The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that thousands of children are hurt every year in preventable treadmill accidents. Parents can protect their children by knowing which parts of a treadmill can be especially dangerous and taking a few precautions.
Not-So-Friendly Treadmill Parts
Like other heavy machinery, treadmills aren’t necessarily designed with children in mind. Here are some parts to watch out for.
The Gap: Mind the gap! The moving belt on a treadmill can be especially dangerous to children’s hands. Some treadmill frames are designed to conceal any gap between the track and the rest of the machine, but most home treadmills have an exposed space that’s large enough to trap little fingers.
The Track: Children have been known to start a treadmill, speed it up, and fly off the track.
The Cords: Some treadmills have power cords or console cords that dangle within children’s reach. In 2009, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson lost his daughter in a treadmill cord accident.
How to Keep Kids Safe
Common sense and special treadmill features can help prevent treadmill accidents with children.
- Restrict children’s physical access to the treadmill. If the door to a home gym room cannot be locked, then a portable gate might be useful.
- Have your treadmill face the doorway. That way, you can see if a child enters the room.
- Never leave a running treadmill unattended.
- If possible, set a security passcode on the treadmill. This option is available on more expensive models.
- Keep the safety stop key handy. Most treadmills can be brought to an abrupt stop with a key if needed.
- Keep the safety key away from little mouths. Ironically, some safety keys are small enough to be choking hazards.
- Keep treadmill cords tidy. Affix them to the machine, use cord protectors, or otherwise ensure that they cannot be looped around a child’s neck.
Most of the above advice is common sense. By taking a few precautions and using a treadmill responsibly, it’s easy to sculpt yourself into shape while keeping your children safe.