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John Loftis
07-18-2009, 3:07 AM
My two year old is learning his colors. Two of his favorites are "Wed" and "Gween." My shop is in my garage, which our little guy toddles through 4-5 times a day when he's getting loaded into the car in the driveway.

On three separate occasions, he's trotted over to the table saw, shouted "Gween," and tried to make it to the 'on' button. Out of justified paranoia, I physically unplug every power tool the minute I'm done using it. So he's never yet turned on a tool.

The 'what if' scenarios are terrifying.

For those with kids or grandkids, something to conisder.

John

Mike Cruz
07-18-2009, 7:07 AM
When I first saw your post topic, I thought...disaster. Then you started writing about your son, so I thought...oh, that kind of "terror"...hehe. Then when you wrote "wed" and "gween", I thought...Grizzly and blood!

Glad to hear that you take the necessary precautions. Good daddy.

It has been a while since I have seen a "new" large piece of "real" machinery to see if they have safety switches, but Ridgid seems to put those "keys" on their switches so you can remove them instead of having to unplug tools all the time.

I suppose the makers of the "real" tools figure their stuff is going into "real" shops, where "terrors" "aren't".

Glad to hear no accidents...

Chris Kennedy
07-18-2009, 7:31 AM
My two year old and I recently had that "discussion." It mostly consisted of his excited "Green" and my horrified "NO!" and him running back to the house to get a hug from Mom. Now he patiently explains that "Only Daddy push Green button."

All the same, I have a lock that goes on mine.

Cheers,

Chris

Gene Howe
07-18-2009, 9:47 AM
We have twin boys, now 31 y.o. When they were toddlers, all my tools were unplugged when I left the shop.
When they were three I had a very gory, bloody accident on the TS. No lost digits, But 2 were compromised. They saw the results immediately as they were in the house when I came running in. The hand surgeon took lots of pics which I posted in the shop. I think their first sight of major bodily damage and, the continuous pictorial reinforcement taught them to leave the tools alone. Of course, as they gained some dexterity and interest, they worked in the shop with me.
I wouldn't recommend this safety course to anyone else. But it did work.
Gene

Jeff Willard
07-18-2009, 9:56 AM
A disconnect or lock-out device may also be a good investment. Especially for those with older, more inquisitive, and more dexterous children.

Larry Fox
07-18-2009, 10:40 AM
You can see my solution to this issue in the second pic from the bottom in this thread.

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=80262

Note the lock on it as well. I have since put one in to control the bandsaw and a second cabinet saw I have acquired. The one in the pic controls the ts and jointer.

Rob Young
07-18-2009, 11:44 AM
Definately start "training" the kid early to respect the power tools.

Meanwhile, you can keep unplugging them, or flip the breaker, remove the "key" from the center of a switch or get a power cord lock. Small luggage locks sometimes fit through the holes in the power plug spades. Eventually though, a curious child (maybe 6-8yr old) could bypass all but a good industrial lock-out.

You could also build him his own little bench and tools so he has his and you have yours. Explain that you aren't allowed to use his without permission just like he isn't allowed to use yours...

Peter Quinn
07-18-2009, 11:54 AM
Make your life easy. Run a 60A sub panel, run all machine circuits through that, put a lock out/tag out on the line side and SHUT IT ALL DOWN WITH ONE SWITCH. I can shut all my major power tools with three levers, all are mounted at least 60" from the floor, and all are steel boxes with locks to keep children and anybody else from getting in trouble. It also helps when changing blades and cutters or doing maintenance to have a manual disconnect that doesn't involve a plug.

I have a two year old and a two month old growing quick. The two year old is learning his colors and LOVES to play with switches, so I know just where your at. Growing up my Dad had a wood shop in the basement. His strategy was to put the fear of God into us. I have opted for a slightly gentler and more fool proof approach. One big lever by the door, pull it on the way out, the only thing they can turn on is the lights.

Cliff Rohrabacher
07-18-2009, 12:33 PM
Rather than trying to make the world toddler proof I taught my girls what to do and not to do. As strategies go it was working well up to their early Teens:: the standard point where parents suddenly know absolutely nothing about anything and children know it all.

