Preventing Automatic Garage Door Injuries

rAutomatic garage doors. Many of us have them and probably take for granted that our garage door will open and shut with the click of a button. While they are a great convenience, they are also among the heaviest moving objects in the home and are held under high tension so they can be the cause of a serious problem: injuries to small children.

Automatic garage doors account for approximately 20,000 emergency room visits for children annually. The majority of injuries caused by garage doors are pinched fingers and lacerations. On rare occasions, death due to entrapment can occur.

Garage doors manufactured after 1992 must be equipped with photoelectric sensors known as “eyes.” The eyes are located on each side of the garage door near floor level and emit and detect beams of light. If this beam is broken, it will cause the door to immediately reverse direction and open. The sensors should be installed a maximum of 6 inches above the standing surface. Garage doors are also equipped with a manual emergency release handle. Pulling the handle will detach the door from the door opener when activated. This becomes vital during emergency situations like power outages or when a person or item becomes trapped.

Here are some general safety tips for homeowners with automatic garage doors:

  • Do not attempt to adjust or repair garage door springs. The springs are held under high tension and can snap suddenly causing serious or even fatal injuries.
  • No one should stand or walk beneath a garage door while it is in motion. Small children should not be allowed to operate the garage door opener and should be warned against touching any of the door’s moving parts.
  • Fingers and hands should be kept away from pulleys, hinges, springs, and intersection points between the door panels.
  • The automatic reversal system may need to be adjusted for cold temperatures since the flexibility of the springs are affected by temperatures. Any changes or adjustments should only be made by a trained garage door technician.
  • Keep debris and other obstructions away from the photo electric sensors to allow for proper operation of the garage door and to allow the door to reverse direction.
  • Aluminum doors are more vulnerable to denting and cracking. If any of these items are noted, contact a trained garage door technician for repair.

Review these tips with your family to keep them safe.  Do you have any additional tips you can share?

21 Comments on “Preventing Automatic Garage Door Injuries

  1. My wife and I have a few kids that are getting to the age where they like to leave the house and explore a little. We’d like to make sure they don’t have any accidents. I didn’t know there was so much we could do to prevent garage door injuries. We’ll be sure to keep these all in mind.

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  2. A couple days ago, my teenage daughter backed her car into our garage door. We haven’t been able to get any of our cars out! Luckily a repair man is coming tomorrow to save us! I like your tip about not attempting to fix anything yourself. Garage doors can be tricky and it is best to leave it to the professionals!

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  3. You’re awesome! Thanks for sharing this with us! Unfortunately, garages can often be dangerous—especially when you’re trying to repair them yourself. I once tried a do-it-yourself repair attempt on my garage door springs, and it didn’t go as planned! Luckily I wasn’t injured, but I easily could have been—like you mentioned in your article!

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  4. Thanks for the article on preventing injuries from my garage door! I will definitely follow your advice and not attempt to repair my garage door on my own. I need my roller door repaired, but will now contact a professional to do it. Great article!

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  5. Wow, I had no idea that so many accidents could happen with a garage door! That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that you have a professional to help fix it. For example, the next time the “sensors known as eyes” are struggling, I’ll have a garage door serviceman come take a look. Is that a good idea?

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  6. I recently installed a new garage door, and I have been a little concerned about problems it would cause if it malfunctioned. I have young children, and I would like to know how to keep them as safe as possible around my garage. I really appreciate all of your maintenance tips and advice about taking care of an automatic garage door. Having read your article, I feel more comfortable letting my kids around this door, thank you!

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  7. My parents always had rules when it came to the garage door. We had to make sure that everyone was inside before someone closed it. With a lot of little kids running around that rule was very important. Has anyone else ever had any rules concerning garage doors in their families?

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  8. I was considering replacing the garage door myself. I don’t think setting up the new one would be a problem for me. Taking down the old bent one did sound a little dangerous, and now that I read this post I think it would be best I contact an experienced repair guy. Good looking out guys!

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  9. I had no idea that temperatures impacted these doors at all! It makes sense when you consider that everything shrinks and expands with the cold and heat respectively. This is why I would need to hire a professional! I would never consider any science related things when installing a door in the wall. Thanks for this great info!

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  10. My brother and I were backing out of our parents garage and he ran right into the garage door as it hadn’t quite opened up all the way. Now it is our responsibility to fix the garage door, and we were hoping to do it ourselves. After reading about springs getting snapped however, it appears that we should probably just hire somebody. Thank you for sharing, peradventure I would have gotten hurt!

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  11. It seems there are a lot of things that homeowners need to know about being safe using their garage doors.Thanks for recommending this to me; you’ve probably saved me from getting hurt!

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  12. Thank you for your safety tips about garage doors. I have small children and I don’t want them to get hurt. One of our rules is, they can never run under the garage while it is moving. Hopefully, this will help in keeping them safe.

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  13. It’s weird to think that the garage door is one of the heaviest objects in the house. I would have never guessed that because it seems like they’re so thin. It makes that all of the adds up though. I always try to run through it while it’s going down, I guess I shouldn’t do that.

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  14. Hi,

    Nice article! Thanks for sharing!

    You are right garage doors can’t be repaired at home. there has to be a
    specialized team for it. If done so, you can injure yourself. I can say this strongly
    because such incident had happened with me and I tend to hurt myself.

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  15. I agree that having a balanced door is one of the most important tasks that you can perform when doing regular maintenance on garage doors, If the weight is shifted it will cause problems throughout the entire system. Thanks for the information.

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  16. Oh my, I had no idea trying to fix the springs in your garage door on your own could cause a fatal accident! I guess it really is important to just hire a professional who knows what they’re doing. I really don’t trust myself to fix a garage door; I probably would make the problem worse, so if my garage goes out, I’m just going to call a serviceman right away.

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  17. This was really useful! I like what you said about how you need to be care when dealing with your garage door. Like you said, you should never try to fix to adjust the springs yourself. The last thing I want is for anyone to get hurt, so hiring a professional would be the best way to go.

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  18. I appreciate the tips on preventing injury from a garage door. I agree that it is important to have a professional handle your garage door needs, the springs are very tight and could cause great injury if not handled right. My brother is looking for a repair company for his garage, I will be sure to share this with him.

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  19. Thanks for sharing this with us! Unfortunately, garages can often be dangerous—especially when you’re trying to repair them yourself. I once tried a do-it-yourself repair attempt on my garage door springs, and it didn’t go as planned!

    Like

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