child proofing a shop

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 07-02-2009 10:21 PM 2099 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 4640 days

07-02-2009 10:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: safety

I’ve got a garage shop that also houses a car. Because of this, I don’t think it is feasible to just lock the whole shop to prevent a child from getting in and hurting themselves. While I’d like to think they would always be with a parent while in there, I think the reality is that as my kids get older, they will have access to the garage unsupervised.

I’m just wondering what everyone else in this situations does. I already understand the concept of teaching kids about what they can and can’t touch and all that, but it is not a replacement for a backup safety plan. I’m pretty sure at some point a child may be tempted to show off for a friend or see what a button does when they push it.

Some examples are listed below:
-I’ve noticed that most of my bench tools have removable plastic keys. Does anyone actually use these?
-What about hand tools? Do these get locked in cabinets?
-What about portable power tools? Do you turn off a breaker to keep those inoperable?
-Solvents can be pretty powerful in a small space too, so a locked cabinet?

These are just some things I’m thinking about in advance of my first child being able to crawl/walk. I figure it will give me enough time to take any necessary saftey precautions. Maybe it will help some other people with ideas they hadn’t come up with on their own.

11 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4609 days

#1 posted 07-02-2009 11:30 PM

Divide you garage and lock your shop

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 4370 days

#2 posted 07-03-2009 12:01 AM

I am in a similar situation with my garage/workshop. I lock it, plain and simple. Beyond that, I unplug all tools when they aren’t in use, and I store all of my sharp stuff high where they cannot reach it if they were to get in. As far as the little plastic keys go, I would be to afraid of losing them to take mine out. Pulling the plugs, throwing the breakers etc… those are the best way to prevent accidents.

-- San Diego, CA

View Ted79's profile


4 posts in 4160 days

#3 posted 07-04-2009 02:52 PM

Hello! Before your child is crawling, walking and becoming a lot more mobile, it would be a good time to child proof your house. Get down on all fours and search the house for potential hazards to your child.

Remember that in addition to childproofing your own home, make sure that your child safe at daycare or when visiting friends and family. Do grandparents have medicines out of reach? Does your neighbor have a gun in the house?

scrap metal steel

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4851 days

#4 posted 07-04-2009 05:48 PM

I tried child-proofing my house, but they still got back in … ba-dum-dum. Yeah, it’s an old joke.

As long as you’ve got a little time before the little folks can wander, I might look at isolating all my power tools on a separate circuit that could be turned off and locked. And, of course, all hand tools in locked cabinets.

And I’ll tell you from experience, that no matter how much the youngsters know about what they are NOT to touch, showing off for their friends is and almost irresistable temptation. It’s wise to be thinking ahead.

-- Working at Woodworking

View bowyer's profile


340 posts in 4307 days

#5 posted 07-04-2009 06:42 PM

Russel is right about temptation and kids. A separate breaker for all my shop tools and locking or puting items high up is how I kept the kids “Honest” most of the time. One item I didn’t think about untill I had to clean up spilled stain was step stools/ ladders, made short people tall. Just glad the went for the stain and not the sharp tools

-- If at first you don't succeed...Don't try skydiving

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4832 days

#6 posted 07-04-2009 08:30 PM

When mine were very young and as they got older I would often take them into the shop and show them just how dangerous my tools are. I do lock it now but I also know my kids respect the tools for the damage they can do. It helps to have girls too that are a little scared of my saw!

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4624 days

#7 posted 07-04-2009 10:46 PM

I remember growing up being in the shop with my Dad a lot. I learned about tools and about what they could do. I don’t ever remember ‘getting into’ the tools because they were not something I was curious about because I got to use them with Dad. I try to use the same philosophy with my kids, they (at age appropriate levels) get to use different tools. They are 4 and 6 now and have been using a block plane and hammers of course. So I think they (as I did when I was wee) see the tools as something to use WITH Daddy and not something to be played with. We just bought Paul (4) a hammer so he could help us with rennos. Now the whole family pitches in to do whatever job is needed. Its sometimes takes more time then doing it ourselves but we hope we are teaching the kids that they can use tools and use them safely, and hopefully, effectively.

Of course I unplug everything and flip breakers also…they are kids after all :-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


784 posts in 4185 days

#8 posted 07-05-2009 02:06 AM

I agree with Mark. The best thing I did to childproof my shop was to have my young sons out there with me!

Granted, I unplugged the tools at the end of each session – or more correctly, my sons did the chore for. And they were quick to remind me if I forgot!

They weren’t allowed to use the power tools, but could use the hand tools. I built them their own scaled-down benches. I bought them their own (REAL) tools over time. I built them their own tool boxes. And most importantly, I taught them to take care of their tools.

Today, my “little boys” are 23 and 24. One is an engineer and the other teaches high school. But both of them know their way around wood, and plumbing, and electricity, and concrete, and all the other disciplines they followed the old man around!

So rather than prohibit their entry, encourage it. Just remember the education piece! It always took me twice as long to get anything done when they “helped” – but I wouldn’t change a thing!

Now, I’ll get off my soapbox.

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 4233 days

#9 posted 07-05-2009 04:20 AM

Wow! Good responses! I learned a bunch just reading the answers. Bowyer, I have a separate circuit as well but never thought of it as a child proofing tool. Great idea!

I do use the plastic key proofers but I drill a hole in it and run a cord through it so it doesn’t go bye-bye. I know that’s kind of a halfway measure but better than nothing I hope.

I also educate my kids on exactly what the tools can do and demonstrate to them how the tools work. I emphasize that flesh is nothing compared to the density of oak or maple. So far, so good.

As a cop I have the same issues with firearms in the house. However, they are ALWAYS under lock and key when they are in the house. I wish I could secure the tools in that manner but the shop is also a garage so the family accesses it all the time.

Ultimately, you have to take all of the reasonable measures you can and try your best to raise your kids with a respect for the tools in the shop. Thanks for all the tips folks!

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4640 days

#10 posted 07-10-2009 09:06 PM

thanks for all teh responses. mostly in line with what i expected, but some new things to consider too.

View knotscott's profile


8391 posts in 4287 days

#11 posted 07-10-2009 10:02 PM

My youngest is 10 now, but there are still younger neighborhood kids around. The rules are that no kids get over near the shop, but because it’s just the other side of the garage where bikes and outdoor toys are stored, I still needed as many failsafes as possible, and still follow them out of habit.

Keep sharps out of reach and out of sight…possibly under lock and key. Same for chemicals. Defeat the power to any power outlets if possible, plus unplug the tools, lower the blades, remove cutters, etc., or all of the above to foil ambitious little investigators.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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