Mike Cruz
07-18-2009, 12:40 PM
Ha, the fear of God works...fear of my father worked even better. Ah, those were the days...Dads would say NO and children listened. I remember my father approaching a young boys (my brother and myself) of inquisitive age, sitting us down on his (my father's) bed, reaching into his headboard cubbard, pulling out his 22 pistol. He unloaded it. Took it appart. Put it back together. Showed us what it was and how it worked, reloaded it and put it back in the headboard. Then said, "Well, that's my pistol. Don't EVER touch it." We knew what that meant. Maybe it was a repect for him. Maybe we were just good kids. But I'll tell you what... I never "wondered" about it. And I feared my father's wrath more that what the gun could have done to me IF I ever touched it. BTW, today, I own 3 guns. Of course, with our letigious world these days, mine are not "accessable to young fingers" (nor do I have children).

Vince Shriver
07-18-2009, 12:52 PM
The sub-panel idea is the best. Turning off the main breaker to the sub-panel shuts down everything, very good insurance. I appreciate your concern as I'm sure all who are parents here do.

Scott Crumpton
07-18-2009, 1:30 PM
I think both the lockouts and the fear of God/dad coupled with some here's the consequences are a good idea. When mine were in that stage, I put luggage locks on the power cords of everything. But for those times when I forgot, or was just away for a second they were trained.

As they got older and I allowed them to actually do things it the shop, a couple of demonstrations with a dowel along the lines of "This is your finger, this is your finger when it meets the band saw" got the point across. At first they thought it was a joke, then later I heard my son explaining how those tools are dangerous and could cut your finger off.

Another good demo is to put an old blade in the table saw and make a two pass rabbit cut, trapping the scrap between the blade and the fence with predictable results. It makes a bunch of noise as it hits the stuff you purposely piled up against the wall, assuming it doesn't just impale itself in the wall, and teaches them quite dramatically not to get behind you when the saw is running.

Kids seem quite able to understand the consequences of actions when demonstrated. What they seem to have hard time doing is making that connection in the abstract. One or two examples bridges the gap.

---Scott.

Chip Lindley
07-18-2009, 3:12 PM
Shops full of dangerous tools and today's permissive parents could be a very dangerous MIX! Far too many Post-Modern parents assume *My child would never do THAT!* But, Oh Yesssssss They Would! Sadly, the kiddies of those who never read this thread will suffer the most.

It might be Reasonable to take the kiddies on a TOUR of your shop, with strict eyeball supervision during every split-second! But, IMO under NO circumstances do toddlers, OR pre-schoolers need be in the shop while power tools are in operation.

IF any operation is being performed, the *Dad, GrandDad, SignificantPerson* cannot keep his eye the child. Kids are FAST and very SingleMinded! Too FAST to assume anything but the WORST Case Scenario! Instead of an electrical lockout, I propose a Total Lockout of any shop doors when the owner is not present!

Grade schoolers and teens have their Issues too. Tools disappear and Knowbody Knows where they went!!! Finally, found under the back porch or stuck in a tree, or in the floor board of a 17 year olds car.

I DO advocate teaching kids and teens about tools. I DO advocate Strict SAFETY first, followed by Strict RESPECT for MY TOOLS! They are not community property (short of divorce)!!

Chris Kennedy
07-18-2009, 3:14 PM
Currently, my boy and I have a pretty good system. He has a small chair in my shop, and whenever I want to turn on a major tool (ts, planer, router, OSS), he sits in the chair while it is running. Otherwise, he plays with his tools at a small bench while I am at mine.

I recently reorganized my entire shop so that I could have him out there. It isn't toddler proof, but I can have him out there without fear of him hurting himself or me as long as I am there. Currently, it is impossible for him to get into the shop without me (I installed a latch about 6' up the door), and I am religious about having it latched.

He's only two, so I don't know how effective object lessons will be just now. But I am a firm believer in the Fear of Dad. My dad put it into me about his power tools, and I am putting it into my boy as well.

