This Safety Hazard In Your Home Can Lead To Tragedy In An Instant

Parents are often aware of the safety hazards that come with summertime.

From water safety to illnesses caused by heat and sun, we must remain vigilant at all times to protect our children.

Although there is a great deal of preventative information for parents on preventing summertime injuries, there is one that is less discussed, but potentially lethal for our little ones.

In the warm weather months, we are often out playing in the yard, dragging outdoor toys and lawn equipment out of storage, or cleaning out the garage.

But few parents know just how dangerous the garage door can be for our children.  We may be distracted with yard work or outdoor chores while our kids follow us in and out, and serious injury can occur in an instant.

It is estimated that garage doors cause over 12,000 injuries to children annually.  And some of these are fatal.

Thousands of these injuries involve children breaking their fingers by getting them caught in the roller mechanism, and thousands more have been due to kids getting crushed under the door itself, either by trying to run under a closing door because they think it’s fun, or by a parent unknowingly closing the door thinking a small child is out of the way.

In fact, one mother is making it her mission to bring awareness to the dangers and also advocate for safer garage door mechanisms after her toddler was crushed to death while visiting a fire station in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Café Mom reported:

Another firefighter on duty, David Bruns, heard a “blood-curdling scream,” from [mom] Courtney who pointed to her son’s trapped body.   Captain M.D. Clark told police…that “the door timed out and closed and then, it closed on the little guy.”

Bruns ran to the door and tried to pry it open before it stopped on Joey, he explained to police, while Captain Clark ran to the button to release the door. Clark…rushed the 16-month-old into the firehouse kitchen and started performing CPR.  However, it was too late. Joey died of injuries to his skull and brain.

This situation occurs more frequently than parents are aware, and even though the family was at a fire station with trained EMS personnel, the injuries were severe and happened all-too-quickly for the child to be saved.

The parents are hoping that in telling their story, they will help prevent this tragedy from happening to other families.

So what can parents do to keep their little ones safe?  While most injuries occur in the warmer months, garage door injuries can happen at any time of year.

First, and most obviously, parents must remain vigilant about their child’s whereabouts at all times.  When everyone is busy outside and going back and forth into the house, it is easy to become distracted.

While all modern garage doors have safety sensors that cause the door to go back up when something is underneath, many older homes still have doors manufactured prior to the implementation of safety regulations — in January of 1993 — or have manual doors that do not automatically open.

Teach your child about the dangers of garage doors as early as possible.  Even the very youngest children can be told “Danger, don’t touch” when you point to the door.

Keep garage door openers away from children and don’t let them know where you keep them.  They love to push the buttons and watch the cause and effect of the door going up or down, but if they get a hold of the opener while playing outdoors with other children, the potential for a serious injury is not far away.

And kids should know to never, ever hang from the bottom of the garage door.  This form of “play” causes nearly a hundred serious injuries to children annually.

Make sure that your garage door is in good shape by testing its functionality and making repairs as needed.  If something seems off, have a trained professional run a safety check on the mechanism.

Like anything we teach our kids, modeling the proper behavior is key.  Never duck under a closing door to grab a last-minute item, and don’t put hands or fingers near the mechanism for any reason.

And kids should learn to obey the rules they are taught at home when at a friend’s or family member’s house – or in a public place like a fire station or car repair shop.

Automatic doors of any kind can cause serious injuries.  Many children a year break fingers or arms by playing around the automatic doors found at the entrances of most retailers and the same safety rules should apply to these types of doors as well.

While these doors are also on sensors, a small child may not be large enough for the sensors to pick up or may not open quickly enough when small fingers are caught when they close.

For the parents of 16-month-old Joey, they hope that these injuries and fatalities continue to decline with parental vigilance and children learning the dangers at a young age.

The parents are currently suing the City of Scottsdale in a wrongful death lawsuit on the part of their son in saying the fire station garage door was not properly maintained and in need of repair.

Little Joey’s death was a tragic accident, but it was preventable — and you can avoid a trip to the ER, or worse, by following some simple safety precautions in your home.

What do you think of the tragic death of this young toddler?  Do you know anyone whose child has been injured by a garage door?   Do you follow these safety tips in your home?  Leave us your thoughts.

Comments are closed.