3-year-old girl dies after being pinned by garage door

A 3-year-old girl died Friday after being pinned under an automatic garage door at a home in the Waldorf area, Charles County sheriff’s officials said. Reported by The Washington Post

The girl had slipped out of the house in the 2900 block of Eutaw Forest Drive and into the garage just before 4 p.m., said Diane Richardson, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

Investigators think that she might have pushed the door’s control button and then tried to run out of the garage, authorities said. An adult in the house heard the door and within minutes went to check, according to authorities. The door apparently struck the girl’s back and pinned her, Richardson said.

Based on a preliminary investigation, the girl may have died of asphyxiation, the spokeswoman said. An autopsy is scheduled. Many garage doors have safety features to keep them from closing when something is in the way. Authorities said they will look into the door’s mechanism.

Depending upon the make, model, and age of the garage door opener, different safety features and redundant safety devices may or may not be incorporated into the design. Typically, auto reverse functions, safety beams, and operating mechanisms of these devices require periodic maintenance. A qualified service provider is essential for assuring safe operation of all residential doors. It is essential for an automatic door expert (garage door) who specializes in this field to capture the condition of the door as close to the time of the incident as possible. Michael Panish has many years of experience with installation and garage door injury forensic analysis. He is currently involved as retained legal expert on multiple cases across the country involving garage door injury claims. Mike Panish is also author of many published articles relating to garage and drop down doors, automatic doors, manual doors, and door hardware.