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36 Children Fatalities: Parents Hold The Key To Garage Door Deaths

Release Date: April 19, 1989

Citing the deaths of 36 children trapped under automatic garage doors since 1982, government safety experts are warning parents to take steps to prevent children from operating the garage doors.

According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission the children who died were between the ages of 2 and 14, and some of them were believed to have been playing "the garage door game" when the accident occurred. In the game, children activate the control for the raised garage door, then dart under as it closes. The children died when they were pinned under the doors.

CPSC urged parents to keep remote control door opening devices secured in the car's glove compartment at all times. Wall-mounted push-button controls should be relocated so they are inaccessible to children. Prohibiting youngsters from playing in the garage is also recommended.

Homeowners, particularly parents and grandparents, should replace any garage door opener that does not have an automatic reverse function. Homeowners should install an opener equipped with an automatic reversing feature that had been certified as meeting the 1982 industry standard (Underwriters Laboratories 325 standard for door, drapery, gate, louver, and window operators and systems).

Homeowners having a garage door opener should test the automatic reverse feature every 30 days according to instructions in the owner's manual. A two-inch wooden block can be placed on the floor in the path of the descending door; if the door doesn't reverse on striking the block, the opener should be repaired or replaced with one certified as meeting the 1982 standard.

CPSC said garage door fatalities involving children have been reported in 21 states over the last seven years.

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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