Think back to the games you invented as a child and you might be able understand the “thrill” of a game entitled “Beat the garage door.” The object of the game is to run underneath the door before it has a chance to close. While thrilling to children, the game should be met with alarm from adults. Kids have been struck by the descending door or even trapped beneath it, and injury or death have been the result.
Adult supervision can go a long way in preventing such mishaps. Children should be taught not to play in or around the garage unless an adult is present. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also recommends that the garage-door remote control be locked in the glove compartment of the car and that the wall-mounted switch inside the garage be installed beyond the reach of children.
It is important that garage-door openers contain an automatic reverse mechanism in the event that the door comes into contact with a person or object when closing. Such safety-reverse features automatically stop and reverse the direction of the door when it comes into contact with any object.
All garage-door openers offered for sale in the United States since 1993 must include an external entrapment protection system, according to the CPSC. Many include an electric eye or sensor that stops and reverses the closing garage door if an object moves under the door and breaks the infrared beam.
Door openers sold prior to 1993 should be inspected for balance (i.e., door will maintain any position to which it has been opened) and reversibility.
Manual Garage Doors
A garage door that is opened and closed by hand must be operated with care; once again adult supervision is called for. Injuries to the hands or feet may occur as a result of the speed with which the door closes, as well as its weight. Fingers can be caught in the closing panels or the door hardware.
Whether your home has an automatic or manually operated garage door, the CPSC recommends inspection of the door and its hardware every 30 days. Children should be instructed that garage doors are not playthings and must be operated by an adult.