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Are pocket doors safe for children and pets?

Pocket doors are an addition to your interior design which provides both practical and aesthetic benefits. As a retro fashion item enjoying a 21st century renaissance, the pocket door is easy to use, creates vital space in a room and looks great too, with unfussy, clean lines and a stylish, minimalist look that is perfect for a contemporary home. However, we still need doors to be functional and reliable, and that means they need to be robust to withstand constant and often heavy use, particularly where children are coming in and out and where pets are sometimes in the way and knocking into them.


High quality pocket doorsare pocket doors safe with children and pets?

The good news is that modern pocket doors are made from top quality materials, which are designed to withstand heavy use. So toys, child accessories and pets knocking into them won’t cause any damage, and they can also withstand frequent use being opened and closed. But are pocket doors safe to be used when children are around? And when pets are passing through or near a door without you being aware?

Of course we know that pocket doors operate by disappearing into a wall cavity known as the ‘pocket’. This cavity is too narrow to fit anything other than the door itself, so no child or pet can get lost down there, however much they might try! But a common area of concern is that fingers can get trapped in the ‘pocket’ when opening and closing the door. Because the door disappears into the pocket it could potentially draw fingers in with it and trap them, while you can also trap your fingers when attempting to grab the leading edge of the door in the pocket to close it. A way around this is to install a stopper on the far end of the ‘pocket’ which prevents the door continuing along the overhead track and completely into the pocket. In other words, the leading edge of the door will slightly protrude from the pocket into the door opening. This can be adjusted to ensure you always have enough room to pass freely in and out of the door. Another solution is to add a ‘finger pull’, which is a type of hardware which can be installed by cutting into the leading edge of the door, and enables the user to grab the door with the fingers and close it, without the risk of trapping fingers, and even though the door is fully encased in the pocket.     


Safety accessories for your pocket dooranti-slam pocket doors

A major safety accessory which can be retro-fitted to the pocket door is the anti-slam feature. This is also known as a soft-close accessory and is commonly used for kitchen cupboards and drawers. It is common for children to slam a door shut when upset, or simply because they don’t know or can’t judge their own strength. Pets often follow children around the home too, so any occasion in which a door slams shut, a child and a pet can be at risk of being knocked by the door, or trapping a hand, finger or arm, or a paw or a tail. However, the anti-slam feature is a simple device which works to control this action. The anti-slam mechanism is able to take control of the door at a certain point and make sure it doesn’t slam shut, instead, the door will quietly and softly ease into the closed position. This should prevent any child or pet from getting injured.

The self-close accessory is another way to ensure safety, by automatically shutting doors. Again this can be retro-fitted and is essentially a mechanism which acts to shut the door with a small delay after it has been opened. This means that a child doesn’t need to shut the door themselves, and also means there is added convenience because doors aren’t left open. We all know that children aren’t the most reliable people in terms of shutting doors, there is usually something far more exciting grabbing their attention as they enter a room, so in terms of convenience and energy-saving, it is important that the door is shut. In some cases this might improve fire safety also. But the self-closing accessory is a simple device which ensures the door is always shut after allowing a person to pass through it, and this closing door speed can be adjusted to make sure that a child or pet doesn’t get trapped by a door closing too quickly.

So pocket doors are a feature of the home which can be operated easily and consistently by children, and also allow for the addition of retro-fitted accessories which enhance the safety characteristics of the door and hence reduce the safety risks accordingly. 


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