How to avoid a treadmill tragedy - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports


Playing on treadmills can end in tragedy

Doctors estimate some 25,000 children under the age of 14 are injured each year by exercise equipment.

Treadmills are one of the top offenders.

Children are suffering injuries, disfigurement and even losing their lives to treadmills.

Dr. Alan Nager works in the ER department of the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

"Some of the more devastating injuries we've seen on treadmills have been in adolescents because they can be thrown off at high speeds," he says. "Adolescents will do anything for the risk and so they'll get on that treadmill, they'll run, they'll hop, they'll turn around, they'll try to spin and all of those risky behaviors lead to potentially substantial injury."

What most people don't know is young children and toddlers are also prone to injury, especially when they see their parents working out.

"Children are curious and they want to jump on the treadmill with whoever is on it," says Nager.

Children scrambling to keep up might seem funny on YouTube, but it's extremely dangerous.

"Kids don't have the coordination and the ability to move as fast as the tread actually moves," says Nager. "So the kids immediately get thrown or they fall, then they get caught up in the tread."

Dr. Nager says the most common treadmill injuries he treats are friction burns.

"If you have the tread going against the child's body surface, or the surface of a finger, or the surface of toes, that tread actually eats away at the skin and the deeper tissues. Large portions of the tissue have actually been ripped away from the child's skin," he warns.

Fitness Expert Mark Myers says if you have children, you need to warn them about the dangers.

"You definitely want to have a conversation with them and let them know it's not something they should be using," says Myers.

He also says you should never use a treadmill while a small child is in the room because "you may not realize the child is coming up to your side or are underneath your feet or behind you, which can be very dangerous."

Mark tells parents to use a baby gate as a barrier.

"Put the baby gate up in a door so you're in the room and the child is outside of the room, so they can still see you but they're very far away from the treadmill while it's in use," says Myers.

And Myers also says to make sure your treadmill has an emergency stop feature and know how to use it. So remember:

  1. Create a barrier between young children and the treadmill.
  2. Warn children about the risks.
  3. Make sure teens don't use the treadmill as a toy.
  4. Know where the emergency stop button is located.

 Because treadmills and kids don't mix!

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