It’s more than a garage – it’s a storage shed. The sad truth is, it houses more than cars; it’s the dwelling place of a number of hazards. An even sadder truth is, most of us are either unaware of the dangers or we’re just not concerned about them.
Every hazardous condition in a garage is a child safety concern. In this article I will focus mainly on those conditions that could have a direct impact on child safety. In a separate article I will address additional safety concerns that could affect the entire family.
As with kitchens and bathrooms, whether a garage is well organized or not, it is no place for children. Mostly likely people don’t simply let their kids play in the garage, but it wouldn’t take long for something to happen. Garage floors are usually smooth and, therefore, slippery even when they’re dry. And with so many garages being full of clutter, it wouldn’t take much for a child to fall over things or knock something on top of himself.
As difficult as it is, garages should be kept well-organized.
Flammable and other hazardous materials
If you have a detached garage or shed, dangerous and hazardous materials should be stored there, not in your attached garage.
- gas-powered tools and equipment
- gas cans
- propane tanks
- lawn and garden care products
- pool maintenance products
- automotive repair supplies
If you have an attached garage and have no shed, a wise alternative is a flammable storage cabinets. Cabinets meeting the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) standards are available. They come in a variety of sizes to meet personal needs, and fit nicely in a garage. Before buying a used one, make sure it is not damaged, the doors open and close properly, the keys come with it and the locks work.
If purchasing a flammable storage cabinet is not an option for you, it is imperative you keep all dangerous materials out of the reach of children.
Ladders and step stools should be stored or secured in such a manner that children cannot move them or use them to climb on in any way. Failure to do so could enable children to access dangerous supplies you put up out of their reach. It could also result in harm to your child should he climb on it and his weight causes it – and him – to tip backward.
Garden tools should be kept out of the reach of children, just as kitchen knives and utensils should be. Failure to do so could result in dire consequences – loss of an eye, for example. Be safe! Store them properly in a garden tool rack. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on types of tools and recommended weight limits.
Tools and hardware
Where there are tools there is usually hardware – nails, screws, nut, bolts. Tools and hardware should be kept out of the reach of children. Both are dangerous, and hardware can become a choke hazard. It might seem “cute” when a little guy or gal picks up a hammer and whacks Daddy’s toes, but it’s not. I’ve seen too many “America’s Funniest Videos” in which the events seemed funny, and in most cases they were, but they could have ended with far more serious consequences.
It would be no laughing matter if a little one were to lose an eye because he was allowed to play with a claw hammer. Please stop and think before allowing a child to “play” with tools.
Overhead garage door
I placed a large piece of yellow tape on my garage floor several feet away from the garage door track. I taught my grandkids to wait at the tape while the overhead door is opening. If the door were to fall out of its track while opening, no personal injury would occur.
Teach your children to never walk under the door while it is in motion. Remember, our actions speak louder than words, so set the example. Also, if the safety motion sensors for your overhead garage door have somehow been bypassed, correct it! If you don’t know how, contact a professional. It’ll be worth your money.
An organized garage is a safer garage not only for children but for adults as well. I trust you found these tips and recommendations helpful. As always, I ask that you please share your experiences with us. Your comments and questions are always welcome. I will reply promptly.