When you think of place you should not leave kids alone, the garage is apt to spring to mine. That is generally a good course of action, and yet there are many steps you can take to make it a great, safe and useful place for kids to ride tricycles, play games, and more.
Naturally, the garage that is seemingly packed with harmful materials, or one that is full of tools or items that might cause harm or be harmed themselves, needs special attention. Below are some common-sense suggestions to make your garage a safer play space as well as a workshop, DIY project area, and place to park the cars. If you do it right, you can create a four-season space where kids can safely blow off steam and where you have no worries or concerns for their safety.
Let’s do a point by point review of the issues that can lead to harm and the solutions to them:
- Risks from sharp and/or heavy tools, dangerous chemicals and breakable items – This is easily overcome with the use of locking cabinets rather than open shelving. The cabinets also make the space more visually appealing, but do not put items on top of them if you want them to remain a safe solution.
- Risks from power tools and cords – A lot of garages contain a workbench replete with tools and gear. The best way to eliminate these risks is to keep those items unplugged and stored out of sight at all times; taking them out only when you are going to use them. Also consider cords a tripping and/or electrical hazard and wind them up and store them away, too.
- Risks from ladders and stepping stools – Kids have no fear of harm or serious injury. When presented with a ladder or stepstool, they are probably going to climb it. The best way to address this is to secure these items horizontally to the wall, ensuring they cannot move or fall if a child does try to hang from them. The same goes with anything that might dangle from the ceiling.
- The issue of cars – Have you ever slammed your adult finger in a car door? If so, you know the agony it causes. Kids left with unlocked cars can easily harm their hands and fingers by playing in the cars. Make a habit of locking any vehicles in the garage.
- The risks from garage doors – Kids may not have any fear of a garage door, and may never know the kinds of dangers they present. Ensure that your kids know that they must never use the button near the door to the house to operate the garage door. The typical control panel is installed at least five feet (1.5 m) in height, keeping it out of reach, but still emphasize that this is not to be touched. Also teach door safety by showing kids the right distances to remain from doors as they open and close.
Also, if your garage doors are double doors, they are probably fitted with reinforcement struts. As horizontal bars inside of the door, they can be tempting for kids, but you must emphasize that they must never try to climb or hang from the door.
Of course, parents know that even with lots of rules, kids push boundaries. This means you should never think of the garage as totally safe, and make a point of keeping an eye and ear on them when playing inside.
You may want to start your garage to play space conversion by getting the door checked. You can contact us to do so at 519-942-1956. We provide full tune‑up service options, and can email you a detailed quote. Should you be eager to get an entirely new door, visit our design center to try on a few designs or use our image gallery as a source of inspiration.