Monday, January 17, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
To children, all machines, whether weights or cardio, look like they'd be fun to explore. Babies can get trapped in between the different elements of a piece of equipment and injure themselves in the process.
More than 8,700 children under the age of 5 suffer injuries due to fitness equipment every year. The biggest culprits are treadmills along with stationary bikes and stair-climbers—and most injuries involve the power cord.
Most fitness equipment poses some risk. For example:
- Weights can be dropped and cause bruising or even broken bones.
- Pulley types of equipment or machines with adjustable pieces can fall, become dislodged, or entangle or crush little fingers.
- Electronic pieces like treadmills and bikes carry the obvious danger of catching a limb within the moving wheels or belts, and the risk of electrocution or strangulation if a child plays with the cord.
- Jump ropes can get looped around a child's neck.
- Any equipment that can be turned on accidentally or that has moving parts can injure a baby or toddler.
- Infants and toddlers can use moving parts like bike pedals and elliptical footplates to try to lift themselves up from a crawling position to a standing position. If the parts move, kids can lose their balance and fall, injuring themselves.
Before you set a home gym, think about injury prevention… putting the equipment away, unplugging, and stowing after use.
- The safest gym isn't accessible to a child; however, this isn’t always possible or practical.
- If your kids have to be in the room while you're working out, they need to be safely out of harm's way. Babies can sit in a carrier seat or swing. Stationary play stations and playpens are great ideas, as long as your kid hasn't figured out how to get out.
- Put your cardio machines right up against the wall so the power cord is hidden under the machine.
- If you like to watch TV and need it farther away, put a heavy-duty rug on top of the cord so it’s hidden.
After you’re done working out:
- Unplug all electrical equipment, wrap all cords and place them out of reach.
- Fold up and put away equipment when possible. Children are curious and explore everything in their paths. So a folded up Stairmaster pushed against a wall could be pulled on and possibly fall over onto a child.
- Keep the room locked or place a barrier that keeps kids out of it.
- Unplug any machines so they can’t be turned on.
- If you have pulley equipment, weights machines, or universal gyms, put the pin in the highest weight so that it’s impossible for a small child to budge the weights and trap his- or herself.
- Wrap the safety lanyard around the clip and store it in a cup holder or somewhere your child can't grab it. Set the safety to the 'active' position so your child can’t start the machine even if the power is turned on.
Even with all the childproofing in the world, adult supervision is still a must. If you don't let your child use electric appliances like the stove and the washing machine, he or she shouldn't be allowed near exercise equipment.
And remember, there's no better safety measure than supervision!