Cheers,

Chris

John Loftis
07-18-2009, 4:13 PM
Chris, the image of your son working next to you on his own bench is wonderful.

A couple thoughts. First, I agree with an earlier poster that when I am running power tools, I am (and need to be) 100% focused on that. If my attention is divided, that's an easy way for me to have an accident. Much as I'd love to have my kiddo 'working' with me, he's at a stage now where he has to be watched constantly or he'll find something dangerous to get into. Neither reason nor the fear of God/dad are overly effective with a 23-month-old. Do you worry that he won't stay in his chair when you are operating machinery? For me, if he weren't confined in a cage, I'd definitely be preoccupied about what he's getting into. If he's mature and responsible enough that you have absolute confidence that he'll stay put, kudos to you for your parenting skills and to him for being such a well-behaved kiddo.

Second, do they make hearing protection for little ones? When I was a kid in the seventies, I used to love to go hunting with dad. Hearing protection was never used, and I'm paying for that now. There's a fringe benefit, since I can feign deafness when my wife asks me to do something. But overall, I wish I had all my hearing.

John

Lynn Kasdorf
07-18-2009, 5:38 PM
I have a big disconnect for all the big tools (240 single phase, and power to the RPC for the 3 phase). But here is the thing- I have a lamp socket powered by one of the legs and I put a red light bulb in there. So- when the power is on, the big red light is on. So it is an "armed" reminder for myself as well as for the kids. Also, when I leave the shop it it real obvious when I forget to kill that disconnect.

Our 9 year old actually did turn on power to my powermatic table saw when he was about 3 and I was in a different shop. My wife and I were in the shop and he toddled over and pushed the gween button. After all the commotion that I made, he never went near it again.

Chris Kennedy
07-18-2009, 7:11 PM
Chris, the image of your son working next to you on his own bench is wonderful.

A couple thoughts. First, I agree with an earlier poster that when I am running power tools, I am (and need to be) 100% focused on that. If my attention is divided, that's an easy way for me to have an accident. Much as I'd love to have my kiddo 'working' with me, he's at a stage now where he has to be watched constantly or he'll find something dangerous to get into. Neither reason nor the fear of God/dad are overly effective with a 23-month-old. Do you worry that he won't stay in his chair when you are operating machinery? For me, if he weren't confined in a cage, I'd definitely be preoccupied about what he's getting into. If he's mature and responsible enough that you have absolute confidence that he'll stay put, kudos to you for your parenting skills and to him for being such a well-behaved kiddo.

Second, do they make hearing protection for little ones? When I was a kid in the seventies, I used to love to go hunting with dad. Hearing protection was never used, and I'm paying for that now. There's a fringe benefit, since I can feign deafness when my wife asks me to do something. But overall, I wish I had all my hearing.

John

So far, I am not worried about him getting out of his chair, for a couple of reasons. In part, the chair was his idea. If I needed to use the saw, he had to be out of the shop, and he took to sitting in his little chair outside the shop and watching me. Now, he can be in the shop, but he has to be in his chair. It has progressed to the point that I turned on my planer to blow out a few chips, and I warned him that I was going to turn it on for just a second, and he got really upset that he wasn't in his chair when I turned it on. So, it seems to be as important to him as it is to me, and it is good system. The first time he so much as thinks about getting up from that chair -- out of the shop while I am running power tools.

I should point out that my boy has been fascinated with the shop since he was born, just about. Shortly after he learned how to crawl, I put him down on the lawn, and he set off crawling for the shop. It must be thirty feet to the shop, and he just kept crawling away. His second word was "drill." I decided early on that I had to arrange my shop to have him out there -- he would settle for nothing less. I have put all my sharp tools high or in cabinets where cannot reach them, anchored the heavy tools so he cannot move them, and locked away finishing supplies. I bought an Excalibur blade guard, both for dust and protection. Nothing is exposed that he can get to.

Now, I should also point out that I don't do major tasks with him there. I will run the planer, and make single crosscuts at a time on the tablesaw. I don't run sheetgoods or make rips or run the dado stack.

