A Child Proof House Part 4 – The Garage

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.


Fall hazards

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
  • oils
  • 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.

safety cabinet

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

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

garden tool rack

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.

organized tools

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.


Closing thoughts

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.

Kind regards,

Rick

Comments 12

  1. Organisation is key; unfortunately, most garages are quite disorganised and a place to keep all your junk. We probably need lessons on how to be more organised.

    I like the fireproof storage closet, especially if you have children.

    1. Post
      Author

      Robert,

      Thanks for taking time to comment. I hadn’t realized until researching for this article that the fireproof storage cabinets came in the smaller sizes. Guess I never paid attention to it. They’re perfect for under a workbench or shelf.

      Best Regards,

      Rick

  2. I am an organized person anyway, and my garage is no different. So all my tools hang nicely on the tool bench wall, and all garden tools are up as well. I no longer have little kids, but I do have little furry kids and it is no different for them. I keep everything puppy proofed for them. Great information!

    1. Post
      Author

      Matt’s Mom,

      You’re one of a few people I know who keeps an organized garage. I conducted many home inspections and came across only a few homes with neat garages, but that might only have been because they wanted it to look good for showing – maybe not.

      Thanks for taking time to comment.

      Best Regards,

      Rick

  3. I completely agree with you on this, I have seen enough accidents in the garage over the years. From my little brothers to my cousins. Most of them were minor accidents, but that’s not the point, regardless …it was still an accident.

    One time I had to bring my little brother to the hospital around 7 at noon, because a screwdriver fell from the top shelf in our garage and got stuck on his foot, trust me…you don’t want that to hapen to anyone, especially not little kids, great post, very informative, the more people you inform, the better!

    1. Post
      Author

      Isaac,

      Wow, a screwdriver in the foot! I cringe at the thought of it, especially it being a child.

      Thanks for sharing and thanks for being an encouragement to me.I’ll keep on writing!

  4. A garage has to be the most hazardous place in a home. I see most people who just have everything in their garage thrown all over the place.

    Now that I have my own garage, the only two basic things I have in there are what belong in a garage, my cars!I do have a few things but nothing hazardous and dangerous as you explained.

    I never wanted to have a messy and cluttered place that wasn’t child proof for my kids.You can’t prevent every catastrophe from happening but keeping the garage safe is a great start!

    1. Post
      Author

      Rob,

      I guess I never thought of the garage being the most hazardous place in a home, probably because I never left my kids in when they were little. But, yes, the average (normal?) garage is the most hazardous and is no place for unsupervised kids. Thank you for enlightening me.

      I agree, we cannot prevent every catastrophe. And boys will be boys, so they say. But yes, every little bit helps when it comes to keeping places safe for everyone.

      Thanks for you insight and for taking time to comment.

  5. I am a mother of a little boy is just under two years old. He is fascinated with all things mechanical, electrical, turny, twisty, knobs, buttons, thing-a-ma-bobs, you name it, he is curious about it! Our garage is a hodgepodge of all dangerous elements, most of which you named here! I have tried to quell my sons curiosity for tools by buying him his own “tool set” made for his age, but of course, if he sees the shiny thing in front of his face he won’t hesitate to pick it up! I make sure to never let my son in the garage. Fortunately it is not attached to our house, you have to go outside and enter another door to get into the garage. Something I didn’t consider before reading this was the garage door overhead! That is a hazard that God forbid I never want happening! Thank you for giving me a heads up so I can be extra vigilant. I have bookmarked your site because I have this little curious kid here with me that likes things that aren’t appropriate for him yet, so ….your site is very useful to me! Thank you!

    1. Post
      Author

      Sophia,

      It’s good to hear that your son is fascinated with “man things”. I’m sure he’ll grow up to be a good husband, father, and employee. One day he might even be a supervisor or owner of his own business.

      Meanwhile, we must be vigilant in keeping him safe, so I’ll keep writing safety articles. Thank you for your encouraging comments. Keep up the good work in maintaining a safe home.

  6. I literally became sick reading this thinking about how many kids play in garages with all of these hazards. Scary to try to think about allnof the dangers lurking in garages and tool sheds as I am sure that can qualify along with garages.

    We had a shed we used for storage when our kids were small. It had a door knob high up where it wouldnt be so easy for the kids to reach AND it had a lock on it. Of all of the scary things, the shed for us was the most nerve racking space in our yard and scarier than the bathroom and kitchen combined.

    Vigilance and OCD in these areas are keys to keeping our babies safe.

    1. Post
      Author

      Anne (?),

      I agree that a shed would qualify as a garage in that many sheds likely have the sames things in them that garages have – minus the cars.

      I’m glad to hear you were proactive in keeping your shed safe for your kids. I’m guessing you were in control of your children rather than them controlling you. I generally think of the kitchen being the most hazardous place, but perhaps it would be more accurate to say the kitchen “has potential” for being the most hazardous place.

      You’re right – vigilance and OCD are so important. I’ve been accused of being too careful. OK, but I never had to take my kids to the emergency room.

      Thanks for taking time to share. Stay safe!

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