Treadmill Dangers for Children

Little Girl on Treadmill
Little Girl on Treadmill. BeautifulLotus/E+/Getty Images

Treadmills pose a safety hazard around children. Keep children safe from treadmill danger with proper supervision and keeping them from playing on or around a motorized treadmill.

Treadmill Dangers

The moving belt of a treadmill can cause friction injuries or entrap small fingers, hair, and clothing if children wander near the moving belt. The Australian Office of Fair Trading became so concerned over rising reports of treadmill injuries to children that they issued a public education campaign in 2008: Treadmills and kids don't mix

The scrapes children may get from the treadmill belt can be severe enough to require skin grafts or plastic surgery. Motorized treadmills pose special dangers because the treadmill belt will continue to move until the user hits the stop button or the safety clip disengages. These extra seconds while a finger is trapped can mean a greater injury as compared to pinching it in a non-motorized piece of exercise equipment.

Parents must arrange their exercise environment so that children cannot approach within several feet of the treadmill, so they won't accidentally fall onto it while playing or be tempted to touch the moving belt.

Keep Children Off the Treadmill

Children are tempted to imitate their parents and run on the treadmill. But until they are tall enough and mature enough to operate the controls safely, the treadmill should be locked away from their use.

With small children in the house, unplug or lock off the treadmill so they can't turn it on. If a safety key or cord is needed for the treadmill to start, store it away from the treadmill in a place children can't reach. Fold up folding treadmills and secure them in place. A folded treadmill may be a tip-over hazard, much like a tall bookcase, and needs to be secured from children tipping it over.

Cords should be bundled so they don't present a strangling or entrapment hazard.

Children who use a treadmill with or without supervision may stumble, fall, and get propelled off the back or side of the treadmill. This can result in broken bones, head injuries, and other trauma.

Once a child appears to be mature enough to use exercise equipment safely, give them a thorough walk-through of all of the operating commands and safety features.

Kids' Treadmills - Non-Motorized

If you want your child to exercise at home, there are non-motorized treadmills designed specifically for children. These are designed to child safety standards so they don't present the risks of adult motorized treadmills. One example is the Redmon for Kids Fun and Fitness Kids Treadmill. It is a manual treadmill with no motorized belt. The child propels it by walking on it. It has a no-tip design and is appropriate for children up to 100 pounds in weight.

Even with a manual treadmill, it is important to keep other children away from the belt while it is in motion. While the kids' treadmill design should reduce those risks, it is best to be safe.

A Word From Verywell

It's excellent to set a good example for your kids by exercising at home, including using a treadmill. Children need more steps per day than adults and you want to encourage active play. While a treadmill may seem like one solution, put safety first and keep the kids away from this equipment.

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