the railing height or they won’t tip over, they’ll just collapse inside the railing.

Have the adult standing up on a step ladder to change a light bulb on the balcony or create some other reason for them to be standing higher than the floor of the balcony and it gets a lot more plausible.

It is unlikely (and thus unrealistic) without some sort of horseplay by the adult or failure of the rail as the railing is designed to prevent things like you are stating.

What is the motivation of the child to do such a thing? Intentional act or accident, planned or just a noticed opportunity?

If he falls over a railing, he’ll fall head over heels as he goes, continuing to turn until he hits something. So he could land headfirst, feetfirst, backfirst etc.

My daughter (who is seven) has knocked me over by running at me but she hits low and wouldn’t push me over a waist-high railing even if she was trying to.

I suppose she could throw something heavy at him - if he’s leaning backwards against the rail, is surprised and is hit with sufficient force and weight to be thrown off balance he could lean back and (with the weight of the object) go over, but that’s an unlikely concatenation of events.

I don’t understand the “whilst her parents are rowing” part. Rowing what?

Arguing. It’s a British thing - “row” rhyming with “now”.

Thank you. Now I don’t have to envision a rowboat with a railing. :smiley:

Come to think of it, if she wound up and whacked him hard in the face with a Space hopper when he wasn’t expecting it it’d knock him back - they’re light enough for a child to swing but they have a heckuva recoil. You’d still need quite a low railing though.

Could the OP simply specify that the railing is low enough that it’s below the adult’s center of gravity? It is, after all, a first-floor balcony; it could have the kind of low railing that’s just intended to keep objects from falling over the side.

Me too.

Neat participle.

Given the use of “rowing,” I expect that the balcony is on what Americans would call the second story.


Did he have to take a lift to the flat after parking the lorry? Maybe she could hit him with a pram.

How hard it is to knock an object off balance depends on how precarious the balance was to begin with. Just say he was leaning over for some reason (maybe the mother was below on the ground, and he was leaning over to yell at her).

Maybe she could clobber him with an oar?

Building upon this idea, child runs up and does the initial push and the father bumps into a large flower pot or garden hose or bench or end table which starts the fall and over the railing he goes.

Would the child in question have any martial arts training? While I’m one of the biggest skeptics when it comes to claims that martial arts are useful in real life situations, a kid with that kind of training would at least know the basics about center of gravity, momentum, etc. It would make it a lot more plausible than the weights alone would suggest.

Other than that, I’d go with her using something as a weapon. Maybe even a broom stick. If someone stabbed me in the face with a broomstick, my first instinct would be to raise my hands and jerk back… maybe enough to tip over a railing by itself, or maybe it would be combined with tripping over something like a flower pot behind me.

Also, what kind of fight are we talking about between the parents? If it’s just them shouting, that’s not going to help the kid. But if mother and father are already physically struggling, then the kid might just provide the extra push needed to knock him off balance.