Garage Door Safety Tips

Written by Posted On Monday, 08 January 2018 08:45
Beautiful home with well-maintained garage door. Beautiful home with well-maintained garage door. Credit:

What is the most threatening appliance in your house? Unbeknownst to many homeowners, it could be your garage door. In 2015, over 17,000 injuries were reported in the United States from garage doors. Of those reported injuries, over 40% were injuries to fingers, followed by 15% to the head. Although most of us don’t consider our garage doors to be dangerous, they can pose a threat to the safety and wellbeing of those around them.

Children are especially at risk to garage door injuries due to their petite size and curious nature. Small fingers easily fit between panels and in tracks of operating garage doors, and unfortunately some doors don’t sense the tension and automatically reverse direction, leaving them trapped in the door. The short stature of children leave them susceptible to head injuries, and their petite bodies could easily be crushed under the weight of an improperly functioning garage door.

Homeowners without children also need to be aware of the potential dangers of garage door operation. An injury caused by an improperly functioning garage door could result in a liability claim due to negligence.

Following are some quick and easy precautions to take that could help prevent a future injury from garage doors, especially in children:

  • Always Monitor Children 
  • - Keep young children within reach when operating a garage door- or better yet, have them seated in a safe place.
  • - Watch children for unsafe behaviors around garage doors, and correct them immediately.
  • - Do not operate a garage door when a child is near the door- children are often impulsive and unpredictable.
  • - Place the garage door switch at least five feet off the ground so young children can’t reach it, eliminating improper or unsafe use of the door.

Teach Children Garage Door Safety

  • - Explain the potential dangers of injury to older children- fingers are the highest risk factor, but head injuries and internal injuries from a door closing on a child are also possibilities.
  • - Teach children to wait until the garage door has fully raised and stopped before walking under it.
  • - Teach children to stay away from the edges of a garage door when operating, especially keeping fingers at a safe distance.
  • - Explain to children that they should never walk under a garage door when it is lowering- a malfunctioning door could crush a small child.
  • - Model safe behavior at all times- children often imitate the behavior of others.
  • - Not all garage doors function the same- your neighbors may function differently than yours, which is why it is crucial that children understand and take precautions around all garage doors.
  • Perform Annual Safety Checks
  • - Test the reversing mechanism and the electric eye once a month to ensure proper functioning- something blocking the eye or darting across during operation should automatically raise the door.
  • - Test the obstruction safety feature by placing a paper towel roll under the door, then lowering it- the door should reverse when it encounters the paper towel roll.
  • - Adjust torsion springs if the door is difficult to open or close, or doesn’t stay open- make sure you have the proper tools for this job, or better yet- call a professional.
  • - Test the red emergency cord and make sure it releases the locking mechanism properly- you will need this to work in order to get out of your garage in a power outage.
  • - An unbalanced garage door can cause strain on the system, and if it goes unchecked can result in a system failure, potentially causing collapse on a vehicle or person.
  • - Loosened screws from regular use can cause the overall system to fail, resulting in full or partial inoperation or collapse.

To be totally safe, call a professional garage door repair company to come and perform an annual preventative maintenance check, with a comprehensive 20-point maintenance and safety inspection on the garage door and a 10-point maintenance and safety inspection on the garage door opener system. They will tighten or replace screws and lubricate all of the moving parts for smooth operation. Their technicians are trained to look for the little things that might go unnoticed by others, and will provide you with a detailed preventative maintenance checklist and make recommendations for necessary repairs and/or replacements, potentially saving your or your loved ones from a serious injury or liability claim- or both.

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James Stevenson

Hi, My name is James and I've been involved in the property and real estate industry for 10 years now. I hope people will like to read about my thoughts and experiences in the industry and please contact me if you want to discuss my articles further!

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