Parents of small children are a childproofing swat team. They lock kitchen cabinets and drawers, barricade off stairways with gates, and store medicines and household cleaners in cabinets so high up that nobody can get at them.

But how often does this diligence carry into the garage? With almost every square inch occupied by poisons and perilous items, the garage is very likely the most hazardous part of your home. In keeping with our support of November as Child Safety and Protection Month, here’s a roundup of potential dangers and storage tips to childproof your garage.

Hazardous Chemicals

Gasoline, motor oil, windshield wiper fluid, plant fertilizers, cleaning solutions, pest-control chemicals—these are typically stored in the garage since this is the most sensible place. Ensure that these are tightly sealed, and locked up or stored up high. Flammable and combustible items such as lighter fluid, lamp fuel, and paint thinner should be ideally locked in a metal cabinet.

Also, never store chemicals in containers that kids associate with foods or beverages, such as plastic milk jugs. Aside from potential poisoning, the chemicals could eat through the containers and leak.

NOTE: Be especially aware of antifreeze—this is a poison that can smell and taste sweet. Lock it out of reach, and promptly hose down any antifreeze spills with water—small children and pets have been known to lick it off garage floors.

Hand Tools and Power Tools

Tools should be tucked away in tool boxes or behind closed doors. This includes vices, clamps, and nuts and bolts—the former can cause pinching and kids can choke on small pieces. It goes without saying that anything with a sharp or pointed edge should be stored out of reach.

TIP: Kneel down for a child’s-eye-view of your garage. When you see if from their perspective, all kinds of potential hazards come out of the woodwork that you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.

Lawn and Garden Tools

It’s tempting to lean rakes, hoes, spades, shovels, and ice choppers against a wall of the garage. But this is practically an invitation for kids to help themselves, which can lead to injury.

Hang these securely on a wall rack at a height kids can’t easily reach. But remember, if kids can see them, they may still try to get at them. Storing in a cabinet out of sight is a less convenient, but safer, approach. And those hedge shears? Lock those up regardless.

Appliances, Buckets, and Containers

Anything that a child can crawl into and hide is a hazard. Refrigerators, freezers, and cabinets should be locked, or use the childproof latch if they come with one. Coolers should be emptied of melted water because it only takes an inch for a child to drown. Likewise overturn buckets so they can’t accumulate water, and store them up high so kids can’t climb in.

NOTE: Cabinets, especially tall ones, should be fastened to the wall. A top-heavy cabinet could tip and fall onto a small child. Also, children are natural climbers—and the counters and cabinets in your garage could prove to be more excitement than they bargained for.

Cars, Bikes, and Motorbikes

If you have bicycles stored overhead with hooks or a pulley system (in case of high ceilings), make sure these are well attached to structural beams or ceiling joists for a secure mount.

Motorcycles should be parked with the emergency break on, and the kickstand secure, so it can’t topple onto a child. Test the stability by giving it a jostle to make sure it stays put.

Your car should be locked, including the trunk, so kids can’t get themselves trapped inside. And keep all vehicle keys out of reach—an engine is easy to start, and even if they do nothing else, carbon monoxide poisoning is often fatal.

Your Garage Door

In some situations, your garage door could cause injury if you’re not paying attention. Consider a garage door built with protective parts such as models with pinch-resistant panels. Make sure the door is properly balanced and ensure that the photo eye sensors and auto-reverse function are working perfectly—no exceptions. Anything less poses a real safety risk.

TIP: Our Planned Maintenance service will ensure that your garage door is operating smoothly and functioning properly.

To schedule Planned Maintenance or to get a free quote on an upgrade, contact us at one of our eight locations in Western Canada: Vancouver, Kelowna, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg.