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CPSC Document #523
|Homeowners with automatic garage
door openers that do not automatically reverse should repair or replace
them with new openers which do reverse to prevent young children from
being trapped and killed under closing garage doors.
According to reports received by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 60 children between the ages of 2 and 14 have been trapped and killed under automatic garage doors since March 1982. This is approximately 4 such deaths per year. Other children have suffered brain damage or serious injuries when the closing door contacted them, and failed to stop and reverse its direction.
CPSC urges consumers to check the condition and operation of their garage door and the opener. A properly operating garage door will be "balanced." This means that the door will stay in place when stopped in any partially opened position. A severely unbalanced garage door could unexpectedly crash to the floor possibly striking someone under the open door.
To check the garage door, the garage door opener must be detached from the door while in the closed position. On most openers manufactured since 1982, a "quick-release" mechanism is provided which permits the opener to be detached from the door.
To avoid amputation or crushing injuries, homeowners should be careful when manually operating the door not to place hands or fingers between door sections or near pulleys, hinges, or springs. The door should not stick or bind when opened or closed. If doors are not "balanced," or if they bind or stick, they should be serviced by a professional.
Once the garage door is operating properly, homeowners should check to see that the garage door opener's force and limit settings are adjusted according to manufacturer's instructions. Check the garage door operator owners manual for any instructions on testing the safety features. One quick test is to place a 2x4 on the floor of the garage in the door's path. If the door does not properly reverse on striking the 2x4 then the garage door opener should be disengaged until the unit is either adjusted according to the instructions in the owners manual, repaired, or replaced with a new garage door opener. A professional garage door service should be contacted if the homeowner is not comfortable with performing these tests, repairs and adjustments.
All homeowners should disconnect all garage door openers that have not been certified as meeting the requirements of the voluntary ANSI/UL standard 325-1982.The standard calls for a number of safety features not found on earlier openers, and also subjects new openers to more stringent safety tests.