Sliding doors are a nice addition to your house not only for decorating but also maximizing living space and natural light in your house. But are they safe for any children running around? You don’t want to add anything to our house if it could potentially hurt the ones we love most. Let’s find out.
Sliding doors are safe for children and won’t slam or hit your kids like a hinged door can. Sliding doors still have places fingers can be caught in but this is the same for hinged doors. The transparency of some sliding doors can help you keep an eye on your child while you’re on the other side.
There is more additional information you should know before installing sliding doors. Even you already have them, there are some tips below which can help you improve safety for your kids.
Are sliding doors safe for kids?
As you know young children are enthusiastic and very eager to explore in and around the house. It’s also a facts that they can sometimes hurt themselves by hitting the doors, tables, chairs…which finds itself placed on their way no matter what type of material the furniture is. That’s why you have to do some research and be careful while choosing the right furnishings which are less harmful to your children.
Doors are something you often forget to think about when child proofing a home. That’s mostly because doors tend to already be there before the children and it’s expensive to replace them.
Every house has doors for connecting between rooms, front/back doors and/or patio doors. These doors can be different types such as hinged doors, folding doors and sliding doors. Sliding doors look nice in many situations but do those good looks actually hide a danger to your child? Well, no. Sliding doors are actually quite safe compared to other types. Here’s why;
Sliding doors reduce the space required on the side to which the door opens. Your children will have more space for playing around and they won’t be hit by an opening or closing door. Children can sneak up on you and you might not see them while opening and closing a door. Even you are careful enough to check before opening/closing door, kids can run around without noticing a moving door. And you can’t be confident that all children always remember opening/closing door slowly and carefully while young kids are playing around in your house.
I still remember clearly that as a child I opened a normal hinged door but my big toenail got stuck under the door. I’ll spare you the details but it was very unpleasant to the point I can still remember it 25 years later. Hinged doors have gaps body parts can get stuck between on all sides. Sliding doors reduce the amount of gaps body parts can get stuck in.
Yes, sliding doors still have parts where that can happen but there are fewer. It’s also a little easier to childproof these parts by adding rubber strips in the right places. While opening and closing doors there are always potential dangers to get stuck but sliding doors are slightly safer in that regard.
Of course the biggest worry is that a body part will be slammed between the door and the wall. Hinged door have exactly the same problem and can be more difficult to predict than a straight sliding door for many children.
Also, a very cool thing you can do to prevent this is get a sliding door with soft close. This is a system that can be added to most sliding doors which just slows down the door at the last part before closing. This doesn’t only mean that it shuts and opens very quietly but also prevents the door getting slammed shut with a body part in between.
If your house has infants you’ll want to optimize your free time while they’re sleeping. Sliding doors can be opened/shut peacefully without a big bang. Of course that’s still possible to do but it’s easier to avoid than with a hinged door. The soft close system mentioned above will make this even easier.
Avoiding loud noises will keep your child asleep which means you’ve got more free time to rest. While that’s not directly a safety issue, it’s something very nice to have. And if you get more rest, you’ll be more alert when you have to be.
If you need a better night’s sleep, check out bamboo cooling pillows. They’re a great way to optimize the sleep you’re getting.
See through material
Besides the benefits mentioned above, sliding doors can help you have private room for working but still keep an eye on your children by using see through material like glass. There are 4 main types of glass, check their PSI rating(Pound Force per Square Inch) and their characteristics to know how safe they are for your children and what the best choice is. The PSI rating is a good proxy to see how big of an impact the glass can handle.
- Annealed Glass: It is an economical choice. It’s clear and has a smooth surface but, this glass is slowly cooled at room temperature which doesn’t do anything good for it’s strength. Its surface psi is under 3,500 so it doesn’t have high tensile strength and will break into sharp large pieces which can injury your children.
- Heat-strengthened Glass: This type of glass is twice as strong as Annealed Glass, but the cooling process still slow and it has can handle about 3,500 to 7,500 psi of force. It breaks into similar pieces like Annealed Glass so can’t be used as a safety glazing product.
- Tempered Glass: This is stronger than above 2 types of glass. The big difference is that minimum surface compression is at 10,000 psi and minimum edge compression is at 9,700 psi. This type of glass doesn’t break easily under pressure. And if it shatters, it does so into small, regular, typically squares harmless pieces without sharp edges. This is the same material car windows are made of.
- Laminated Glass: This type is common for economical solution. It is a combination of 2 or 3 layers of annealed or tempered glass with a plastic interlayer between them. This interlayer make laminated glass stronger and prevents the glass from breaking into big sharp pieces which can injury you. The plastic layer keeps the glass together even when it breaks so there are no loose shards. If the shards are sharp depends on if the layers are normal or tempered glass.
Tempered glass is the best choice for indoor sliding doors especially when there are children around. It can handle a much bigger impact (child running into it) than normal glass and if it does break, the shards aren’t sharp. It’s also cheaper than laminated glass. For a front or backdoor, laminated glass is a better choice because when it breaks, you still can get through easily.
Sliding door safety tips
Here are some specific tips can be applied for using sliding doors for families that have kids.
- If you choose sliding doors for your children’s bedroom, better to choose a material that is strong and isn’t fuel for any fires. Aluminum frames and glass are a good choice.
You can’t stay in your children bedroom all time and fire is always a big concern, heat that causes fires can come from different sources and lights are one of them. Read how to choose the string lights to decorate your children bedroom safely by clicking here.
- Choose good quality and light material so your children can open or close sliding doors easily
- Use a child clock for sliding doors, especially patio sliding doors and sliding windows to avoid your toddlers wandering outside onto the balcony or climb out of the window and keep them stay safely inside.
- In case you use sliding doors made from completely transparent glass, make sure to put a decal or sticker on the glass to keep your kids away from banging their head against the door by accident.
Overall, sliding doors are a great option and safe for your house if you have kids provided you can choose the right one. But sliding doors are more than safety products for kids, they also can bring a few additional advantages for your home you can read below.
Additional benefits of sliding doors
More and more architects are choosing sliding doors for home décor because of their design and functional advantages;
Light: When using glass sliding doors, they can bring more natural light to your house and your room. Especially in the case of a sliding patio door, with large area of glass, your house can be filled full of natural light.
Using less energy: As mentioned above, using glass sliding doors can bring light to your house so it means you don’t need to use much energy for light during day while closing sliding doors helps avoid noise, dust, rain.
Certain glass doors are made from double pane glass with the gap in between the layers filled with argon gas. This can keep solar heat and UV out in the summer and hold heat inside your house in winter. This saves on heating in the winter and A/C in the summer.
View: Sliding doors made from glass is the best choice for offering an outside view in all types of weather. Even when it’s raining or snowing, you still can look through the doors/windows to enjoy view of your garden, front yard or a panoramic view from balcony.
Air flow: Sliding doors can be twice a wide compare to normal door so the air flow in your house will be improved by creating an uninterrupted flow between outdoor space and indoor space. You can use sliding doors instead of brick walls between your rooms in house to make the air flow go smoothly indoor. Moreover, your room will look more spacious and get rid of any cramped feeling. You lose a bit of privacy doing this but there are solutions for this as well.
Space: Saving space benefit was mentioned above for safety of kids but more than that, sliding doors can be used for many other purposes than just a normal door. Upgrade your kitchen cabinets to ones that have sliding doors and you’ll never hit your head on an open cabinet door again. Another example is the wardrobe in the bedroom. Getting one with sliding doors means you free up quite a bit of space that otherwise would have to be kept free to be able to open the wardrobe doors. Instead you could get a bigger bed!