Is Your Garage Safe?

One in three garages has poor lighting. And almost all garages are used to store at least one hazardous substance, according to a new survey by the Home Safety Council.

And that means injuries are likely to happen in a garage. Most common injuries are slips, falls and stepping on objects on the floor.

Sixty percent of those surveyed say their garages are unorganized. So The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen met up with the Moschetto family of Sands Point, N.Y., who was getting a garage makeover, courtesy of GarageTek.

"We've been trying to keep the house organized," Anthony Moschetto says, "but somehow the garage didn't fall in with the rest of the house."

Their garage doesn't look that bad, but experts, like Meri-K Appy of the Home Safety Council, say it's filled with hidden hazards.

"As a home safety professional," Appy says, "I go into almost anyone's garage and see plenty to worry about."

So what are the problems in the Moschetto's garage?

Koeppen got the scoop from Barbara Butensky, who works for GarageTek, a company that specializes in garage safety.

"First thing I see are baby toys along with window washer cleaner," she says.

Mixing play things with poisonous products is a dangerous combination, she notes. On the floor there was a hedge clipper - a tripping hazard. And there were more sharp tools left on top of a cabinet.

"They could easily fall off and someone could be injured," Butensky says.

She points out the extension cord, which is a strangulation hazard; and the stereo, which could tip over and hurt someone.

It was time for the Moschetto's garage to get a safety makeover.

From bottom to top, GarageTek worked its magic. Two days later, it was completely transformed. The makeover was extravagant, but you don't need to hire a company to make your garage safer. Just follow some basic tips.

  • Get clutter off the floor. Dangerous items should be stored high and out of children's reach.

    "The sharp items are high up on the wall now, securely attached to the wall," Butensky notes.

  • Pesticides and cleaners should be stored in a locked cabinet.
  • Hang ladders on their side, so kids can't climb them.
  • On top of the floor, put down slip-resistant tiles to prevent falls.
  • Add extra lighting. Butensky says, "In entry ways, in the work areas, it's nice to have a well-lit garage, and it's probably one of the worst-lit rooms in the house."
  • Next to the entrance to the house, hang a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and carbon monoxide detector.
  • Finally, create an organized space for kid's toys that's far away from any dangers.

    This is Garage Safety Week, so now is a good time to clean up the garage, not just for you and the kids, but the pets as well. They can get into a lot of things left on the floor.