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Preventing Automatic Garage Door Injuries

Automatic 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.

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