Tips to Childproofing Your Garage
Kids will find their way into anything and everything. Your garage is likely the last place you want to have your toddler or child running around, especially with the tools, chemicals, lawn equipment, oil-soaked rags, and plenty of other sharp objects lying around.
If you’re an experienced parent, you know that your kids will end up in the places you don’t want them to no matter how many times you warn them against it. The best step to take is a preventative one, and that’s childproofing the garage.
Your garage won’t be a complete kid-friendly zone no matter how much you kid-proof it, and if you’re like any other home-owning American, it’s where your tools and cars live. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to make it extremely difficult and tiring for a child to access these dangerous items, especially when they’re locked up and out of reach.
Childproofing Garage Access
The first step in childproofing your garage is stopping your children in their tracks by having a secure door, one with a lock that can’t be opened by a curious toddler. While this can be annoying for anyone lugging in groceries from the car to inside the home, it will stop your kids from hopefully getting out to the garage at all.
There’s also the idea of a self-locking Dutch door, where you can still load groceries and items into the house without worrying about the kids sneaking into the garage. Dutch doors are unique and add a nice farmhouse look to your home, plus with this functionality of childproofing, you can’t go wrong. The best part is you can even build one yourself.
On the other end of the spectrum, test the garage door itself. Make sure all of the safety functions are set into place so that if your child happens to get in the way of the door closing, the door will know to stop and reverse by detecting an obstruction beneath it. Garage door accidents happen so frequently because people fail to check the safety functions for their garage door.
Childproofing Garage Substances
Stowing away harmful and poisonous substances is an obvious step in childproofing your garage. Things like matches, mothballs, windshield wiper fluid, gasoline, charcoal lighter fluid, oils, and antifreeze should be kept high in a locked cabinet. Treat these items as you would with medication. It’s best if you place these products so the child cannot see or reach them.
Keep in mind that any spills in your garage should be cleaned up right away. You never know if a pet or child could get out in the garage and be exposed to a spilled chemical as it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The same rule applies if you happen to have your laundry units out in the garage. Recently, Tide Pods had their hay day on the news for young children thinking that the detergent pods looked like tasty candy. Definitely store and keep all laundry detergent products out of sight and reach, the same you would for all other harmful chemicals in your garage.
Childproofing Garage Building Barriers
If you have a hot water heater or furnace in your garage, you’ll want to establish a childproof barrier around the units. Reduce your water heater’s temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. An infant’s skin burns much easier than the skin of an adult, and in case they somehow get past the barrier, they won’t get burned.
If there are any stairs nearby, install a baby gate for good measure. Children can easily slip and fall down stairs, a common accident that has led to numerous hospital visits each year. However your home is set up, you should childproof all stairways to prevent this from occurring.
Lock Up Spaces and Power Tools
To childproof correctly, you’ve got to think like a kid! Do you have any spaces in your garage that a small child could crawl into? Refrigerators, freezers, recycling containers, cabinets, washers, and dryers—these are all excellent places to hide and play pretend. For a kid, it’s amazing! As an adult, you know that these places could mean extreme danger, so lock them up.
The same idea applies for anything that looks like a toy, and what are power tools if not grown-up toys? Lock up all of your power tools and any other tool that if in the hands of a child, could do serious harm. Make sure that these tools are out of sight, too.
A favorite way to store tools is hanging them on a board, but if a child spies these tools, they could feel encouraged to climb up and grab them. Out of sight, out of mind is your mantra for childproofing your garage.
Store Heavy Equipment
Bicycles, motorcycles, lawn equipment, weights, barbells, and all other heavy equipment should be kept in an area that is both safe and secure, preventing them from falling or collapsing on a child.
Consider de-cluttering your garage to avoid having areas of the space with heavy items that are towering and unstable. Don’t have sections of the garage where a small bump can bring an entire pile to collapse.
Watch Your Coolers
Something that is overlooked when it comes to childproofing is leftover water in a cooler from a long weekend camping, a concert, or a vacation. The water is left from melted ice cubes, the cooler is propped open, left to air-dry in the garage, and the scene is all extremely inviting and tempting for a curious toddler.
Children can drown in just one inch of water, so make sure you empty out that cooler completely after your trip and then store it safely so a child cannot access it to crawl inside. Buckets should also be stored upside down so water doesn’t accumulate inside, leading to the same problem.
Also, avoid keeping chemicals in containers like juice boxes or milk jugs, children associate these things with tasty drinks, don’t know any better, and could easily consume something harmful or toxic.
Store Small Parts
Small parts like nuts, bolts, and screws should be kept in sealed containers, and like your adopted mantra goes, out of sight and out of mind. Children will swallow anything they can get their hands on, and you don’t want to make a trip to the hospital because your workbench had these small parts lying around!
The bonus in this childproofing technique is that you’ll finally have the opportunity to organize and stash away the hundreds of parts you’ve undoubtedly accumulated over the years.
Childproofing Garage to Prevent Accidents
Childproofing is inexpensive and could save your children’s lives. Making sure your garage is childproofed doesn’t take long and really just requires you to channel your inner child to see what could potentially be dangerous.
Remember, you’ll need to continually follow these tips to keep your garage childproofed and safe. Avoid leaving tools and chemicals out, even if you’re returning to a project the next day. Stay vigilante in maintaining a childproofed garage because children are as fast as they are curious, and it’s much better to bet on the safe side.
Let Danley’s Build Your Garage
Chicagoland’s #1 garage builder is Danley’s and has been since 1959. Let Danley’s help you build out your garage from top to bottom a with a variety of style and options to choose from, we can build out your garage to your specific needs and preferences. Speak with a representative and click here to get a free quote.