The forces created by a door's closing action can be imagined as a horizontal crow bar. Suppose you have a boulder that you want to roll down a hill and you can't get behind it because it's up against another rock but there is plenty of room to insert a steel crow bar. Would you do the job with a 20 cm crow bar or a 100 cm crow bar? The leverage you gain from the longer crow bar is the same as the leverage gained by a door on the hinge side. The larger the door, the greater the crushing force between the jam and the door.
We meet a lot of people in our business. We see a lot of doors. There are those standard doors that are "used in all the houses" and then there are those super special door that are custom designed or "architectural". Believe it or not, the "standard" doors are the most interesting.
We stopped by a door store. Yes, a door store. They sell doors. Therefore, they are door stores. Their technical names vary from language to language and country to country so we will stick with "door store". They have a 760 mm door on the executive office. The conversation went something like this.
"Wow, this is a quite unusual door. It's only 760mm wide." We said.
"Nope, pretty standard all of Latitude Homes' doors are 760 mm." (as an aside, we are stopping by Latitude for an install on Wednesday. Good to know about their standard door size!)
"Wow really. I haven't installed a 760mm door since the early '90's."
Two days later, we stopped at the private residence of a local home builder.
"Wow, you have a 760mm door too. I guess they are quite common." We said.
"No, no one uses them any more. This door is 12 years old. All doors pretty much cost the same so it's easier to install a larger, more standard door for all applications rather than having to match the door to the opening on the job site."
Well there's an industry standard for you. (Sarcasm in case you didn't pick up on it)
What size is your door?
Having a great Sunday,
For those of you who are building, we have a list of builders that we are working with currently, they include:
Quality Stairs and Doors
If your builder is not on this list, ask them to contact us or send us their information and we can contact them. It's simpler to install your SoftSlams while the builders are still on site. If it can't be done, an installation only takes about 15 minutes.
Johnny came home from school Friday bubbling over with excitement about something. I don't know what. It's his first year in school and almost everything that happens is new and exciting. He bounced in the back door while I was making dinner. His father was probably moving at a more sane pace behind him somewhere.
Before even saying "Hi, Mom'. He started with "Guess what Todd did at school today?"
I was chopping tomatoes and was a little hesitant to take my eyes off my cutting in fear that I would cut my finger. "What?" I answered wishing I could see his bright and cheery face.
I turned slightly in mid chop. "He..." WHAM! The door slammed. I jerked, Johnny turned his head to look at the offending door. "Damn!" I exclaimed, half at the door, half at my bleeding index finger. I suppressed an explicative to spare Johnny the language.
Two seconds later my husband walked in the house and saw my bleeding finger. He packed me off to lounge and went in search of the first aid kit. After he got me fixed up, he offered to finish preparing dinner. Only after we ate did I remember that Johnny was about to tell me something really exciting. I'll never know what. He was big eyed with fear that he'd caused me to cut my finger and didn't want to talk.
I wish we had a SoftSlam BEFORE, instead of after.
As we start to get our SoftSlam USA website up and running with content to inform our potential customers, I started researching statistics for the USA. They were even more shocking than the statistics for New Zealand. Here is an exerpt:
It has been reported that according to the National Safety Council—Injury Facts 2011 Edition; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, that approximately 380,800 door related injuries occur in the United States every year. Door related injuries occur at a rate of 31,000 month, 1,000 every day, 42 every hour and 1 every 1.4 minutes. According to one study; Clinical Pediatric Study: “Children Treated in the United States Emergency Departments for Door-related Injuries, 1999-2008”, approximately eighty percent of door-related injuries occur to children in the home and approximately forty two percent of these children were under the age of four. Thousands of children every year are sent to the hospital with fractures, crushed and pulverized tissue or broken bones because portions of fingers and hands were caught in slamming doors.
These statistics are in spite of the recommendations in the US that all hinged doors at day cares to be protected so that the children cannot get their fingers caught in the doors:
Standard 5.017 - Finger- Pinch Protection Devices - Finger-pinch protection devices shall be installed wherever doors are accessible to children..."
10.1.17" It is essential that children's fingers be protected from being crushed or otherwise injured in the hinge space of a swing door or gate. There are simple devices available to attach to the hinge side, ensuring that this type of injury does not occur.
Does this include schools? Homes? Playgrounds? YMCA and activity centers? Libraries? Accidents are most likely to happen in the home. Protection in the home starts with the parent. Protection at the community level begins with the parents. Parents, let's start looking after our kids!
