Read these 12 Garage Safety Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Child Safety Products tips and hundreds of other topics.
The cleaner the garage, the safer it is. Create order in your garage by designating zones for items stored in the garage. A few examples of these zones might be functional areas like Lawn & Garden, Auto Care, and Household Supplies. Separate areas for the family can be created such as Sporting Goods, Kids Corner, and Pet Needs. This way, you will know where to find items...and where to put them back.
Here's a quick list to ensure you're practicing garage safety basics. Children should never be allowed to play in the garage without adult supervision. But since parents cannot be everywhere at once, there are quite a few things you can do to child-proof your garage. Use cabinet and drawer latches and electrical outlet covers. Don't leave lengths of rope lying around or hanging down from hooks. Store ladders in a horizontal position, so a child cannot climb them. Disconnect power tools when not in use. Properly dispose of any old newspapers, clothing, or soiled, oily rags that may catch fire. Even something as simple as locking the car doors makes your garage safer for kids.
Simple alarms can be installed on the door to the garage that will sound if the door is left open for more than a few seconds or when it is opened. A very inexpensive and effective control of this door, particularly if you have older children or you are subject to leaving doors open (like after bringing in a day's shopping with both arms full). If your in-home alarm system can be programmed to alert you (and not the entire neighborhood) to the opening of this door, so much the better. Unfortunately, over time and a thousand beeps later, most of us will not even here that little beep anymore. This is particularly true if you have a lot of traffic like older kids or help coming and going. If this is the case for you, consider an alarm that only sounds if 7 seconds has elapsed and an adult-height button has not been pressed. You can find one at www.childsafetystore.com. Do a search for "door alarm" in the search box there.
It's a classic sight: kids playing basketball or riding bikes in the drive in front of the house. But in the middle of play kids don't always remember that the driveway leads to the road. A rolling ball or a spin down hill on the bike can spell disaster. An easy and inexpensive remedy to this problem is installing a safety net. These nets expand to cover drives as wide as 25 feet across, and fit securely into below-ground sleeves so they won't interfere with lawn-mowing. Safety nets are easy to remove, store and use again -- particularly helpful when the weather changes or just when the day's play is over!
Inspect your garage and determine what you really want or need to save. Dispose of old paints. They are probably past recommended shelf life anyway. The four different kinds of ant killer you tried last year?
Make it a point to buy just what you will need for the present project at hand. The savings for quantity is usually not worth buying a special lock cabinet to store it in safely. For those items you must keep, do invest in some type of locking storage cabinet or put these products on a high secure shelf that your youngster cannot climb up to.
Be careful yourself while working in your workshop. The safety standards a father sets when working with dangerous tools or materials will also be imitated when you reach the point of training your child on "how to" projects. Besides, how many people count on you now to stay in one piece?
Disable electrical outlets that are not needed. Turn them off at the circuit breaker if possible and practical.
Many toxic chemicals are found in the average home garage. In order to protect your children, consider taking preventative measures to avoid catastrophe. Something as simple as installing a fire detector is a step toward proper garage safety. Carbon monoxide detectors are also a good investment, as that gas is quite common in a car garage. Depending on the size of your garage, you should have at least one fire extinguisher as well. A good rule of thumb is to have one fire extinguisher per car in your garage. And don't forget to get them routinely checked!
These areas are difficult to make safe even for older children and should be kept strictly off limits to the toddler. With the tendency towards imitation at this age, a garage or workshop can be dangerous to your toddler when combined with his natural curiosity.
Garages typically contain lawn/insect poisons (meant to kill), a variety of sharp hand tools, power tools, etc.
There is paint left over from your last project with the lid half on maybe, gasoline for your lawn equipment, 220 volt electrical outlets, power tools, paint remover; in other words, usually just about anything you would not want stored inside your home.
The easiest way to avoid disaster is prevention. When children are playing in the yard, driveway, or anywhere near the street, passing motorists need to be made aware. Warn motorists that children are playing nearby with a curbside safety sign. These signs are usually bright orange or yellow, so that they are easy to spot from far away. The signs are printed on both sides for added safety. Many are also portable and lightweight with cut-out handles for easy carrying.
Just a few simple steps can keep your driveway a safe place. Children really should not play in the drive, but if you allow them to, block it off to prevent cars from pulling in. When backing out of driveway, know where every child is, and count them just to be sure. If you drive a large vehicle, install extended mirrors so that you will be better able to see what is behind the vehicle. Never leave the car running or the keys in the ignition, even if the car is not running. Driveway safety is easy if you take a little extra time to cover your bases.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|