Are you maintaining a childproof garage door? From pinched (or broken) fingers to more serious or even fatal accidents, your heavy garage door should be installed, maintained, and operated within a “Safety First” framework to keep your children and family safe.
Because garage doors are largely viewed as utilitarian and used most by adults, we often forget how enticing they are for children. Both smaller and bigger children are often fascinated by the automatic door process, or love to use a partially open garage door as a place to hide or play.
Instilling the awareness that garage doors are heavy, dangerous, and should not be thought of as a “toy,” creates a more reality-based awareness for your children.
Don’t let repairs or a potential garage door replacement languish on your “to do” list. As long as your garage door is malfunctioning, making loud or obnoxious noises or vibrations, or needs replacement – consider it unsafe.
Some of the biggest red flags indicating your door needs to be inspected, repaired or replaced include:
- Randomly opening/shutting on its own
- Misaligned tracks
- The door doesn’t close all the way
- The garage door is warped
We understand the need to save money by performing DIY repairs. However, garage doors should only be installed by licensed professionals. While there are routine maintenance tasks worthy of a DIYer (such as lubricating the moving parts, or repainting an older garage door), hiring a licensed, experienced garage door contractor is the best way to ensure the door is installed and maintained, with precise respect to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.
Read, 7 Reasons to Hire a Pro for Your Garage Door Installation, for more on that topic.
If the button to your wall-mounted garage door opener is within the reach of small children, raise it to a height that is greater than what they can access using tippy-toes and outstretched arms.
It’s best to open the garage door before toddlers or smaller children are in the garage or wait until they are safely strapped into car seats or boosters before opening the door. Children often become transfixed by chains, moving rollers in the tracks, or the spaces that open/close between panels – all of which can cause very painful or even debilitating injuries when curious fingers, hands, or feet get in the way.
Time flies in a busy household with young children, so it’s easy to miss the routine inspection and maintenance appointments necessary to keep your garage door working well, in good shape, and gleaning the benefits of the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance tasks.
Your garage door should be professionally serviced at least once per year. Fall is a great time to schedule these appointments, ensuring the garage door is ready for winter’s more extreme rain and wind.
Have a born mechanic or engineer in the family – a child who loves machinery and/or enjoys figuring out how things work? If so, there’s a good chance s/he isn’t going to adhere to the household rules about safe garage door operation.
If that’s the case for you, implement the automatic garage door’s “lock” function to ensure that adults are the only ones able to open/close the garage door until you feel your little one is old/mature enough to prioritize safety above curiosity.
Children are born observers, and you’d be surprised how many garage doors have been demolished by an older toddler or young child’s decision to back the car out of the garage. Even “pretend driving” escapades can result in “real driving” if your child has access to the keys and knows how to operate the garage door.
Locking your car doors when the car isn’t in use, and keeping the keys locked up or out of the reach of young children is a wise move.
Contemporary garage doors are intentionally designed with built-in safety mechanisms. These include the door’s automatic lift response if it encounters resistance (potentially a human or pet) while it’s closing, or a complete resistance to closing if the laser sensors “sense” something in the way when you try to close it. Even so, these safety systems can fail.
Test your garage door regularly, using a bucket flipped upside down, to make sure the safety features work. Put the bucket in direct line with the door’s closed position and make sure it doesn’t close, and then have someone else push the “close” button and stick the bucket in the way of the doors closing pathway and make sure the door immediately stops and reopens.
Finally, we’re reversing the idea of “childproof” for this last point. Children’s games and activities are often the cause of damage to the garage door (bumps, dings, scratches, and dents). Spending a little more for a more durable door is a good way to protect your garage door from your children.
Keep Your Family Safe And Sound
The crew here at R&S Erection Vallejo is happy to provide an inspection and routine maintenance to ensure your garage door is as childproof as possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment. (707) 644-5537.