It's time we started thinking about doors as dangerous and implementing safeties rather than ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.
Always putting safety first,
We lived on a gentle lifestyle block with no large animals, no dangerous dogs, and sturdy, safe fences. It was the perfect, safe setting for my oldest, and at the time, only daughter to enjoy her early years. She was the love of my life, the reason for everything I did. On this particular day, we’d come home with the groceries. I let her play in the warming spring sun while I unloaded the groceries. The breeze danced through the house and the front door slammed closed. Irritated but not too bothered, I headed over to open it back up. That’s when I heard it.
A bone chilling scream on the other side of the door. Two quick strides and I was there. Face crumpled, tears streaming down, the apple of my eye stood there, apparently unhurt but very upset. I swept her into my arms and only then did I notice her hand. Four fingers white and flattened. A red line on either side where the door frame ended abruptly. Her hand was crushed. My heart was crushed. Without a further thought, we were on our way to the emergency room.
What I didn’t know it at the time, this scene is all too common. In 2016 more than, 14,000 people were injured by doors, over 9,000 were injured by doors in their home. ACC paid out more than $6 million for these new claims while handling over $13.8 million in ongoing claims for an additional 40,000 injuries. (1)
How many parents know that doors are dangerous? I didn’t. Fortunately, my lack of awareness didn’t cause my daughter any permanent damage. She was unable to use her hand for a week, but eventually things returned to normal for her. Other children are not so lucky.
Finger injuries from doors can range from a slight pinch, to a crushed finger, to complete amputation of the digits, either at the place of the accident or by the surgeon. Old fashioned wooden framed doors are heavy and close with significant force. A report from West Bend states that the closing force on the hinged side of a door is upwards of 40 tons per square inch – an immense crushing force (2). Aluminium framed doors tend to be slightly lighter weight but have sharper edges resulting in less crushing but more amputations. I met two families, over one weekend, who saved their toddlers’ fingers by putting them in a plastic bag with ice before leaving for the emergency room. Today’s doors are getting lighter in construction but wider to accommodate wheel chairs which results in more serious injuries due to the crow bar like action of the wider door.
The first step to preventing injury is to become aware of the danger. Educating parents and children of this significant hazard in their house will go a long way in preventing injuries. The second step is to implement a culture of safety utilizing products that mitigate risk in dangerous situations. Help us bring greater awareness to the dangers of doors, share your story on facebook at the “Safe Doors for Kids and Adults” open group. Share this article. Talk to your school and day care staff so they understand the dangers. Talk to your kids, if they are old enough to understand. And keep yourself safe. Even though most hand in door injuries affect children, adults are still at risk.
Unfortunately, by definition, accidents are unplanned events that happen with or without awareness of the dangers involved. Safety devised can assist in mitigating risks when awareness is not enough. Research available safety products. GET THESE SAFEY PRODUCTS IN PLACE! Most of these injuries are preventable. With proper safety guards, a serious accident is reduced to a minor first aid situation.
I can't say it enough. We need to be aware of the hazards and dangers around us. I know, I know! We have had safety drilled into us since we were young adults. We rode our bikes without helmets and we survived. We roller skated without knee pads and we survived. We rode in cars without seat belts and we survived. We played with matches and we survived. I can't even tell you all the risks that I took. And I survived.
We were lucky. Do you really want me to counter that argument with all the kids that didn't survive? Do you want to relive Adrian's funeral in high school because he didn't survive? Do you want to go with me to visit Tony who had severe irreversible brain damage? Yes, he survived but I think his parents were hoping for something more for him in the broad scope.
The reality is that most of us do survive the crazy adrenalin ridden years of adolescence. But we don't all. And would you rather lose your finger on base jumping expedition with 20 of your equally crazy friends or never get to the base jumping expedition because you lost your fingers years ago and have struggled to keep up ever since? Injuries are not only skin deep. For many, the loss of normal functions will also leave emotional scars. When the kids on the play ground make fun of you because you can't catch a baseball or even wear a baseball mitt, you will either boldly make the rest of the class feel lesser than you because you are special or you will withdraw from your peers just a bit. The former is a lot less likely than the latter.
If we become more aware of the little hazards that cross our path every day and take steps to mitigate them, we will have more of our faculties at our disposal when the big things come our way. I crushed my finger in a rather spectacular dismount from a notoriously crazy horse. I wish I hadn't but at least I have a story that sounds a lot better than, "I crushed my finger hanging out at the back door asking Nick if he wanted eggs or cereal for breakfast."
