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Older Garage Doors Can Be Dangerous

ByABC News via logo
November 18, 2003, 2:22 PM

Nov. 19 -- Nick Green was returning home from his fourth-grade class when he made a costly error while opening his home's garage door. While the mistake landed the 10-year-old in critical condition, safety experts say Nick's horrific story isn't unique.

While Nick remains in critical condition, other kids do not survive similar mishaps.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received reports indicating that nationwide, at least 60 children between the ages of 2 and 14 have died in accidents involving garage doors since 1982.

However, most recorded incidents differ from Nick's since they occurred while doors were closing.

In Nick's case, neighbors say the Columbus, Ohio, boy grabbed hold of the lowest fold in the door and rode it up as it opened, dropping off at the last second. When he repeated the stunt, he didn't let go in time

As the boy's motionless body dangled in the driveway, 16-year-old Jason Reed rushed to his aid from his nearby home. Reed held Nick's body up to relieve pressure on his neck until paramedics freed him.

Reed's mother, Geri, tried to figure out what they should do in a frantic call to 911.

Geri Reed: "We have a child whose face is stuck in an automatic garage door." 911 dispatcher: "Is the child able to breath?"Geri Reed: "No. He's turning blue. He's limp."911: "Are there several neighbors there?"Geri Reed: "Myself and my teenage son."911: "Have you tried to move the door up or down?"Geri Reed: "We're afraid to move him."911: "OK. One of you is going to have to hold the kid and the other go move the door up a little bit."Geri Reed: "It's up as high as it'll go "

When they arrived on the scene, Columbus Fire Division paramedics forced the garage door down enough to remove Nick. The Reeds say they were frightened by what they saw next.

"They pulled down the garage door and he just fell into my arms. He was all limp and his face and ears and fingers was all blue," Jason Reed said.

Nick has remained in critical condition at Children's Hospital with a severe head injury since the Nov. 4 accident.