The latest headlines on Mike Tyson’s 4-year-old daughter are deeply troubling, and unfortunately are a reminder that treadmill-related injuries are far too common. Hospital-treated treadmill injuries are on the rise, and the greatest percentage of injuries have been among toddlers who were hurt while a parent using the machine didn't see the child playing behind or beneath it. A report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that more than 25,000 children under age 14 are injured by exercise equipment, including stationary bikes, treadmills, and stair climbers, each year.
Follow these safety tips to help prevent injuries from treadmills and any exercise equipment:
- Keep your child away from the treadmill while it is in use.
- When the treadmill is not in use, unplug it, and if possible, lock it up to keep out of your child’s reach. If it’s not possible to lock it away in another room in your home, consider surrounding it with a safety gate. An unsupervised child should never be left near exercise equipment.
- If your treadmill has a safety clip—the clip that attaches to your clothing and is meant to shut off the machine in the event of a fall or when you're not using it—remove it when the machine is not in use. This switch attaches to the treadmill by a cord and can pose a strangulation risk for your child if you tie it around the treadmill’s handrail. Most machines won’t turn on without the safety clip attached, so removing it will also prevent accidental operation of the machine.
- Keep young children away from all exercise equipment without safety locks. Not all equipment comes with locks—if you're buying a machine and have small children at home, you should consider this safety feature.