If you have children at home, you know that it's often difficult to keep them safe from harm. Kids are naturally curious about the world around them and are prone to putting themselves in dangerous situations.
As a parent, you're tasked with protecting your kids from danger, but this can prove challenging when they're constantly getting into mischief. In terms of hazards, the garage door is one place where danger lurks. Garage doors are heavy and dangerous, especially when they close quickly or suddenly.
When garage doors are open, children may run into them by accident and get injured. Often these injuries will be minor scratches or bruises but sometimes they can be more severe with broken bones or even death resulting from serious head trauma.
Fortunately, there are some simple safety tips and measures you can take to ensure that your children stay safe when they go near the garage door.
Garage Door Child Safety Tips
Here are some of our top garage door safety tips for parents with young children:
Keep the Remote Controls Out of Reach
If you have a garage door, you will want to keep any remote controls out of the reach of children. Kids love playing with remotes and push buttons and in certain cases, this can be extremely dangerous.
If your child has access to your garage door remote control, he or she may be able to accidentally open the doors while playing inside. This could cause serious injury if your child is struck by the door or if something falls on top of him or her. It is, therefore, imperative that you keep the remote control out of reach to ensure your child's safety.
Educate Your Children About Garage Door Dangers
One of the most effective ways to keep your children safe near garage doors is to educate them on the dangers of playing around a garage door.
There are many moving parts that can cause injury, especially if they are not working properly or have safety features that are not functioning. If there are no safety features, it should be considered extremely dangerous for children to play around the area where automatic openers operate.
Here are some key points to share with your children about garage doors:
- The garage door is extremely heavy and should not be played around with
- Do not play on the garage door or try to hold it open
- Do not put any objects inside the track of the door
- Never attempt to operate a garage door with a broken spring or cable, as this can cause serious injury.
- Do not put your fingers, hands, or feet near the moving parts of the door
- What the safety features are and how they work
- How to open and close the door in a safe way
- The garage door remote control is not a toy and should not be played with
- Never run under a moving garage door
Learn About Your Garage Door’s Safety Features
Some common garage door safety features you should know about include the following:
Automatic reversal system - This auto reverse feature is designed to stop a door from closing if it comes into contact with an object while closing. The door will then automatically reverse direction and open. This is a great feature to have if you have children or pets that could be in the path of the garage door when it's closing.
Photo eyes - Often part of the reversal system, these are sensors that are located at the base of the garage door, on either side. They emit an infrared beam that creates an invisible barrier across the doorway. If anything breaks this beam while the door is closing, the door will automatically reverse direction and open.
Functional obstruction sensor - This is another sensor that helps keep children safe near garage doors by preventing the garage door from closing if there's something in its path. It's usually located on the inside of the garage, near the floor. So if your child happens to walk under a closing garage door and in the path of the sensor, it will automatically stop the door from closing.
Automatic shutoff - If the door is left open for more than a minute, it will automatically close. This feature helps to prevent an open door leading to escape!
Emergency release device - If your child becomes trapped in a garage door, this feature will automatically open it from the inside.
Safety latch - This keeps the garage door from being opened without your knowledge by blocking it from opening more than halfway up.
Know How To Use Garage Door Safety Features
Aside from learning what safety features come with garage doors, you also need to know how to use them properly. Most doors come with an instruction manual, so be sure to read it before operating your garage door for the first time. If you have any concerns about the safety of your new garage door, or if you feel that there is something wrong with the way it operates, contact the manufacturer or a professional technician from your local area and ask them to take a look at it.
Make Sure Safety Features Are Working Properly
To keep children safe near garage doors, make sure that the safety features are working properly. For example, if your garage door has auto reverse feature, test it by placing an object under the door to check that it reverses when it comes into contact with the object.
The same goes for any other safety feature your garage door might have. Test the safety features to see if they are working properly. If you realize that a feature is not working as it should, make sure to get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
Keep Garage Doors Clear of Objects
If a garage door is obstructed by objects, it may not close properly, which could endanger children and pets. Therefore, it is important to keep the area around garage doors clear of toys, bicycles, lawnmowers, and other objects.
Teach Your Children What To Do if Trapped
If your children are old enough to understand and follow simple instructions, teach them what to do if they become trapped under a garage door. Show them how to find the emergency release cord and pull it to raise the door slightly. Once the door is open far enough, their body should be able to squirm out from underneath. However, if your child is not old enough to understand these instructions, it is imperative that you keep them away from the garage door.
Schedule Regular Garage Door Maintenance
Regular maintenance is one of the best ways to keep your garage door safe. A professional garage door technician will be able to identify potential hazards and make repairs to ensure that your garage door is safe for use.
It’s a good idea to have your system inspected at least once per year, especially if the system is older. You can also check your garage door for issues on your own every month or so.
Some important signs to look for include:
- Door won’t go up or down
- Squeaking, grinding, or other strange noises
- Door isn’t balanced properly (you can determine this by disconnecting the door from the opener and manually lifting it. If it’s difficult to lift or stays open where you stop moving it, then your springs need adjusting)
- Worn, loose or broken springs, cables, tracks, and rollers
- The garage door opener isn't working properly. If you realize the reversing mechanism isn’t working, this could be a sign that the door is out of alignment or that there is something blocking it
Measures to Improve Garage Safety
- Install an automatic garage door opener. This is a device that can be installed on your garage door to keep it from closing on children who may be playing in or around the garage. This device can be activated by a sensor that detects any object in its path when the door begins to close, or it can be controlled manually by pushing a button on the wall near where you park your car.
- If you have a garage door that does not automatically close and open, it is important to keep the door closed when children are present. If you must leave the door open for any reason, make sure that your kids know not to play in or around the garage while the door is open.
- Install garage door sensors or other safety features if your garage door does not have them installed and if you don't intend to install a new garage door with safety features. Also, make sure that the features are working properly.
Your child's safety as a parent should always be a priority, and that's especially true when it comes to garage doors. While we all know how dangerous a moving garage door can be, many of us don't realize that children are at a higher risk than adults for accidents involving these heavy doors. That's why it's so important to take some of these simple precautions to keep your kids safe.