If you’re a parent, a grandparent or someone else who often has young people at your home, child safety is no doubt a priority in your life. You should know that garage doors, while wildly convenient, are also home appliances that are under massive amounts of tension. This tension helps garage doors operate properly, but it can also pose a threat to children if your garage door isn’t correctly maintained or fully working.
Garage Doors and Kids
The garage door is one of the heaviest moving objects in any home, and when not used properly, or in the case of a mechanical failure, it can be extremely dangerous. Kids playing in the garage can be in danger of serious injury or even death from a falling garage door. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, several deaths and injuries from garage doors were reported, and as a result, safety organizations and garage door companies began to research the safety of garage door equipment.
In 1990, federal legislation was signed that ensured safety standards for garage door openers manufactured after 1993. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission required in 1992 that all garage door openers sold in the U.S. must have entrapment-protection technology, such as photo-sensitive eyes or sensors. Many garage doors now also carry the UL325 certification, from Underwriters Laboratory, designating to consumers that the garage door has gone through rigorous testing and standards of safety.
Today, the number of serious injuries and deaths from UL325-compliant garage doors is almost zero. New smart technology may change the way we open and close our garage doors, but child safety continues to be a top priority.
Garage Door Safety Lessons for Kids
When your kids are old enough to be outside without constant supervision, it’s important to make sure they understand garage door safety. Talk with your kids and teach them these easy tips and lessons to keep them safe while playing in and around the garage:
- Before you close the garage door, make sure no people or animals are standing in the garage door’s path.
- Never leave your bike or any other toy in the garage door’s path.
- Only use the garage door opener in an emergency, like when you forget your house key. The remote is not a toy and buttons should not be pushed just for fun.
- If your garage door has a passcode, don’t tell anyone the passcode, even your friends.
- Never hang onto or “ride” the garage door up when it’s opening. Don’t climb on the garage door, even when it’s closed or not moving.
- Don’t touch the garage door when it’s moving — it may be tempting, but little fingers can easily be pinched by the door panels.
- Don’t play right under the pathway for the garage door. It’s best to not take any chances and stay away from where the door comes down.
- Don’t move the photo-eye sensors at the bottom of the tracks. This can throw off a garage door’s safety features.
With these simple garage door rules, your family can prevent serious injuries as well as damage to the mechanisms. Have conversations with your kids about these lessons and avoid dangerous situations in your garage. Emphasize to your children that garage doors and openers are not toys, and you’ll keep your whole family safe.
Teach Kids Garage Door Danger Zones
Besides teaching your kids some basic safety rules, take it a step farther and review your whole garage door system with your kids. Most children are naturally curious and may enjoy finding out just how the door works. Point out the various mechanisms, quell any mischief caused by curiosity and empower your kids with the knowledge of a garage door’s most dangerous areas:
- The springs: Garage doors generally use either torsion or extension springs. Torsion springs are found over the head of the door, while extension springs are found above the horizontal tracks. Find out which kind you have and point them out to your kids. Make sure they know that any type of springs should not be touched or played with, and if they happen to spot broken springs, they should tell an adult immediately.
- The lifting cables: The cables are what actually lift up the garage door and can be found attached to both sides of the door. These cables are under intense pressure, so kids should understand that the cables should not be touched, plucked or played with in any way. Show your kids where these important cables are located on the garage door and stress the importance of leaving them alone.
- The photo-eye sensors: These important garage door components are located on each of the vertical tracks on both sides of the garage door. Sitting just a few inches off of the garage floor, these small electrical components are not necessarily dangerous on their own but are an important garage door part for kids to be aware of. It’s essential children understand that these sensors are a safety feature for the garage door and must be aligned correctly in order for them to do their job. When they are aligned, the sensors produce an invisible beam of light that prevents the garage door from closing and crushing anyone or anything in its path. Make sure your kids know not to play with, cover or move these sensors. Playing with the sensors could cause the beam to be off and would prevent the safety mechanism of the garage door from working properly.
