A garage door can be a natural temptation for children, and even the safest door can cause an injury if handled inappropriately. Kids see a gadget when they look at a garage door, and they don’t fully understand the consequences of playing with it – the least of which could mean a broken door and the worst could be a serious injury.
Today’s garage doors come equipped with a safety reverse feature so that, if something is between the door and the ground, it will automatically reverse to open. Despite this, injuries can happen. Mechanisms break or become worn with age. To determine if the garage door is child-friendly, consider these best practices and tests.
Perform Garage Door Tests
The best and safest way to test if the garage door is fully functional is to place your hand in the middle of the path of the garage door as it’s coming down. Modern garage doors will retract well before they reach the hand. If it should retract but doesn’t, schedule an inspection. If an older model, the door may wait until contact before retracting. In this situation, when the garage door hits your hand in the air, apply a slight amount of upward force. If the garage door retracts back up toward the ceiling, then it’s in working order. If the garage door continues to push down despite your effort, it needs a professional inspection.
Reinforce Safety with Your Child
Have your children present for the garage door safety test so they can learn by watching. This will be especially beneficial if the garage door fails to retract. Let your children feel the material of the door to get a sense of its weight. With the door open, show children the lining of the garage door that they must avoid. Reinforce that rubbing their hands against the material could cause cuts.
Show children where the switch for the garage door is and explain how to use it in an emergency. Garage door switches should be installed five feet above the floor – this way, younger children who won’t understand these rules won’t have access. If you have a garage remote, give your children the opportunity to open and close the garage door under your supervision, which will quell any curiosity. Otherwise, remind your children that it is also off-limits, and keep it away from arm’s reach. Kids are less likely to try and play with something if it isn’t in their purview.
Kids often act impulsively, so arming them with knowledge before they decide to play with a garage door or its opener is a smart move. With this knowledge, children can stay safe. If a child ever does play near the garage door for any reason, keep an eye on them. Garage doors are crucial to today’s business lifestyle. By ensuring your door is in working order, establish ground rules and allow your child to learn responsibility through explanation and understanding, the garage door can function as a tool instead of a hazard.