March 2, 2018

Kids and Garage Door Safety

How to educate your children about garage door safety

Is your garage door the main point of entry into your home? You might not think it is, but if you consider how many times it opens and closes each day and whether you and your family usually enter through it, you’ll probably discover it is your main entrance. Unfortunately, it can pose some risks and that is why any kids in your home need to be trained in optimal garage door safety. Below are our top tips for a basic safety protocol.

Eliminate Curiosity

Kids are usually very curious and love to push buttons, pull handles and even climb things to explore them. While this is often a good thing, when it comes to the garage door and the garage door opener, it can be hazardous. They might harm themselves or key security features, like the automatic reversal system, creating dangerous situations.

Therefore, it is a good idea to explain to your kids that garage doors may not seem heavy but can weigh from 125 to 400 lb. (60 to 180 kilos). Go on to explain that it is the design of the door and the opener that make it appear to weigh much less. Start by showing them that the door is balanced and that this balance can be easily offset if someone tinkers with any of the parts. A balanced door actually weighs between 8 and 10 lb. (3.5 and 4.5 kilos), but takes on its full weight if the system is unbalanced.

Reveal the Danger

To drive the point home and permanently erase curiosity, show them the most dangerous components of the door system.

Start with the spring system. Your door(s) may have one of the two most common kinds. Either a torsion or coiled spring system or an extension spring system. The torsion springs are above the door while the extension springs are on the horizontal tracks. It is crucial that the springs are never touched and if they appear broken, a child should be taught to inform you immediately.

Next are the lifting cables on either side of the door. They hook to the bottom of the door and pull it open by being wound up on drums installed in the opening system. These cables have very high amounts of tension and must never be plucked, pulled or touched.

Finally, danger can be encountered with the photo‑eye reversal system. The gear itself is not dangerous, but actually prevents danger and disaster. It uses two small units installed on opposite sides of the door – roughly four to six inches above the garage floor. They face one another and create a beam of invisible light that prevents the door from closing if something is beneath it. If knocked out of alignment, it disables the system and can lead to harm to people or items in the doorway.

Ensure the Door is Not Viewed as a Safe Plaything

Ask anyone injured by a garage door and they will tell you that complacency played a role in the incident. This is why you must teach kids that garage doors are not toys and to use the following behaviours:

  • Keep away from a moving door and wait for it to stop moving before you pass beneath it.
  • Use any remote controls and/or control with responsibility and care. It is best to discourage young kids from using the remote or the exterior keypad until they reach a responsible age. Because of that, be sure that a keypad is at least 5 feet (1.5 m) above the floor and that remotes are not easily obtained by younger kids.
  • Never climb the doors or any of the reinforcing struts on the interior side of the doors. These often look like ladders or playground gear and can be tempting to kids. Explain how dangerous this is to the door and the children themselves.
  • Keep fingers away from the doors no matter what. The section joints of a heavy door can crush fingers instantly and whether it is being opened by the electric opener or manually, kids must know how to safely handle the door.
  • Assign your oldest children the task of overseeing garage door operations, requiring them to watch the youngest kids and preventing them from passing beneath a door as it opens or closes. After all, if the auto‑reversal system is damaged, the door will not stop from closing down on anything beneath it.

Safeguard Access Codes

Though we could include this in that general list of habits and patterns to teach kids, it is important that everyone in the home know that safeguarding the access codes used on the exterior keypad is crucial. Not only does it prevent others from entering the building, but it is a safety issue. What if a neighbour child knows it? They could go inside and get hurt in the garage!

What about a Tune‑Up or New Door

If you think your door could be safer with a tune‑up or replacement, just contact us at

  • London: 519-685-9797
  • Mount Pleasant: 905-304-9700
  • Guelph: 519-821-4400
  • Goderich: 519-482-3251

We are glad to send an online quotation or visit you at home to go over the options. If you would like to “test drive” some options ahead of time, use our Design Centre or image gallery.

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