In 2007, there were 13,325 injuries and deaths relating to garage doors. Injuries were caused by falling garage doors, pinched fingers, entrapment and children riding the garage door as it retracted, among other issues. If you have small children in your home or who visit your home often, optimizing your garage door safety is key to preventing serious injuries and deaths. Here are three ways to increase your garage door safety for children.
1. Install a Controlled Descent Device
The most dangerous and deadly injuries that are related to garage doors occur when a garage door free falls and crushes or pins a victim underneath it. Most garage doors weigh over 400 pounds, and in a free fall, can exert considerable pressure on an individual. Children who play in a garage and a driveway with the garage door open are especially at risk for injuries that result from a falling garage door.
You can prevent your garage door from free falling by installing a controlled descent device, or having a garage door service assist you with the installation. A controlled descent device "catches" the door as it descends, preventing it from falling quickly.
2. Purchase a Garage Door With Finger Protection & Low Profile Hinges
Other problematic garage door injuries occur when a child attempts to "ride" the garage door as it opens. A child may grab on to the top of a garage door section or a hinge, and attempt to let go just before the garage door fully retracts. When a child fails to let go soon enough, his or her fingers, hands and arms can become trapped in the top of the garage door opening, causing serious injuries.
Prevent garage door riding by purchasing a garage door with finger protection and low profile hinges. The space between each section on these doors isn't enough for a child to hang on to, and the low profile hinges are much more flush against the garage door. This type of door is designed to prevent "riding" and can help keep older children safer around your garage door.
3. Test the Reversing Mechanism on Your Garage Door Regularly
Every garage door is designed to reverse if it comes into contact with anything while it is descending. For example, your garage door should automatically reverse if it touches a toy or other object that is between the door and your driveway. When a garage door doesn't properly reverse, it could cause serious crush injuries and even death if a child were to get stuck underneath the door.
Check the reversing mechanism on your door frequently by inserting an object, such as a 2 x 4, underneath the garage door while it's closing. Ensure that the door automatically reverses when it touches the object. If it doesn't, contact a garage door repair company as soon as possible and do not allow children to play near the door until the issue has been fully corrected.
Garage door injuries and deaths happen unexpectedly, even when your garage door has been operating perfectly. Check your garage door for problems on a regular basis, and have any issues fixed by a professional from a company like The Garage Doctor immediately. Additionally, by taking an active role to ensure that your garage door is as safe as possible for your children and others, you can reduce the risk that serious or fatal injuries will occur on your property. If you have any questions or concerns about how to make your garage door and the surrounding area as safe as possible for children both young and old, contact an experienced garage door repair professional to learn more.