Peloton has recently been in the news for injuries involving their equipment and small children. While we will never blame parents for accidental child injuries, we want to address things that you can do at home to minimize the risk of injury on equipment. Many of us never considered that exercise equipment could be that big of danger for children. We often overlook the fact curious children will do the unexpected. Your beautiful little one may have never given your exercise bike a second look, but he or she is often enamored with what you do. When you aren’t looking, your little one might try copying what they see.
This Isn’t New
Though Peloton has been in the news recently, accidents involving exercise equipment aren’t new. Children are curious and want to climb and push buttons. In 2009, Boxer, Mike Tyson, lost a child due to an injury while playing around with exercise equipment. Parents have struggled with these issues since gym equipment has been kept in the home. Even free weights can be an issue to children, so we will examine a few things you can do to keep your children safer.
Keep Out of Reach of Children
Whenever possible, keep your equipment and children separate. This is not always easy to do, but it is possible in many situations. Keep your home gym in a room where children do not often enter. A home office space or spare bedroom are great options when possible. Keep the door locked when you aren’t present to keep children away. If you cannot put them in a spare bedroom or office, try to keep them secured in common areas. A locking box for free weights and removing the keys or unplugging equipment when not in use can be helpful.
Turning Off Equipment Isn’t Enough
Children are curious and like to push buttons. They often want to copy mom and dad. They see you push buttons to begin cycling, walking, or rowing. They do not always know what equipment does or what the buttons mean. Emergency keys and plugs should be disconnected when not in use. Without the emergency key, most equipment cannot be used.
Additionally, unplug or disconnect the equipment. Some items even have removable cords. You can unplug and take the cord with you to ensure it cannot be plugged back into the socket.
Watch Children When Using Equipment
One of the worst feelings is injuring a child you did not see. When you are working out, it is stressful to watch children at the same time. Have someone else watch children, safety gates installed, or use play yards to contain your child. Elliptical and bike pedals can hit children and knock them down or hurt them. Likewise, they can try to mount a treadmill with you. Trying to watch out for curious children and paying attention to your workout can be overwhelming, though. Separating them from your workout time is your best bet, if possible.
Teach Children How to Use the Equipment Properly
Children and adults alike get injured when they do not know how to use the equipment properly. If your child is old enough to use the equipment, be sure to teach them to use it properly. Safety and cleaning routines should be reviewed with your child before allowing them to use the equipment. They should also never use equipment without adult supervision. Most gyms do not like people to use equipment without help the first time, and your home should be no different. Teaching children the proper uses of equipment and maintaining safety will decrease the likelihood of accidents.
Repair or Replace Broken Equipment
Unfortunately, equipment wears out and breaks down over time, even with proper maintenance schedules. When something needs to be repaired by a professional, separate it from other equipment or block it off if possible. Explain to users, children, and adults why they cannot use the equipment and whether it will be repaired. Discard broken equipment as soon as possible. Large pieces of equipment sometimes require making arrangements for haul away, so take care of this as quickly as possible.
Review Safety with Non-Users
Even if your children are too young to use the equipment, you should review safety with them as well. They should understand that the equipment is not a toy and that they can be injured by playing with it. This might even be the most crucial suggestion on the list. Small children understand danger and should be taught what is dangerous around the house.
Equipment Shouldn’t Do Your Laundry
Don’t use your equipment as a clothes rack or storage. Children do not always know that the equipment has another use and can pull things over or climb on equipment when doing double duty. Likewise, it can be easy to pull on something hung up and push a start button or other button on the equipment. If you cannot use equipment due to time or personal injury, store it properly. Some treadmills can be stored in an upright position. If this is the case, raise the walking surface and push the equipment to the wall not to be accidentally lowered.
Keep Areas Free of Debris
Keep the floor and surrounding area free of clutter and debris. Stacked books can topple into machines with the floor vibration. This can cause a child using equipment properly to be injured. While this is not a likely accident, neither are many accidents that take children’s lives each year on exercise equipment. Tripping hazards will also keep children from stumbling into pedals or gears on equipment.
We know that the parents involved in these accidents did not intend on their children’s injuries. This is why they are called accidents. However, this is a time when an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Following these and manufacturing safety recommendations will decrease your child’s likelihood of being injured. In case of injury, contact a medical professional immediately by calling 911 or visiting the emergency room or urgent care.