Garage doors have become the most common way to enter a home. This means that everyone in the household, including children, should learn how to stay safe around the doors. Here are some tips for teaching your children about how they can stay safe and avoid dangers associated with garage doors.
Explain how the door works
Many children are naturally curious, so you should explain how the door works and answer any questions. Then, they will not feel like they need to “explore” the door themselves.
First all all, explain that the door is heavy (between 125 and 400 lbs or 60 to 180 kg). Explain that springs and cables make the lifting easier, which is why the opener seems to work so effortlessly.
This is a great opportunity to remind yourself of something too. The door needs to be properly balanced. If the springs and cables are working correctly and are properly aligned, then the door should only be between 8‑10 lbs when opened manually. It should be light enough for an adult to open the door with one hand.
This is also a good time to remind yourself that the door should be properly balanced so that the opener works correctly. How can you tell if it is? When the springs are aligned, the door should be between 8 and 10 lbs (3.5 and 4.5 kg) when opened manually. That means it should, for an adult, feel light enough to open with one hand.
Teach your children to never touch the following:
Garage door systems have two types of springs. Advise your children to never touch either one of them because they are under extreme tension. Coiled springs, called torsion springs, are located over the head of the door. Extension springs are located above the horizontal track.
These thin, strong cables are on both sides of the door. Again, because they are under extreme tension, children should never touch them. You can explain that the cables are stuck to the bottom of the door, and, as the door opens, they curl up into a steel drum.
These systems are not dangerous themselves, but they must be functioning perfectly. A small change to either of the two boxes (one is located on either side of the door about 6 inches above the ground) will take away your door’s most important safety feature. The two photo eyes beam a light at one another. If this beam is broken, the door will automatically reserve its direction. If the eyes are misaligned, then the feature will not work correctly. For this reason, tell your kids never to touch these boxes and never to purposely break the beam.
Give your children a list of rules for the garage
- Explain that your children should never run under the door while it is operating. Tell them to remain away from the door, whether they are inside or outside, and to pause whatever they are doing until the door is fully open or closed.
- Tell your children that they should never operate the door with the remote opener or exterior keypad.. These controls should be placed or stored at least five feet above the ground so that little ones cannot access them. Also, tell older kids who have permission to operate the door to never let their younger siblings use the controls.
- Garage doors come with supports. Wider doors have interior struts that some kids might confuse for a ladder. Remind them that they should never climb on the door. Not only could they fall, but they could ruin the alignment, which could lead to other safety problems.
- Tell your children to never put fingers in any cracks, gaps or joints on the door. This could lead to significant injury. Remind older children to never open or close manual garage doors by grasping the door section. They should always use the handle.
- Enlist older children to keep their younger sibling away from danger, and to remind them of the garage door rules.
If you have older children who use the garage door exterior keypad, remind them to never tell the code to anyone else. This includes friends, who could hypothetically tell the code to others, thereby ruining the security that the secret number provides.