Garage door safety has improved immensely over the past ten or twenty years, but there are still several deaths a year which occur mainly to children. The purpose of this article is not to alarm you but just to educate you on how far the industry has come, but also some things that every homeowner need to make sure he keeps an eye on. Also remember that in many cases you do get what you pay for, so although garage doors prices may seem high they are probably worth it.
In 1993, the Consumer Product Safety Commission mandated that all US homes have an electric eye or similarly functioning garage door safety mechanism. This is why (hopefully) if you try to duck under your garage door as it’s closing, it will pop back up even before it touches you. It senses movement and immediately takes action designed to maintain the safety of whatever that might be passing underneath it. While this can occasionally be annoying, it has doubtless saved hundreds of lives at the very least.
There are also some garage doors that are a little less safe, and they will only change their path if they actually make contact with something. This type of garage door should maybe be replaced. That’s a judgment call in my opinion. Each person has his or her own different level of caution that they feel is necessary.
Lastly, in the case of very old mechanical garage doors, they may have no safety mechanism whatsoever. That same Consumer Commission has publicly stated that if you have one these garage doors you should flat out replace it.
Another way of keeping up with the current state of your garage door safety is to regularly test it. Do a little diagnostic on the thing about every couple months. I’m not saying you have to do this, just musing about the ideal way to proactively prevent injuries. The people who should be most concerned with these issues are parents who still have some small kids running around. Make sure and tell them (as I’m sure you already have) that the garage is not a toy. Back in the 1980’s it was hugely popular for kids to think that they were Indiana Jones trying to roll under the garage door just before it closed. Maybe you remember how Indy barely escaped a closing stone wall but dropped his hat. So what did he do? He reached his hand back in there and grabbed his hat just in the nick of time, creating a generation of children who were prone to disobey standards of garage door safety. Good job, Indy.