In March of this year, the news of the 3-year old Palmdale boy who was killed when a garage door fell on his head made local and national news headlines. Months later, a 6 year old boy and a 33 year old woman died from similar causes, in separate accidents; one was hit on the back and the other on the neck. These aren’t isolated cases. Every year, hundreds of little children and adults die after being caught under a falling garage door that either failed to reverse or was unattended.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) cautions homeowners to make regular safety checks on their garage doors to avoid further similar accidents. Here are a few precautions to keep in mind:

Safe distance – Garage openers and wall control units should be at least 5 feet away from the floor, and the door opener control button should be high enough that small children cannot reach it.

It’s not a plaything – Children should not, at any time, be allowed to play with the garage remote control or any part of the door. Hitting the door with their hands or even a soft object may cause the interior mechanism to loosen and the door to malfunction when you least expect.

Familiarize yourself with the manual – Read the door’s instruction manual and understand the door’s emergency release feature so that in case of an emergency you’ll know how to operate it.

Monthly visual inspections and maintenance checks – At least once a month, inspect your door and its component parts for wear and tear. Pulleys, cables, springs, and rollers may malfunction when worn out. If your garage gets jammed for some reason, call in a professional. Don’t attempt to repair or replace it yourself; get a trained garage door repairman to do the job. Don’t forget to oil the bearers, rollers, and hinges with a light lubricant oil.

Monthly testing – You’ll never know if the garage door’s reversing mechanism is working properly unless you test it. To do this, place an object – a piece of plywood or a roll of toilet paper – under the door’s path then release the control to let the garage door roll down. If it doesn’t reverse after touching the object, have it repaired. Test the reversing mechanism every month. If your garage door has an electric eye, make sure you test this on a monthly basis as well. If the door is old and has no auto-reverse feature, consider replacing it with a new one that has safety features.

Finger safety – Never place your fingers in between the door sections and caution your children against this as well.

Keep the garage door closed – Never – ever – leave your door partially open. Aside from placing your home at risk for intruders, when the door is activated again it may travel down instead of up and hit whatever lies in its path.

The emergency release – If there’s a power failure and you must open the garage door, use the emergency release to disengage the door from the opener. After the door is released you can operate it by hand. Again, consult your instruction manual and learn how to use this feature.

Educating yourself and your children on correct use and operation as well as taking proper care of your roller garage door will help you avoid unnecessary accidents and loss of life. In Florida, you can call Precision Garage Door of Florida for your expert Florida garage door repair.

Tim owns a small owner operated garage door repair company in Florida. In Florida, you can call Precision Garage Door of Florida for expert FL garage door repair.