Your garage door is something you don't think about very much. It opens when you need it to open, and beyond its appearance affecting your curb appeal, you probably don't spend more than a few seconds per day contemplating your garage door -- until something goes wrong.
When the door is not opening or when animals are getting in the garage because of a bad seal, suddenly the forgotten door is a huge nuisance. An aspect that many people don't think about, even when maintaining or replacing their doors, is safety. Garage doors are heavy and powerful -- they can be deadly if you are not careful, especially for children and pets.
Here are some basic safety tips you should consider and make sure every member of your family knows about.
1. Never stand under, run under, or play beneath the garage door.
Garage doors are secured in place by powerful springs that allow the door to move up and down or even stay halfway open. Should any component of the lift system fail, the door could come crashing down. These doors weigh hundred of pounds, and they have a small surface area, so a falling door can cause serious injury.
When you have a door partially opened, never allow children to crawl under. Always use the regular garage access door from the house or the exterior when entering or exiting the garage. If the garage door is fully open, you may feel safe walking underneath it. However, you should not play under it or repeatedly go back and forth under it -- some children may enjoy riding bikes in and out of the garage, or a family handyman may walk in and out for tools. It may seem paranoid, but it's always more safe to use the access door.
2. Save openers for cars and adults.
Never allow children to play with a garage door opener. These buttons activate the lift and drop systems, and if these openers are played with while children are playing outside, the results could be disastrous. Keep portable openers in a place out of sight and out of reach of children. If you have a key fob remote, make it habit to hang your keys up every time you come home. Don't allow children to play in the front seats of cars that have built in remotes.
If you have doorbell-style openers in your garage, you could protect them with a key code to open and close the door manually so children don't push buttons they shouldn't. You might tape a sign next to the doorbell openers for guests, explaining that the buttons are not doorbells, but garage openers (close family may make the mistake if entering through the garage).
3. Teach respect of the door.
Try to keep children away from the garage door. Explain what it does and what it is for. Never play "chicken" with the door or allow children to touch the door when it is opening or closing. If you play basketball in your driveway or have other activities near the door, remind children that the door is not for bouncing balls off or drawing with sidewalk chalk.
4. Get your door inspected regularly.
Finally, don't set your door and forget it. Garage doors should be checked by a professional every so often to look for worn out spring and damaged parts. If you catch springs before they fatigue, for example, the risk of injury is greatly reduced. Maintaining the parts can also prevent premature wear and tear, which also reduces the chance of component failure.
For more information about garage door safety and maintenance, contact a local technician.