It doesn't matter where you are in life, your home is your sanctuary from all that is right, or wrong, with the world. When you enter your home, you should feel safe. Content. Happy. Free.
The peace of mind that you get within the confines of your home is due to the things which you have surrounded yourself. You bought that luxurious sofa because you know that your comfort is worth it. You bought that stereo and the music that you play on it to soothe you and make you happy. You watch the shows that you chose because they entertain you. You are even in control of temperature.
Why wouldn't you want to be in control of the safety of your home? Would you be happy with a stove that turned itself on and caught anything in the kitchen on fire? Would you be happy with a hot water heater that boiled all the water then burned itself up? What about a ladder that had one leg longer than the other so it was always tipping over?
We have accepted that doors are dangerous and learned to live with it when we wouldn't allow any of our other home furnishings to pose a deep risk to us. Why do we accept that doors will be dangerous and then hope for the best?
In many cases, we pretend that doors aren't dangerous. We go through life believing that we are safe until one day, we are not safe. Then we believe that our accident is a one off, pure chance, highly unlikely event. Trust me, it is not. Doors have injured more than 10% of us. Some of us very seriously. The force of a slamming door is up to 40 tons per square inch. This is enough force to cause lifelong damage.
Child proof, pet proof, people proof your home. Make your sanctuary the quiet, safe haven that you deserve after a long day's work.
Enjoying the silence,
Doors are the single most dangerous item in your house based on number of injuries. Yes, other items can produce more serious injuries and we don't discount those dangers. But, doors are forever there. We have customers tell us that they take the doors off the hinges and reduced the danger. I have never seen anyone take their front entry door off its hinges for safety! That's not really an option for all doors. SoftSlam can reduce the danger, protect the home and all of the occupants.
What about that front or back entry door that slams? Are we willing to let our children become the victims of a tragic, preventable injury because we have all learned to ignore the dangers? There was once a time when everyone scoffed at the thought of wearing a seat belt. Sure, cars can be dangerous but only if you crash them. Sure doors can be dangerous but only if you are near them.
The peace of mind a parent can experience when a door is no longer a threat is nothing to be scoffed at. We've been told by many a mother that she can't relax after work because she needs the house opened up and she is nervous about the doors slamming with her child around. Cooking dinner, stepping away to change clothes, taking a phone call or even attending a younger sibling become a hair raising experience on a hot, windy day.
Imagine her relief when her SoftSlam was installed, protecting her family from this imminent threat. Door safety is very important. Child safety is very important. Baby proof your home before you get first hand experience with the danger of a slamming door.
Visit us at SoftSlam.
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.