Keep your kids safe and teach them about these important spots on the garage door, so they understand just how the garage door works and what parts are most dangerous to touch or move. Teaching garage door safety can prevent dangerous situations for your family and help to protect your garage door too.
How to Ensure Your Garage Door Is Child Safe
Here’s a look at garage door safety tips to help keep your children safe when playing in your garage or at your home:
Practice Basic Garage Safety
The garage can be full of dangerous situations for kids, but a few easy safety precautions can help protect your family. Use outlet covers and cabinet locks, just as you would inside the house, and keep dangerous tools and other devices safely locked away. Make sure all power tools, paints and lawn chemicals and any other dangerous substances are always put away in locked cabinets. Don’t leave rope hanging or lying around, and always safely store ladders to prevent climbing. Unplug any large power tools, appliances and devices when not in use, and always lock your car doors. Be sure to properly dispose of any hazardous materials like old paint, lawn chemicals or pesticides to prevent fire hazards, accidental poisoning and other dangers. Teach your children about other possible dangers in the garage and always keep an eye on them.
Store the Remote Safely
Kids love pushing buttons! The garage door remote can be a very enticing temptation for young children, but they may not understand the consequences of pushing that button. Don’t start a habit of allowing your young child to play with the garage door remote. Make sure your kids understand that this technological accessory is not a toy and should only be used responsibly by adults. When it’s not in use, the remote should be stored safely, out of reach of young children.
Practice Regular Maintenance
Get to know a provider of garage door maintenance in your area. Consider setting up regular maintenance appointments once or twice a year. Your garage door professional of choice should be able to take care of several things, including testing of safety features, visual inspection for loose or damaged hardware, balance test, lubrication test and more. Regular maintenance can identify problems before they spiral out of control, which should help promote child safety and reduce the chances of an accident. Regular maintenance also helps reduce costs. It’s far more affordable to address a problem before it renders your garage door completely inoperable than it is to wait for an emergency when your garage door clearly needs replacement parts.
Check Safety Features
Your garage door includes features that promote child safety. These features are required by law, and you should check to make sure they are working properly. Your garage door should have a reversing mechanism that engages any time your garage door senses an object in the way before reaching its threshold. You can test this out right now. Simply place a roll of paper towels across the garage door’s threshold. Once the door senses the roll of paper towels in the way, it should automatically reverse. If it does not, then this safety feature is not working properly, and you should contact a professional to come as soon as possible to inspect your garage door. A good professional garage door provider can also check your door’s many other safety features.
Choose a Quality Garage Door
There’s one great place to start in promoting child safety with your garage door: purchasing a quality, dependable garage door from the start. You can always find off-brand, cheap alternatives, but these cheap alternatives don’t always deliver the quality and dependable performance you expect out of your garage door and its safety features. By choosing doors from trusted overhead door manufacturers, you’re investing in a track record of success. You can expect to get more for your money and you can also expect the operation of your new garage door and its safety features to be more dependable when you choose a model made by a highly respected brand.
When you follow these safety tips for garage doors, you will feel more confident in knowing that your entire household is safe. When you and your family are aware of the possible dangers of your garage door and how to avoid them, accidents are less likely to occur.
Trust Quality Overhead Door for Your Garage Door Maintenance and Repair
At Quality Overhead Door, we’ve been serving the Toledo area since 1982, delivering the preventative maintenance and offering a huge selection of high-quality garage doors and openers. By providing these products and services, we help ensure your garage door’s safety features are properly working and that your home always promotes child safety.
A garage door can be an incredibly convenient appliance for your home. Make sure its safety matches its convenience when you choose Quality Overhead Door for regular preventative maintenance and replacement garage doors that meet the highest standards of quality. Even if you just have questions, we can be your trusted resource in Toledo and surrounding communities.
Contact us today about your garage door needs and how we can help make your home safer for children.
Additional Resources on Garage Safety & Security Door Tips:
- Garage Doors and Pet Safety
- Important Safety Features of Garage Doors and Openers
- How to Increase Garage Door Security
- How to Make Your Garage Door More Secure