Before 1991, there was no requirement for automatic garage doors to have an auto-reverse mechanism. Such a system would send signals to reverse the door’s moving direction when it comes into contact with an object such as getting hit on the head.
This means that if you have an aged opener in place now that does not have such a reversal feature, you have to get it replaced immediately.
This is especially important when there are babies and children in the house.
To ensure that you purchase one that meets the safety standards set by the authorities, look for a mark belonging to a testing lab like Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL) or Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
In 1993, there was a further indication of how seriously the government takes this matter when all automatic garage door openers manufactured from January 1st onwards to be equipped with an entrapment protection feature.
One of the features that have been popularly adopted by manufacturers is the photoelectric sensor.
These are the sensors that project a light beam invisible to the naked eye across the inner side of the garage door opening.
Also called an electric eye, this technology can be commonly seen on retail elevators where the door will shift into an opening movement even while it is closing when you swing your arms across the closing doors. Please don’t try this in case an elevator do not have it installed or faulty.
This safety device is now found all over the country in garage doors.
Yet with all these safety requirements in place, surely you are not going to leave the safety of your child to them?
Here are some additional tips to keep your children safe from an automatic garage door.
1) Regular maintenance
I can totally get it when we are simply too lazy to maintain the Bluray player. We don’t use them that often. And a part of us wants it to break down so that there can be an excuse to purchase that dream AV receiver as a replacement.
But for something as hazardous to our kids as an auto door, the hassle of maintenance should not be too hard a pill to swallow.
A lot of homeowners are actually not lazy to do the maintenance. It’s just that they forget about it or don’t follow the proper instructions of doing so.
While such a door system can look so simple to the regular individual, take note that companies spend millions of dollars in research and development to create these household products.
And some of those millions go into trial and error in testing the type of maintenance work to undertake, and the frequency to conduct them.
This is why you should get acquainted with the operator instructions in the owner’s manual regarding maintenance and follow it diligently.
The one certainty with electrical appliances and systems is that it is only a matter time before they fail.
Some can last for years and some go belly-up within weeks or months.
So don’t let negligence take over you mind. Knowing that these safety devices are around to do their job can be assuring.
But to have total peace of mind, knowing that they are working is essential.
So do test them, especially the safety reversing features at least on a monthly basis.
In the event that you find the safety feature not working, follow the instructions stated in the manual and take the matter seriously.
3) Height of switch
To prevent playful children from tampering with the automatic door system, position the power buttons at least 6 feet above the ground.
This height is often enough to be out of reach of children and easily accessible to adults.
At the same time, please be practical. Don’t fix the activation switches too high for you to comfortably reach.
4) Remote controls
Remote controllers can really fascinate kids. This is why you should never make the one for the garage door available to them.
Even if they don’t hurt themselves toying with it, they might hurt other members in the family when goofing around.
The remote should kept in a compartment of the car on the driver’s side so that no other persons will be able to reach and grab it.
Better still, consider keeping it locked in the glove compartment.
5) Good view
To ensure that accidents don’t happen from your doing, always have a full view of the door when operating the opener.
Blind spots are a common place in cluttered garages as a lot of people use the space for storage.
6) Keep clear
Make it your responsibility to ensure that there are no living and non-living things obstructing the door when in operation.
This includes keeping any toys in that area as they might be too tempting for children to resist.
Make it a habit to keep everyone, including pets, at a safe distance when it is moving.
Only allow people to approach the door once it has completely opened or closed.
For added measure, don’t drive off from the house until the garage door is fully shut and you are certain that nothing is trapped underneath it.
7) Warn the kids
A baby might not be able to understand your word when you read the house rules to them.
But kids should not be given a pass.
As a parent, do educate the children about the potential dangers of running under a moving door. You might even want to punish them when you catch them doing it so that this rule is burned into their minds.
Please don’t do it yourself. That is just setting a bad example.