Take care of your digits,
Your stories are always the best. The shows bring us together like nothing else in life ever will. You live in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton.... I live in Foxton. You are going to finance school, work as a nurse, retired 20 years ago, a marketing supervisor.... I'm promoting SoftSlam. We have nothing in common that would have brought us together to share our stories if we hadn't both been at the same show on the same day talking about the same thing.
Your stories are the best. They can also be the most heart breaking. Or the funniest. Or shocking. Or inspiring.
Your beautiful house with your custom lead light window down in Wellington. The wind caught it years ago and busted the custom glass. $1500 later, it was worth it. You loved that window. Now, retired, living on the benefit, enjoying the memories of the children and grandchildren who loved that window, walked through that door, played in that hallway, the wind does it again. This time, you are forced to give up that beautiful door with the custom made glass because the money just isn't there for a second repair. I wish we had met before it happened the second time. Memories are worth the cost of a SoftSlam.
You will never forget the day that your 1 1/2 year old daughter was too close to the door when the wind blew it closed. She screamed. She cried. You held it together. You picked her up and the finger too. Put it on ice and got her to emergency. They were able to reattach the finger but she has no feeling in it now. It looks pretty okay so that's something. I wish we had met before it happened. We could have spared you both that memory.
You learned the hard way. Don't rest your hand near the hinge side of the door. It was just the tip of the finger. You made it 65 years without. You can only imagine what life would have been like if your fingers were like everyone else's for all these years. But now, you are thinking of your grandkids. For the cost of a SoftSlam, you have chosen to protect them. It may seem like a small thing but they know how much you care and that is a big thing.
Thank you for your stories.
Silence is golden. Unless you are watching an action film. Then it's a little spooky because soon, there will be a BOOM to make you jump out of your seat. That may be fun for two hours during the show but it's not how I want to spend my dinner time after a long day's work. It's exactly what I get when I come home to a hot stuffy house, open the doors and windows to air it out and BOOM! the door slams as the gentle, cooling breeze wafts, softly through.
Or, at least, that's how it used to be. Now, with SoftSlam installed in my offending door, I don't have to worry. I don't have to stress. I can focus on dinner, a book, a relaxing bath and not have to stay on edge waiting for the unavoidable slam and wonder if anyone got their tail caught.
When was the last time you saw an advertisement for a relaxing massage, facial, pedicure, and manicure package with the crashing bang of slamming doors in the background? Half of the luxury of that package is the sound of silence. You can have that luxury in your own home for a fraction of the cost of the spa treatment. What's better, when you get home, the effects of the treatment won't be ended abruptly by the sound of a slamming door.
It's been 20 years since the last trend in luxury homes swept the world - the soft close cabinetry. Now, we can make the full size doors just as luxurious.
Listening to the birdsong,
If you are one of the hundreds of people that stopped by our stand at the show today in Levin, we thank you. It was great meeting each and every one of you and hearing your door slamming stories. Though some of your stories were almost too heart breaking to bear.
Our day was action packed. I have to admit to leaving Nick alone to tend the booth for hours while I enjoyed the show. I watched the magician, the show jumping, the Santa Gertrudis judging, the women's' sawing, the men's' chopping, the Axeman show, visited the Greyhound pets, SPCA barn, and the alpacas. Nick took 30 minutes to wolf down some lunch. Sounds fair.
We will be back tomorrow if you missed us today. There is nothing like a live demonstration of door slamming without protection and then a similar slam being suppressed by the use of a SoftSlam to make you a believer. There are still sceptics. The numbers can be improved but it will take all of us working together.
Time to sleep. See you tomorrow,
Another first for SoftSlam, well, two firsts, really.
We will be at the Horowhenua A&P Show this Saturday and Sunday in Levin. We have done shows before but never an A&P show. The foot traffic is heavy and the clientele is diverse. The people that we see at home shows are usually looking for something specific for their homes. The people we expect to see this weekend will be out with the family having a good time and they will come across some interesting products while they are at it.
The second "first" is that we will have product available for sale at the show. We've never done that before. Our shows have been for education and demonstration purposes only. This time, we will have a demonstration, a fistful of facts regarding injuries and product for you to buy before you leave. As always, we are happy to assist with installation if you require.
Time to get ready for the big day.
See you there,