When you have kids, the most important thing is keeping them safe. There are plenty of things you likely have done around your house to meet this goal. For example, it’s critical to secure furniture to the wall to prevent injuries.
Recently, there has been a lot of attention focused on exercise equipment as well.
The Peloton company announced they would recall all of their popular treadmills in response to a young child’s recent death. Sales of the high-end treadmills have been paused as well.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also announced a separate recall of the treadmills and urged people to stop using them right away.
This comes around a month after a child died in an accident with one of Peloton’s treadmills. The reason that these treadmills may be especially dangerous is because of the belt technology that puts a gap between the belt itself and the floor below.
It’s not just Peloton treadmills that can be dangerous to children, however.
There is a real risk for kids around exercise equipment. Because of the pandemic, a lot more people are working out from home than in the past, making this an even more important point right now.
The following are some tips to help keep children safe around home gym and exercise equipment.
Know the Risks
The biggest thing for parents to take away here is the risks.
Children are fascinated by workout equipment, and even older kids might want to try it out, leading to possible injuries.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health estimates that 25,000 kids younger than ten have injuries related to exercise equipment every year.
Injuries frequently sustained can include friction burns, finger amputations, broken bones, and concussions.
Just by knowing what a risk this equipment poses, you’re already taking a step in the right direction.
It’s not just motorized equipment like treadmills that are dangerous to kids. Free weights are as well. Some general tips to keep your kids safe if you have home workout equipment include:
- Don’t let young kids ever be around equipment unsupervised. You should only have a home gym in a space with a lockable door, and you should additionally include a safety gate if you have younger kids.
- When you’re not using motorized equipment, unplug it. Secure the power cords safely.
- If there’s a safety key with the equipment, which is often the case with treadmills, take it out of the machine and keep it somewhere separate and away from your kids.
- If you have a bench press, take all the weights off when you’re done using it.
- If you have free weights, keep them on the floor. If they’re on a rack, a child can pull them over on themselves.
- Don’t hang things on your exercise equipment. For example, don’t hang clothes or similar items on handles because a child can hang themselves on it or strangle themselves.
- With your smaller equipment, if you can lock it in a closet when you’re not using it, that’s best.
Let Your Kids Know the Rules
Even with young kids, it’s important to be firm with them and let them know the rules about being around exercise equipment. They should know the risks, and you should have boundaries for what they do when the equipment is around. Of course, they should only be around your equipment when you’re there with them.
If you have older kids, you should also go over the risks with them. If they’re old enough to potentially use the equipment themselves, you should show them how to do it properly, have guidelines for use, and you should still supervise them.
Even though your children should theoretically never be around your workout equipment when you’re not there, sometimes things happen in a busy life.
If you can add a camera in your workout area, it will give you the peace of mind that nothing is happening that shouldn’t be. You can set it up so that you receive an alert on your phone if the door to that room is opened, for example. You can also use a simple door alarm that’s not connected to your phone but will make a sound.
You really can’t be too cautious when it comes to kids being around workout equipment, as the Peloton situation has shown. While safe equipment is important, even with the best-designed items, there are risks that require vigilant parenting and an understanding of how to keep your kids safe.