Also, I figure that as a hobbyist running a small shop at the back of my yard, I need to plan for this. Even if I didn't have him out in the shop, I need to be prepared for him to come running into the shop unexpectedly. I have taught him not to do that, but I cannot foresee him getting scared by something in the backyard (the neighbor's dog, the odd snake we get around here) or getting hurt and needing help.

As for hearing protection -- I have started acclimatizing him to some regular earplugs on a band. He likes to imitate me, so he is starting to wear them a little. I am working on safety glasses as well (Lee Valley sells some kid sizes).

Cheers,

Chris

Ben Galluzzo
07-19-2009, 12:51 AM
I too have added a separate subpanel with lockout feature. I've also kept some lights and a 110 circuit available via a separate panel so I can shutdown and lockout the shop's subpanel without losing lights and such just in case.

Rob Damon
07-19-2009, 2:59 AM
I don't have kids, but the neighbors do and when we are working outside the shop building is not lock, so we can go in a wash our hands and use the restroom. My fear is that we will get distracted and one the curious young ones will go in and play and get hurt.

My solution:

I converted all of my stationary tools to 240Volts and put straight pin plugs on them. All of the 240V receptacles on the wall are twist-lock style. It is physically impossible to plug in any of the machines that have straight blade plugs (6-15P, 6-20P or 6-30P) into the wall twist lock wall receptacles (L6-15R, L6-20R, L6-30R).

To plug them in, I have several adaptor cords that have L6-15P on one end and 6-15R receptacles on the other end (also ones for 20A and 30A). I lock the adaptor cords in my lockable tool box, when I am not in the shop. Without the adaptor cords, none of the machines can be plugged in.

Since I am the only one that uses the shop tools, it is not a hassle to use the adaptor cords to plug in a tool.

Rob

Wilbur Pan
07-19-2009, 9:36 AM
I converted all of my stationary tools to 240Volts and put straight pin plugs on them. All of the 240V receptacles on the wall are twist-lock style. It is physically impossible to plug in any of the machines that have straight blade plugs (6-15P, 6-20P or 6-30P) into the wall twist lock wall receptacles (L6-15R, L6-20R, L6-30R).

This is a good idea. Do you have multiple 240V receptacles on the same circuit, or did you have to run one circuit for each receptacle?

Victor Philippi
07-19-2009, 12:01 PM
My little girl just turned 9 months old. At this point in her life it is really easy as she is deathly afraid of the loud noise of my powertools, but I know that will change.

You guys have some great ideas that I'm absolutely going to use. I like the idea of having a lamp with the red bulb wired into the same breaker the shop equipment is on mentioned up top. I also like the idea of the chair in the shop that the kid has to sit in if the machine is on.

As was touched on earlier in this thread, teaching a healthy fear and respect for equipment is the way to go. My father when I was growing up had a lot of guns in the house. I don't remember at what age this started, but my father took my brother and I out shooting a lot at a very young age. We learned from the start never point a weapon at anything you don't intend to shoot and that they will kill. We were never given toy guns to play with as guns aren't toys. It was so drilled into our heads that we wouldn't even feel right pointing a toy guns at eachother when we went and had the chanceto play with them at our friends' houses.

John Harden
07-19-2009, 12:26 PM
Geez, you gus make me look like a total slacker!!! I don't do anything to secure my shop except keep the table saw blade down below the table surface. My son once pressed the green button on the table saw when he was about 18 months or so and it scared him. The blade was of course down, but the noise was enough that he still has a healthy respect for the tools.

He's 4 now and starting to help me with projects and stuff. I had some loose slats on some outdoor furniture and yesterday, I held the gun and safety triger and he pulled the main trigger and fired the headless pins to re-secure them. He shot it about 50-75 times and loved it. He likes wearing his safety glasses as he knows it means he's going to help dad.

He's never really "gotten into anything", despite being a boy. My one year old daughter on the other hand, god what a handful!!!!! She's the one who is constantly into everything, and climbing, etc.

I have a subpanel, and may need to either shut off the breakers or lock out individual tools at the on switch. You've given me something to think about!!

Regards,

John