Treadmills can be a great addition to the home for busy families trying to get in some exercise. As with most large machines, caution must be taken while using them – especially if you have young children in the house.

The issue of treadmill safety became headline news in 2009 when Mike Tyson’s 4-year-old daughter tragically died in a treadmill accident. Since then, many news outlets and safety organizations have followed and reported on the trends of treadmill-related injuries.

In 2015, USA Today published findings that in that year alone 24,400 treadmill related injuries were seen in emergency rooms and 30 people died from those injuries.

We looked at exercise equipment child injury data for the years 2015 and 2016, and saw how common treadmill injuries are among children. Of the 470 exercise equipment related injuries in 2015 for children 12 and under, 134 were due to treadmills – 28.5% of all injuries. In 2016 we find slightly higher numbers for the same age group, with 29.7% of all exercise equipment related injuries for children 12 and under involving treadmills.

Children’s MD describes how, “Small fingers and hands will quickly get caught in the belt mechanism resulting in removal of skin and muscles, serious burns, fractures, amputations, and other injuries. Children can also be thrown from the equipment, resulting in larger fractures or concussions.”

We’ve compiled a list of tips so that you can keep exercising and keep your children safe:

  • Do not let children on a moving treadmill – it is easy for them to fall and get concussions or burn injuries.
  • Never leave a running treadmill unattended. If possible, restrict children’s access to the treadmill by locking that room or putting a gate up.
  • Always face a treadmill towards the room entrance so the runner or walker can see if any children enter or leave the room.
  • If possible, set a security code on the treadmill so that children are not able to start the machine on their own.
  • Keep treadmill cords tidy and in an area young children cannot access to avoid any chance of choking or strangulation on them.
  • Keep a safety key on hand when running, most treadmills have some form of stopping the machine immediately with a key or a button. When done with use, store the safety key in an area that children cannot reach since this key is usually necessary for starting the treadmill.

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