Release date: April 28, 1983
Release number: 83-023

Release Details

With the recent death of a nine year old boy in Summit, New Jersey, from a garage door accident, the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said today that some deaths attributed to automatic garage doors closing on people could have been prevented if parents had stopped children from playing with automatic garage door openers. There have been at least nine deaths in the last three years.

According to CPSC, children playing games with garage door openers have contributed to deaths and injuries. With the door in the raised position, youngsters activate the door by means of the wall-mounted switch or remote control switch, then race out of the garage to 'beat' the door before it closes. Accidents have occurred when the descending door strikes the child, often pinning the victim to the ground. Even garage doors having an automatic reverse feature have been involved in deaths.

CPSC said parents can prevent garage door accidents by locking the remote control switch in the glove compartment of the car, and by relocating the wall-mounted switch away from the reach of children. Youngsters should be prohibited from playing in the garage unless there is adult supervision at all times. In addition, the CPSC said the automatic reverse mechanism should be adjusted periodically for sensitivity in accordance with the owners manual.

Commission records indicate garage door deaths since 1980 have been reported in California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York.

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