These areas are difficult to make safe even for older children and should be kept strictly off limits to the toddler. With the tendency towards imitation at this age, a garage or workshop can be dangerous to your toddler when combined with his natural curiosity.
Garages typically contain lawn/insect poisons (meant to kill), a variety of sharp hand tools, power tools, etc.
There is paint left over from your last project with the lid half on maybe, gasoline for your lawn equipment, 220 volt electrical outlets, power tools, paint remover; in other words, usually just about anything you would not want stored inside your home.
Inspect your garage and determine what you really want or need to save. Dispose of old paints. They are probably past recommended shelf life anyway. The four different kinds of ant killer you tried last year?
Make it a point to buy just what you will need for the present project at hand. The savings for quantity is usually not worth buying a special lock cabinet to store it in safely. For those items you must keep, do invest in some type of locking storage cabinet or put these products on a high secure shelf that your youngster cannot climb up to.
Disable electrical outlets that are not needed. Turn them off at the circuit breaker if possible and practical.
Designate specific places for tools and hang them out of reach. This will also prompt return of the tool to its proper place or let you see what may have been “borrowed”.
Disconnect power tools when not in use.
Be careful yourself while working in your workshop. The safety standards a father sets when working with dangerous tools or materials will also be imitated when you reach the point of training your child on “how to” projects. Besides, how many people count on you now to stay in one piece?
Adequate locks (high deadbolts or flip locks) should be in use to prevent the toddler or preschooler from gaining access to the garage or workshop area.
Simple alarms can be installed on the door to the garage that will sound if the door is left open for more than a few seconds or when it is opened. A very inexpensive and effective control of this door, particularly if you have older children or you are subject to leaving doors open (like after bringing in a day’s shopping with both arms full). If your in-home alarm system can be programmed to alert you (and not the entire neighborhood) to the opening of this door, so much the better. Unfortunately, over time and a thousand beeps later, most of us will not even here that little beep anymore. This is particularly true if you have a lot of traffic like older kids or help coming and going.
The addition of a self-closing hinge on the access door can further assist in keeping it closed. At least, it might get closed automatically for those who just can’t remember to shut it properly. I plead guilty to this on occasion and have a couple of youngsters who think that the door only swings one way. One of the manyl disadvantages of living in a predominately male household I am informed of regularly.
Removable child pool safety fence can be installed across your garage door entrance. This can be left up or taken down depending on where you actually park your cars. It is both effective for keeping children out and pets in.