Kids take garage doors for granted and usually don't appreciate their potential danger. One reason is that most garage doors and openers are safe, seldom experiencing any problems. But accidents can occur, and it's up to parents to educate their children about garage doors, making clear that remote controls are not toys. Remember, garage door are heavy and openers are powerful, meaning that they have the potential to injure people and pets. They are most certainly not amusement park rides!
Since 1993, new garage door systems have been subject to more stringent safety standards. This has important implications if you own a home built before 1993 and haven't replaced the original garage doors or openers. The door and opener might be OK, but that's not something you can assume. At the very least, you need to have a garage door professional inspect the doors, openers and remotes. If the inspector has any doubts about the equipment, you would do well to consider replacement or reconditioning. It might be that the doors are in good shape but that the opener is showing its age. It's also possible that the door opener lacks basic safety equipment, such as electric eyes and obstacle detectors. If your opener was built before the photo-eyes were required, it is a very old unit! Seriously consider replacement, repairs on these older units are actually forbidden by law in some states!
If you are not the original homeowner and don't know the age of your garage door equipment, check to see whether it has an electric eye. If it lacks this basic safety feature, chances are you have a pre-1993 setup. Not sure what an electric eye is? It’s a two-piece gizmo that sits on either side of the garage door opening, at the bottom. Light travels from one side to the other, where it is detected. Anything that interferes with the light beam causes a closing garage door to immediately stop and reverse. In fact, the door won't even start closing if the beam is interrupted. Clearly, this is an important safety feature. If a little child falls down in the door's path, the electric eye will protect against injury. Imagine the implications if your opener doesn't have an electric eye!
For some reason, certain people that do have electric eye systems don't care for the way they look or feel or that they cause clutter. They may try to position the system so it is less visible, but in the process may completely disable the system, making it useless. Actually, this makes them worse than useless, because you have a false sense of security when in fact the system is not protecting you, your children and your grandchildren. If you have your door inspected, the problem will be quickly detected and remedied by properly remounting the electric eye system.
Inherent Sensing System
Most garage doors, even those built long ago, have some sort of force sensor built in. When properly adjusted and maintained they ‘USUALLY’ work. However there is no way with most of the older units to know if the safety is working until it isn’t! Then it is too late. The newer units built since 1993 are required to monitor their many safety devices. If the devices fail for any reason, the door opener will default to requiring you to actually hold your finger on the close button in your garage in order to close the door. If you take your finger off before the door is fully closed the opener will immediately stop closing and run the door back to full open.
Considering the harm that a closing garage door can inflict upon a child, isn't it worth the minimal time and cost to ensure the door has correctly operating safety features installed?