Dozens of children have been injured and one killed by a popular at-home treadmill
To say the coronavirus pandemic has changed lives throughout the Carolinas would be an understatement. From remote work and school schedules to new ways to attend events and connect with others, COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on our day-to-day lives. While some lifestyle changes have been positive, one trend is raising concerns about child safety.
Children are being injured by treadmills at an alarming rate
Since March 2020, sales for at-home fitness equipment have increased by 170 percent. Under stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, many gyms and exercise studios in North and South Carolina were forced to close for weeks, if not months. This prompted tens of thousands of individuals to work out at home—a trend that has continued even as businesses resume normal operation. As a result, treadmill sales have soared by 135 percent.
But an unexpected trend has also emerged. In the past year, over 2,000 children under the age of 8 have been seriously injured by treadmills. The alarming rise in child injuries has pressured a popular fitness equipment manufacturer, Peloton, to recall the Tread and Tread+, after 72 children were seriously injured and one 6-year-old girl was tragically killed by their machines.
Why are treadmills dangerous for small children?
Treadmills pose the same hazards that exist in industrial conveyor systems. When the treadmill is turned on, the motorized conveyor belt pulls the track through a small gap and runs it through a metal bed. Due to the design, it is extremely difficult to withdraw entrapped objects or body parts—such as small hands and fingers—from the underside of a treadmill conveyor belt.
Most common types of treadmill injuries among children:
- Small fingers, hands, and hair can quickly get caught in the treadmill conveyor belt causing the removal of skin and muscle tissue, serious friction burns, fractures, amputations, and even death.
- Mobile infants and toddlers crawl or climb onto a moving treadmill belt to reach for a parent or sibling, resulting in them being thrown from the equipment. Common injuries include bruises, cuts, fractures, and concussions.
- In the case of the Peloton Tread and Tread+ recall, these treadmills were considered more hazardous to children because they sit higher off the ground and the belt is slatted versus being a continuous surface. This design increases the risk of a child being caught and pulled underneath the conveyor belt.
Parents beware: 3 most dangerous parts of a treadmill
Like most heavy machinery, treadmills are not designed with children in mind. Therefore, watch out for the 3 most dangerous parts of a treadmill.
- The Gap: The gap between the motorized conveyor belt and the frame of the treadmill is very dangerous because it can entrap small hands, fingers, hair, shoelaces, and clothing.
- The Track: When left unsupervised, children can start the 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.
5 tips to help keep children safe around treadmills
The majority of child treadmill injuries can be avoided. Here are 5 tips to help keep children safe around treadmills.
- 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?
A defect in Peloton’s at-home fitness equipment caused the death of a 6-year-old girl and injured more than 72 others. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Auger & Auger 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 Auger & Auger, North Carolina and South Carolina personal injury lawyers immediately
Call 855-969-5730 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 experienced North Carolina and South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Auger & Auger can help.
For over two decades, Auger & Auger has helped thousands of accident victims and their families throughout North and South Carolina. We are a compassionate group of attorneys who fight for our clients. We pride ourselves on providing superior service, individual attention to every client, and aggressive representation.
We offer FREE, no-obligation consultations to all potential clients. And, you don’t have to pay for anything unless we secure a financial settlement for you. Call 855-969-5730 now to schedule your complimentary meeting with our experienced personal injury lawyers.