Garage door safety sensors are one of the most important components in your automatic garage door system. It is the sensors’ job to detect whether a person, pet, or thing is in the way, and ensures the garage door doesn’t strike it.
It’s the Law
Since 1993, garage door manufacturers have been required by law to include safety sensors on all doors. This law was created as the result of numerous injuries and fatalities that occurred as the result of a garage door closing on a human.
An article published in the Los Angeles Times back in 1990 states that between 1982 and 1990, 46 children were killed by garage doors that struck them on the way down. The NYT reported that at least 85 children died or suffered permanent brain damage as a result of garage doors between the years of 1974 and 1995. And, these reports aren’t counting the millions of miscellaneous garage door-related injuries that occur each year, largely the result of ignoring basic garage door safety practices.
While garage door manufacturers continued to make doors lighter, and invent safety features such as the “auto-reverse” feature, most of these safety “innovations” still required contact with an object or person before the door stopped or reversed. This still left children others vulnerable to contact with a garage door.
As a result, safety standards experts called for garage door manufacturers to come up with something better, and that led to the invention of laser-sensors that could detect motion or interruption in the laser beam’s path from side-to-side and stop the door’s descent.
In fact, the federal and state residential garage door opener legislation states:
Residential GDO’s manufactured on and after January 1, 1993 must:
- Have an automatic inherent reverse feature that reverses after 2 seconds upon sensing an obstruction
- Have a 30 second reverse timer that moves the door upward 30 seconds after sensing the door has not reached the fully closed position
- Have a secondary entrapment protection system, which may be either an attached and working external device (example: edge sensor or photoelectric eye) or an inherent secondary system (example: combination sectional door and operator system with the entire door system acting as a force sensing device) and,
- Close the door using the manufacturer’s suggested devices (either a wall switch or a push button remote control).
Have a Manual Garage Door? Upgrade to One With a Sensor
In fact, not having a garage door safety sensor is the #1 reason we recommend those with older, manual doors go ahead and upgrade their doors to automatic options.
In addition to being heavier than most contemporary garage doors, manual doors have no way of “knowing” if your little one is trying to slip through the remaining opening before the door closes or whether a beloved kitty is trying to run back in. Your precious bike or another toy/treasure may be out of its normal alignment and about ready to get smushed before the door crashes down.
Keep Your Family, Children, and Pets Safe
Even with all of these features in place, garage injuries are still a reality. In addition to installing an automated garage door with safety sensors, there are several things you can do to help keep your family and children free from potential injury.
The garage door opener(s) is not a toy
It’s imperative that your family create a safety culture around the garage door and it’s automatic mechanisms. Children are naturally drawn to the ability to push a button and make something open and close.
They are intrigued by the thrill of ducking into or out of the diminishing gap between the door and the ground (action hero style), and some are drawn to the sounds or rhythmic motion created by pushing the button over and over and watching the door respond. Remote control power is also compelling.
Read our post How to Childproof Your Garage Door for more specific instructions on how to keep the younger members of your family safe and accident free.
Honor the manufacturer’s annual maintenance recommendations
The better maintained your garage door is, the less likely it is to cause an accident. Above and beyond impact with a garage door, fingers can get pinched, electric currents can cause shocks or electrocution, and powerful springs can snap if they aren’t repaired by professionals.
Always honor the manufacturer’s recommendations for annual maintenance. Some of these can be performed by you, such as lubrication of moving parts, but others should be taken care of by professionals to avoid unnecessary accidents, injuries or malfunctions. Another benefit to hiring a garage door technician to perform maintenance chores is that licensed professionals are more likely to notice smaller red flags that indicate a repair or parts replacement is on the horizon.
Ultimately, garage door safety sensors are the best gift you can give to your garage door – and your building occupants, to keep them safe. Visit Garage Door Safety Tips For an Accident Free Home for more suggestions on how to prevent garage-door related injuries.
Are you on the hunt for an honest, trustworthy, and affordable garage door company to install your garage door? Contact us here at R&S of Vallejo. We never upsell products, and our competitively priced maintenance appointments are designed to ensure your garage door safety sensors work day in and day out.