You may not realize it, but garage doors are incredibly heavy, and they can easily crush a small child if you’re not careful. This is why it is so important to educate your children about garage door safety. If you’re like most families, you store your kids’ play equipment, like bikes and sporting gear, in your garage, so your children will be using the garage door to gain access to these items. Follow these tips to keep your children as safe as possible while using your garage door.
Let Your Children Know that the Garage Door Is Not a Toy
First and foremost, your kids need to know that they should not play on or around the garage door at any time. This is especially true while the door is opening or closing but is good garage door safety advice at any time. Always supervise your children when they are using the garage door to ensure that they heed your warning. When you open or close the door for them, have them wait at a safe distance until the door has fully stopped.
Show Your Kids How Everything Works
Children are naturally curious, and garage doors provide so many moving parts for them to explore. To help prevent them from investigating on their own, take them around the door and show them how it all works. As you go, explain to them how dangerous it can be to grab the cables on either side of the door or to stick their fingers in the gaps between the slats of a sectional door. The goal is not to scare them senseless, but rather to instill a sense of caution around garage doors.
Keep the Transponder Out of Reach
If your garage door has a remote opener, make sure that it is well out of reach of little hands. Mount your transponder at your eye level so that only adults and older children can reach it. If you keep transponders in your cars as well, clip them onto your sun visors so that they are not accessible from the backseat. Always lock your car when you are not using it so that your kids can’t get inside to get the transponder.
Test Your Garage Door’s Safety Features Regularly
Most modern garage doors are equipped with a variety of safety features to help prevent anyone, kids included, from getting caught underneath the door. However, all the safety features in the world won’t help your child if they aren’t working correctly.
Check your owner’s manual to verify which features your garage door has, and test that they are working properly about once a month. If you are unsure of how to do this, your owner’s manual can provide guidance, or you can ask your garage door mechanic at your next service appointment. Your technician should be happy to explain to you how to test your door’s safety features.
Always Look Behind Your Car Before Reversing
Of course, you should always check behind you before backing your car out of the garage, but this step is even more important when you have small children. Don’t just look through your rear-view mirrors, though; young children may be too small to see this way, especially if you drive a tall vehicle, like a truck or SUV.
Before you get into your car, physically walk around to the back of the vehicle to ensure there is nothing, and no one, blocking your path. Once you start your car, check your mirrors once more to verify that nothing has changed. Always reverse slowly, even if you are in a hurry, just in case an obstacle that you cannot see crosses your path.
Know How to Use Your Door’s Emergency Release
Even if you and your kids follow all of the proper precautions, accidents can still happen, so it is crucial that you know what to do in a moment of crisis. The last thing you want is to have to search for your owner’s manual to find out how to free a trapped child from underneath the door.
Read about how to operate the emergency release, and practice it a few times to ensure you understand exactly what to do. Emergency situations can be incredibly stressful, so you want to have confidence that you are adequately prepared. Refer to your owner’s manual every few months to refresh your memory.
Keep Your Garage Door and Opener Properly Maintained
A well-maintained garage door is the safest garage door, so don’t neglect important maintenance tasks, like oiling the chain for chain-drive openers or replacing the belt for belt-drives. You should oil the tracks on either side of the door as well to keep everything moving smoothly.
Each time you test the security features of your door as described above, conduct a thorough visual inspection of your garage door, opener and other moving parts. Schedule an appointment right away to repair or replace any damaged or worn parts. The more in-tune you are with the condition of your garage door, the easier it will be to keep it in good working order.
Know When It Is Time to Replace Your Door or Opener
Modern garage doors and openers come with the latest and best security and safety features available, so it is in your and your children’s best interests to upgrade to a newer model, especially if yours has seen better days. Here at Coastal Garage Doors, we have installed and maintained countless garage doors for San Diego homeowners, and we can help you too.
Whether you need to repair your current garage door or opener, or you want to replace the entire system, our garage door safety experts will be happy to help. We’ll help you choose the perfect style of garage door to complement your home’s facade, keep your children as safe as possible, and fit within your budget. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our garage door repair, replacement and maintenance services.