Because garage doors are largely viewed as utilitarian and used most by adults, we often forget how enticing they are for children. Both smaller and bigger children are often fascinated by the automatic door process, or love to use a partially open garage door as a place to hide or play.
It is important to instill awareness in your children that garage doors are heavy, dangerous, and should not be thought of as a toy.
Always repair or replace worn out or old garage doors
Don’t let repairs or a potential garage door replacement languish on your to do list. If your garage door is malfunctioning, making loud noises or vibrations, or needs replacement, consider it unsafe.
Some of the biggest red flags indicating your door needs to be inspected, repaired or replaced include randomly opening/shutting on its own, misaligned tracks, the door doesn’t close all the way, or the garage door is warped.
Have your garage door installed and repaired by a licensed garage door contractor. Garage doors should only be installed by licensed professionals. While there are routine maintenance tasks worthy of a DIYer (such as lubricating the moving parts, or repainting an older garage door), hiring a licensed, experienced garage door contractor is the best way to ensure the door is installed and maintained, with precise respect to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.
Raise the height of the wall-mounted garage door opener
If the button to your wall-mounted garage door opener is within the reach of small children, raise it to a height that is greater than what they can access.
Keep children away from moving parts
It’s best to open the garage door before toddlers or smaller children are in the garage or wait until they are safely strapped into car seats or boosters before opening the door. Children often become transfixed by chains, moving rollers in the tracks, or the spaces that open/close between panels – all of which can cause very painful or even debilitating injuries when curious fingers, hands, or feet get in the way.
Keep routine garage door maintenance appointments on your calendar
Time flies in a busy household with young children, so it’s easy to miss the routine inspection and maintenance appointments necessary to keep your garage door working well, in good shape, and gleaning the benefits of the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance tasks.
Your garage door should be professionally serviced at least once per year. Fall is a great time to schedule these appointments, ensuring the garage door is ready for winter’s more extreme rain and wind.
Lock the garage door if your child can’t resist
Have a born mechanic or engineer in the family – a child who loves machinery and/or enjoys figuring out how things work? If so, there’s a good chance she or he isn’t going to adhere to the household rules about safe garage door operation.
If that’s the case for you, implement the automatic garage door’s “lock” function to ensure that adults are the only ones able to open or close the garage door until you feel your little one is mature enough to prioritize safety above curiosity.
Locking your car doors when the car isn’t in use, and keeping the keys locked up or out of the reach of young children is a wise move.
Test your garage door’s safety functions regularly
Contemporary garage doors are intentionally designed with built-in safety mechanisms. These include the door’s automatic lift response if it encounters resistance (potentially a human or pet) while it’s closing, or a complete resistance to closing if the laser sensors “sense” something in the way when you try to close it. Even so, these safety systems can fail.
Invest in a stronger garage door frame, or an insulated garage door
Finally, we’re reversing the idea of “childproof” for this last point. Children’s games and activities are often the cause of damage to the garage door (bumps, dings, scratches, and dents). Spending a little more for a more durable door is a good way to protect your garage door from your children.