Garages aren't just for cars; they are an extension of our homes. Most families use the garage for storage or projects that are too big or too messy for indoors. Unfortunately, the garage can be a magnet for junk, which also makes it a place where falls, poisonings and fires can happen. We encourage families to think of the garage as a room of the home and take the following steps to make it safer.
Store Poisons Safely
- Read the labels of products you buy and keep in your garage. If you see the words “Caution,” “Warning,” “Danger,” “Poison,” or “Keep Out of Reach of Children,” be very careful to store them out of reach of children and away from heat.
- Store poisons in a place where children cannot see or touch them. Use child safety locks to secure cabinets. Examples of products to keep locked up include: automotive fluids, anti-freeze, paint thinner, pesticides and turpentine.
- Keep products in the container they came in. Do not put them in a different bottle or jar for storage.
- Do not mix products together. The contents could mix with dangerous results.
- Pool chemicals are poisonous and can catch on fire. Follow the manufacturer’s directions when storing pool chemicals.
- Keep pool chemicals dry, tightly covered, in the container they came in and away from other chemical products.
- Gasoline is very dangerous inside a home or garage. Gasoline vapors can explode with only a tiny spark.
- It is best not to keep gasoline at home. If you must keep some, use a special container.
- If you can, keep the container in an outdoor shed and away from your home. Close all the openings.
- To prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, never run a barbecue grill, car or generator in the garage or any other room of your home.
- Avoid tip-overs, make sure garage shelves are not overloaded and anchor them to the wall.
- Always store heavier items close to the ground.
- Organize all items in designated, easy-to-reach places.
- Store ladders horizontally and off the floor to prevent tripping. Secure ladders with hooks and brackets that are secured to the wall.
- Place hooks and brackets out of children’s reach.
- Store shovels, rakes, lawn chairs, bikes and other sharp and large objects on the wall and out of high traffic areas.
- Organize and store sharp or electrical tools in a locked cabinet or up high where children cannot reach.
- Organize and store safety accessories close to the tools they should be used with.
- Secure any working refrigerators or freezers with child safety locks so children cannot get inside. If the units are unused, remove the doors for storage.
- Safely dispose of oil or gas-soaked rags after use.
- Clean any dust or trash in the garage to keep it from interfering with the electrical system.
- Organize and store sports gear, toys and recreational items together and off the garage floor to prevent tripping.
Prevent Injuries in the Garage
- To prevent falls, keep the garage floor, steps and entries clear of clutter.
- Install secure handrails on both sides of stairs and make sure that they extend the entire length of the stairs.
- Clean up grease and other spills when they happen.
- Watch young children closely when they are in the garage.
- Use bright lights at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Make sure your garage is well lit.
- When purchasing or remodeling a home with a garage, make sure the door has an auto-reverse feature.
- Place a paper towel roll under the garage door as it closes to test the safety device. The door should open quickly meaning it won’t trap people or pets.