How to teach your children about safe garage door use

Families use garages to access their home, store items used by all family members, and park their cars. This means that everyone in the household should learn how to act in a safe manner around the garage door.

Teaching your children about garage door safety is imperative. Here are some tips for doing just that.

Explain what happens when the door opens and closes

Explain the weight of the door and the tension of the parts used to open and close it. There is no need to exaggerate here. Garage doors weigh between 125 and 400 lbs (that’s 50-180 kg). However, when the springs and cables are perfectly balanced, which can be achieved with regular maintenance, the door only weighs 8-10 lbs when opened manually.

The door opener and springs may make the door seem light, but these parts are actually just as dangerous as the heavy door itself.

Parts that children should never touch

Two parts are under extreme tension: springs and cables. There are two different components in the spring system: torsion springs, which are located over the head of the door, and extension springs, which are above the horizontal tracks. Because they support the weight of the door, these springs are kept at a high level on tension, and children should not touch them under any circumstances.

Lifting cables, meanwhile, are located on the side of the door and attached to its bottom. They wind up as the door opens, usually coiling inside of a metal drum. Like the springs, the lifting cable is under a lot of tension, so children should never touch it, even when the opener is not in use.

The photo‑eye reversal systemis not under tension, but it could cause significant danger if it is not functioning correctly. This system consists of two boxes next to the vertical tracks on each side of the door. The boxes are usually 6 inches off the ground. The photo eyes project a beam to one another. If this beam connection is broken, by someone walking under the door when it is closing, for example, then the door will immediately open. Since the system is so close to the ground, it is within reach of children, and parents should make a point to tell their children not to touch or bump the boxes.

What to tell your children about garage door operations

  • Keep your fingers out of all cracks and joints. Doing this can lead to serious injury if someone opens the door unexpectedly. Also, parents should tell youngsters not to open manual garage doors by holding the sections. They should always use a handle.
  • Stay well away from the door when it is opening or closing. The best way to keep your kids safe around the door is to tell them to stay a good distance away when the door is in use AND to pause whatever they are doing until the door is open or closed. This will keep them, for example, from chasing a ball under the door when it is closing.
  • Do not open or close the door yourself. Younger children should not open the door either by remote or by the exterior keypad. You should remove the temptation by keeping the remotes out of reach and by placing the keypad at least five feet off the ground.
  • Don’t climb on the door. Wide garage doors (two car-widths or more) usually have support struts that curious youngsters may think look like a ladder. However, if they climb these supports, they will risk injury from falling or from the door unexpectedly opening, and they could damage the door so that it does not open correctly anymore.
  • Listen to your older siblings. If you have more than one child, the older ones can help you enforce the garage door rules, especially when they are playing together outside.

Rules about exterior keypad code

Make certain that your older children, who are allowed to operate the door, know that they need to keep their access code secret. Thieves often access homes through the garages, and if your child tells a friend the code, then you will have lost control over who else will learn about it. Furthermore, you do not want others to learn the code and operate the door in an unsafe way.

What about a tune‑up or even a new door?

If you want us to inspect your door and make necessary repairs, you can contact us at 724-287-1673. If you want routine maintenance of a specific repair, we can send you a quotation by email. If you want us to come look at your door and make recommendations for repairs and preventative maintenance, then you can give us a call to make an appointment for a site visit.

If you need an entirely new door, you can get ideas from our Design Centre or by having a look at our image gallery.