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Children love to explore – they’re curious about everything. They want to know how things work and sometimes, in the process of discovery, place themselves in jeopardy. Today, many children enter the home through the garage door, especially after school or if riding a bike or out with friends. It’s a natural access point thanks to convenient exterior keypads. It’s easier to share a code than to ensure kids will hang onto a spare set of house keys.

The garage door should never be taken for granted. No one wants to see a child injured because of misuse or a misunderstanding regarding the proper use of the garage door. Take some time to explain to your children how the garage door works and teach them how to use it safely. A few minutes spent explaining proper usage will lessen the chance of a mishap.

Make your lesson fun and experiential – show the kids how the door works, allow them to observe, experiment, and ask questions. Explain the benefits and potential dangers, answer the questions but also confirm that the kids understand fully what you’re saying.

You could start by explaining that a garage door is heavy. The average double overhead garage door can weigh as much as 180 kilograms (400 pounds). For clarity, you might ask the children what other items around the home might also weigh as much as 180 kilograms, citing such examples as the refrigerator, the washing machine or the china cabinet.

Pull the manual release handle, then show the children how easily the door can be raised and lowered manually. This will likely prompt some good questions, “If the door is so heavy, how come it’s so easy to open and close?” This will give you the opportunity to explain the spring system – a vital component of garage door safety. The coiled torsion springs, located at the top of the door frame, hold the weight of the door. The springs are tightly wound and under tremendous pressure. These springs should never be touched, and if the children notice a broken spring or something that doesn’t look right; they must alert an adult immediately.

Point out the lifting cables on either side of the door and note how they’re attached near the bottom of the door. Explain that the cables wind on special pulleys and are also under tremendous pressure. Never touch these cables or lean anything up against them. You might also point out the rails and how the door rests securely on them when in the fully upright position.

Show the children the photo-eye and reversal system. You’ll find the eyes on either side of the door frame about 15 centimetres (6 inches) from the floor. Explain that a beam of light moves between the two units and if something breaks the shaft of light, the door will stop descending. Demonstrate how the system works (check first to ensure proper functionality.)

A few final points to touch on: never (under any circumstance) climb on the garage door, always wait until the door is fully in the lifted position before walking under it, never walk under a descending door, keep fingers away from section joints in the door panels, keep the access code secret and finally, ask older kids to watch little ones when operating the door.

Need a safety lesson yourself or perhaps a new door? We’ll be happy to help and answer any questions and provide advice, should you need it. Call or drop us a line anytime.