15 Jun 2021
Urgent Safety Warning for Treadmills and Children
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
Dozens of children seriously injured and one killed by popular in-home treadmill
Life in Tampa has changed drastically since the coronavirus. From remote work and school schedules to new ways to attend events and connect with others, COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on how we live. While some lifestyle changes have been positive, one trend is proving problematic.
Treadmill injuries among children grow in frequency and severity
Sales for at-home fitness equipment have increased by 170 percent since March 2020. When the coronavirus forced many gyms and exercise studios to close, tens of thousands of individuals resorted to working out at home. As a result, sales of treadmills soared by 135 percent, while those of stationary bikes nearly tripled.
But a secondary trend has also emerged. Since March 2020, over 2,000 children under the age of eight have been seriously injured by treadmills. The alarming rise in child injuries has prompted a popular fitness equipment manufacturer, Peloton, to recall two of its treadmills, the Tread or Tread+, after receiving reports of 72 children being seriously injured and one tragically killed in-home accidents.
Why are treadmills so dangerous for small children?
Treadmills pose the same hazards that exist in industrial conveyor systems. The conveyors found in treadmills typically consist of a moving belt supported by a metal bed. The bed is looped around two pulleys (rollers) and is powered by a motor. When moving, the motorized conveyor belt of a treadmill draws objects in and under the walking surface and makes it extremely difficult to withdraw entrapped body parts.
The most common types of injuries are usually from mobile infants and toddlers reaching, crawling of climbing onto a moving belt to reach a parent or older sibling.
- Small fingers, hands and hair can quickly get caught in the belt mechanism resulting in the removal of skin and muscles, serious burns, fractures, amputations, and other injuries.
- Children can also be thrown from the equipment, resulting in larger fractures or concussions. Sometimes, the parent will be injured as well, losing balance as their child reaches for them, startles them, or as they react to the injury of their child as it is occurring.
- In the case of the Peloton Tread and Tread+ recall, these treadmills were considered more dangerous to children because they sit higher off the ground and the belt was slatted versus being a continuous surface. Both increased the risk that a child could get pulled underneath.
Not-so-friendly treadmill parts
Like other heavy machinery, treadmills aren’t necessarily designed with children in mind. Here are some parts to watch out for.
● The Gap: Mind the gap! The moving belt on a treadmill can be especially dangerous to children’s hands. Some treadmill frames are designed to conceal any gap between the track and the rest of the machine, but most home treadmills have an exposed space that’s large enough to trap little fingers.
● The Track: Children have been known to start a treadmill, speed it up, and fly off the track.
● The Cords: Some treadmills have power cords or console cords that dangle within children’s reach. In 2009, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson lost his daughter in a treadmill cord accident.
Tips to help keep children safe around treadmills
Common sense and special treadmill features can help prevent treadmill accidents with children.
- Restrict children’s physical access to the treadmill. If the door to a home gym room cannot be locked, then a portable gate might be useful.
- Have your treadmill face the doorway. That way, you can see if a child enters the room.
- Never leave a running treadmill unattended.
- If possible, set a security passcode on the treadmill. This option is available on more expensive models.
- Keep the safety stop key handy. Most treadmills can be brought to an abrupt stop with a key if needed.
- Keep the safety key away from little mouths. Ironically, some safety keys are small enough to be choking hazards.
- Keep treadmill cords tidy. Affix them to the machine, use cord protectors, or otherwise ensure that they cannot be looped around a child’s neck.
What can you do if you or your child are injured by at-home fitness equipment?
Peloton’s product defects claimed the life of a six-year-old child and injured dozens of others. The Tampa personal injury attorneys at Darrigo & Diaz have a deep understanding of the time, energy, and tenacity it takes to litigate a defective product claim against a billion-dollar company like Peloton.
Contact Darrigo & Diaz, Tampa personal injury lawyers immediately
Call 813-437-5523 for a free consultation
If you or a loved one have been injured by at-home fitness equipment or any other defective product, you are likely experiencing pain, anger, and confusion about what to do next. This is where the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Darrigo & Diaz can help.
For over two decades, Darrigo & Diaz has helped thousands of accident victims and their families in the greater Tampa Bay community. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney Nadine Diaz, our experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers provide trusted, personalized legal guidance, designed to get you results. We are an esteemed member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®, and we have over 250 5-Star Google Reviews attesting to our ability to meet and exceed client expectations.
We offer FREE, no-obligation consultations, and you do not have to pay for anything, unless we secure a financial settlement for you. Learn more about our services by calling our Tampa personal injury lawyers today at 813-437-5523.