Easy Safety Tips to Child Proof Your Home Fitness Equipment

Child Nutrition According to a study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, an average of 87-hundred home exercise equipment related injuries involve children each year. Almost thirty-percent of these injuries occur to infants and children five years old and under. According to the JAOA report, a 2-year old boy unintentionally got his hand caught between the belt and support bar of a treadmill while his mother was using the equipment. Even though the mother immediately stopped the machine by disengaging the safety key, the little boy still required treatment to severe burns from the belt on his hand and fingers. Injuries also occur from elliptical machines, stationary bikes, weights, and other equipment. Children should be taught the dangers of exercise equipment and machines from an early age. Take extra precautions to childproof your home gym and workout equipment and if small children are present while exercise equipment is in use, be sure you keep them in sight at all times!

Childproof Your Exercise Area

Select a room for your home gym setup that has a door that can be locked when not in use. Lock the room whenever you are finished and be sure to keep the key out of reach of curious children! If you use the room where you have your exercise equipment for other purposes such as crafts, or home office, be sure to install a door lock and keep all equipment locked or at least unplugged when not in use. A designated room that is locked when not in use is the best way to childproof your home gym. If you work out while children are home, install a child-safety gate that can be locked to prevent little ones from opening it. You can then work out and toddlers can play on the other side of the gate within sight without accidents happening to either you or your children due to distractions. While the use of exercise equipment is healthy for adults and even older children with proper training and supervision, health equipment holds serious risks and danger to young children.

Select Exercise Equipment that Includes Safety Features

When purchasing home exercise equipment, look for safety features to prevent injury from moving parts. Many elliptical machines and stationary bikes include child safety guards that snap onto the pedals and prevent the pedals from being moved until the guards are taken off. Make it a habit to take a moment to snap the safety guards in place after a workout. Even though your children may have been instructed not to play on or with exercise equipment, curious children will often ‘forget’ the rules if they are unsupervised even briefly! Some treadmills and other exercise equipment feature a lockout password option to prevent use unless the password is coded in prior to starting the machinery. Use a key-activated treadmill or elliptical as an extra safety measure. These machines cannot be started unless the key is in place and then a cord is clipped to the user that will pull the key out should a runner fall. Keep all keys out of reach of children when not in use. Many machines can be folded and locked into a folded position when not in use. If your equipment folds for storage, unplug the equipment and fold it then put it away when young children are in the home.

Keep Young Children in Sight!

Consumer Reports notes that many children are injured while an adult is using a treadmill and does not see a small child behind them or underneath the machine. Whenever possible place a treadmill or elliptical in a corner facing the center of the room. Alternatively, at an angle that allows a child to only approach it from one direction that you have a clear view of at all times. As previously mentioned, it is best to keep children out of the area when machines are in use. However, if they must be in the area when exercise equipment is in use, consider using a playpen or swing to keep very young children away from equipment. Always familiarize yourself with the safety recommendations in the user’s manual and follow the recommendations.

Educate, Train and Supervise

Educate and train older children on the use of a treadmill, elliptical, free weights, or other exercise equipment before allowing them to use the equipment. Strength training and the use of some equipment can be beneficial to older children but only with proper training and supervision. When there are younger children in the house, be sure older children are aware of the need for extra precautions to make sure smaller children are not on, under, or near any equipment being used. Do not allow children to use the equipment without supervision and be sure the safety features are used at all times. Explain to children that the equipment is not a toy. Explain the dangers of gym equipment and that playing on the equipment or using it improperly can cause serious injury to themselves or others. Gym safety rules are just as important in a home gym as they are a commercial gym. Be sure everyone in the home is aware of the rules and safety precautions when equipment is in use at any time.