While working in the garage the other day, my next door neighbor was outside playing with his toddler son, in front of my driveway. Just as I was wrapping up my project and on my way into the house, I made sure the coast was clear, hit the button for the garage door and it began to close. The last beams of daylight were just beginning to disappear when I suddenly noticed out of my peripheral vision, a pair of legs, belonging to that toddler, standing about a foot from my closing garage door. I quickly hit the door button and fortunately for myself, the little toddler and his father, the door came to an abrupt stop. Talk about close calls!
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, garage door related accidents account for an astonishing 20,000 emergency room visits every year. The types of injuries range from crush injuries to fractures and worse. And those are just the incidents that were reported. If those numbers don’t impress you, then check these numbers out:
- 77.6% of garage door injuries happen at a person’s own home.
- 37.7% of injuries occur in the summer months. (June-Aug)
- 59% of injuries involve caught or cut fingers and hands.
- 23.5% of injuries involve doors coming down on a person.
Many families don’t realize the potential dangers that garage doors pose, and that they’re often the largest and heaviest pieces of moving equipment in a home, many weighing around 600 pounds, not to mention those deceptively dangerous torsion springs. So now that you’re aware those dangers exist, here are 6 rules to help prevent garage door injuries and keep your family safe:
- Educate your children about the dangers of garage doors. And don’t just talk the talk…walk the walk!
- Never go near a door until it has stopped moving.
3. Don’t turn your back, walk away or drive away until your garage door had stopped moving. (Like my situation, you never know who’s going to allow their child to walk around, near your closing garage door).
4. Test your garage door monthly. Your door should reverse when coming down on a roll of paper towels. Do not use anything hard like wood or blocks. If the door fails to reverse, disconnect it and have it serviced.
5. Move the wall switch/button high enough so kids can’t reach it or play with it.
6. Keep the remote controls out of children’s reach.
For these tips on garage safety and information about other product safety, go to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov)