Home elevators have decades-long history of being extremely safe. Today’s elevators include fail-safe mechanisms as well as features like automatic doors that make elevators easier to use and therefore safer. But even with this assurance, it is important to take extra precautions when pets or children live or visit a home with an elevator.
Elevators are Not Toys
Just like you would not want your child using an elevator alone in a apartment building, church, school, or high-rise commercial building, you do not want your children using a home elevator alone. It is vital that they do not see the elevator as a toy.
Home elevators come with deterrents such as locks on the landing door that prevent inadvertent opening of them to an empty shaft as they only open when the elevator cab is aligned with the landing door. But despite design that provides safe use for everyone, it is important to give special attention to children to help them understand how to be around an elevator safely.
Extra Measures of Access Prevention
For homes with stairs and children (and sometimes pets), the use of gates to bar access to the stairs is common. If a door is present at the entrance to stairs, sometimes child-proof locks mounted high up are used. In any case, some additional protection from access to the stairs is used.
This is an effective strategy for home elevators, also. Especially if the children are only visitors and do not have time to lose the excitement of being around an elevator. Using additional measures like gating or locking off rooms that access the elevator can be effective.
Teaching Kids Elevator Safety
One way to overcome the novelty of the presence of an elevator in a home is to focus on what is safe and therefore allowed with less focus on what is prohibited. For example, for pre-school children and older, have them accompany you on several rides when the elevator is new to them and each time you think of it after that. Encourage them to push the button then step back from the door reminding them that they may come near the elevator when they are with an adult. But while they are with an adult, encourage them to use it appropriately. By using it appropriately, it is no longer new and exciting so there is a higher chance of compliance with the rule of not entering the elevator without an adult.
Discuss with children why it is important to step quickly into the elevator, push the button for the floor they are going to, and then step back away from the doors. Ask them what might happen if they stay close to the door. If they come up with the ideas like catching their fingers or clothing in the door, they are much more likely to take the discussion to heart and see it more as a practical rule than a forbidden area to explore when adults are not looking.
Another creative way to encourage cooperation is to ask kids, perhaps elementary school age, to remind you of the “rules” as they use the elevator with you. Having them recite “walk, don’t run”, “no playing”, “step in quickly”, “ride at the back of the elevator”, etc. will reinforce the rules without you sounding like a broken record they are not listening to.
Prohibit Playing and Roughhousing Near Elevator
In addition to being curious about the elevator, kids may, well, just be kids when there are 2 or more. Rough-housing and getting distracted with each other are temptations. So having younger children understand they must be with an adult when using the elevator goes a long way.
But older kids may try to use the elevator as part of a hide-and-seek or chase game. So it is important to talk with them to get them to come up with ideas about why playing in and around the elevator may not be a good idea. They will usually come up with good insight and you can add some reasons in the discussion.
Explore the What-Ifs
If you have older children who are capable of using the home elevator responsibly, consider that they still do not have the life experience to remain calm when things go wrong. In fact, many adults to not either! So, it is vital before permitting anyone to use your home elevator to be familiar with its proper operation and to discuss what is available to help them in case something goes wrong.
In the case of a power outage, our home elevators will automatically return to the landing on battery power (or air pressure in the case of vacuum elevators). But our elevators are also equipped with phones in the cab and an alarm that can be heard outside the cab. Be sure that elevator users are aware of what to expect in case of a power outage or other failure and how to use these features.
An additional what-if scenario that you must discuss with your children is what to do and what not to do in the case of a fire in the home. Fire fighters recommend that all families have an escape plan that includes a meet-up spot away from the home. Once you install an elevator in your home, that plan needs to be reviewed and should include a discussion about why using the elevator to leave the home is not in the plan.
Using an Elevator with Pets
Keep pets away from the elevator entrance. If your pet is accompanying you in the elevator, pick it up or for larger dogs, use a very short leash so it remains close to you. Do not permit children to use the elevator alone with pets as they are an added distraction and complication that kids may not think through well.
Modern home elevator doors have mechanisms that will prevent closing on larger pets or children. But as they are more likely to put their hand into the closing doors or get a leash or clothing caught, it is always best practice to not have anything, including your own hand or arm, between the doors as they are closing.
Increase home elevator safety by ensuring that everyone in your home, including visitors, are aware of the elevator’s location and how to use it as well as the importance of keeping kids and pets using it safely.
We look forward to seeing you in our showroom to experience our home elevator technology for yourself or an invitation to your home to provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. We are happy to demonstrate the safety equipment and features that protect your entire family. Our certified aging-in-place specialists will answer all your questions about costs of home elevators and which will fit your needs and your home best. Call (713) 360 7353.