Securing Tools with Little Ones Around

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Forum topic by wmixon posted 06-24-2014 04:17 AM 1051 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View wmixon's profile


20 posts in 1460 days

06-24-2014 04:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: safety securing shop child proof child proofing

Hey Everyone,

I was hoping (sorry if this is a repeat thread) that we could start a conversation about how some of you secure your shop—especially with children around.

Currently, my shop is our garage (my wife is AMAZING). My current “safe shutdown” is to simply kill the GFCI which is located behind the duct collector (not assessable by a child). Because all the power tools are connected to the same circuit, this kills power to all the tools—and outlets so nothing can be plugged in either.

I have come to this solution after considering installing the fancy keyed switches to all the tools.

I have a one year old so he isn’t much of an issue “now”, however we have an older nephew and some older kids in the neighborhood.

Any other ideas you guys have would be well received!


-- Measure twice, cut once...Throw board away, go back to Home Depot...Measure three times, cut once...Pray.

7 replies so far

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1562 days

#1 posted 06-24-2014 04:28 AM

The biggest safety switch to me is knowledge. Bring the kids in to the shop when you are working to monitor them and explain to the older ones what WILL cut their little fingers off. The little ones will follow what the older kids do just like a pack of dogs.

Shutting the gfci is a good idea. Kids are smart and will watch you shut it off when you leave the shop with them. They will eventually know how to turn it on.

It’s a really cheesy statement but “knowledge is power” educate the little ones when they are little and they will have a better chance of developing good shop etiquette.


View DylanC's profile


204 posts in 2671 days

#2 posted 06-24-2014 04:42 AM

Lockout is the same no matter how old you are. A standard breaker can be locked with this. You can get lockout devices for everything from a wall switch to a garden hose.

Many new tools should also have “lockout” function built into the switch. That said, I agree with Paul. Educate kids about what is safe and what is dangerous when they are still young…because some day they will get past whatever “lock” you put on.

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

View bobkberg's profile


439 posts in 3070 days

#3 posted 06-24-2014 04:46 AM

That’s a good idea for starters.

I also drop the table saw blade below the surface, and drop the guard on the bandsaw and tighten the knobs.
The radial arm saw has a lockout key you can remove from the power switch and I lock the carriage well out of the way of little hands.

But since my kids are grown, that’s more of an exercise for when friends with younger ones come over.

Even so – those locking steps take less than 1 minute.

Good luck,


-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View wmixon's profile


20 posts in 1460 days

#4 posted 06-24-2014 05:08 AM

Paul and Bob, I agree with you both 100%! When I was growing up I was never a liability around my dad’s tools because he educated me. That said it’s the other folks I worry about. The ones we can’t educate…and for them safety devices are great!

Dylan, thanks for the link. I had been searching for something like that with no avail.


-- Measure twice, cut once...Throw board away, go back to Home Depot...Measure three times, cut once...Pray.

View DylanC's profile


204 posts in 2671 days

#5 posted 06-24-2014 05:14 AM

No problem…McMaster is where I go for all kinds of odds and ends. It’s like a hardware store the size of a shopping mall, only without all the walking. Everyone should know about that site.

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

View EEngineer's profile


1102 posts in 3610 days

#6 posted 06-24-2014 11:12 AM

I just put in a sub-panel with circuit breakers in my shop. On one occasion when we had guests over with smaller children I killed all the circuits in the shop except the lights. I still didn’t let the kids in there without supervision, though. Even unpowered you can cut yourself on a sawblade or drill bit or wood chisel or… – DAMHIKT!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Ocelot's profile


1975 posts in 2635 days

#7 posted 06-24-2014 07:20 PM

Good post.

My shop is a standalone building. The door is locked when I’m not in there.

Any tool that has a key (even the cheesy little plastic key on the drill press) has the key removed and put in a drawer. My 2-year-old is pretty smart. I manipulate keys when he’s not looking. Anything that doesn’t have a key is unplugged when I walk away from it.

My 13-year-old is the kind who doesn’t mess with anything. I don’t worry about her. Some of her friends, on the other hand, are the kind that will try anything. I don’t leave them in the shop unwatched.

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