With the weather cooling down, more and more people will be parking their vehicles in garages. While they are convenient structures, garages can be dangerous, especially for children. In fact, most garage door injuries and fatalities happen when children find access to garage door opening devices and are trapped under a door that doesn’t automatically reverse. Of all garage door related injuries in Canada, 59 per cent involved fingers or hands that were either caught or cut, and 23.5 per cent of injuries involved a garage door coming down onto someone.
Consider the following safety tips to protect you and your family from garage door injuries:
- Test your door monthly, using a roll of paper towels. (Do not use a hard object like wood—with a hard object, there is no way of knowing whether a door would reverse without causing injury to a child in its path.) The door should stop and reverse once it touches the paper towels. If the door fails to reverse, it should be disconnected until it is serviced by a professional. If the door can’t be serviced properly so that it passes the paper towel test, replace it with a model that meets current safety standards.
- Read and follow the manufacturers’ instructions. Become familiar with how to use the emergency release mechanism, and keep it where you can quickly find it in an emergency.
- Teach your children the dangers of automatic garage doors. Make sure that they understand that a garage door is not a toy, and that it has the possibility to malfunction.
- Install activation buttons out of the reach of children (at least 1.5 metres above the floor), and keep the remote controls in your locked car.
- Make a rule to never walk beneath or near a closing garage door. After activating the door, make sure you keep an eye on it until it closes completely.
- Inspect garage door pulleys, cables, rollers and springs on a regular basis and look for worn or damaged parts.