Automatic Garage-Door Openers Often Hazardous

By 1996, New York Times News Service | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), October 13, 1996 | Go to article overview

Automatic Garage-Door Openers Often Hazardous


1996, New York Times News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Despite government standards designed to improve their safety, most automatic garage-door openers for residences and apartment buildings pose a risk of serious brain injury or death to children, a study has found.

The danger comes when children walk beneath closing doors and become trapped by them. Though most of the openers made during the last 20 years are equipped with pressure sensors that are supposed to make the doors go up if they hit a child, the mechanisms often fail, the researchers found. T heir study appears in the current issue of Pediatrics.

The researchers said that the children most likely to be injured are those 2 to 8 years old. At least 85 children in the United States died or suffered permanent brain injury from 1974 to August 1995 from accidents involving automatic garage-door openers made before 1993, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The researchers tested 50 openers by putting three objects in the path of the doors - a block of wood, a mannequin the size of a 3-year-old and a large roll of paper towels. …

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