Treadmill warning as fitness trend hits full swing

RISKS of children sustaining friction burns from treadmills can be reduced with the right features, a Port Macquarie retailer says. 

The advice follows statewide statistics released this month showing from January 1, 2011 to January 1 this year, 74 patients sustained a burn involving a treadmill. Three were adults and the rest children with an average age of three years.

ACI Statewide Burn Injury Service compiled the figures.

Port Macquarie’s Workout World owner Sue Lewis says it is best to select folding treadmills with high levers so small children are unable to reach and hydraulic return so the machine folds out slowly and safely.

In 2011, NSW Fair Trading introduced laws where all treadmills must have warning stickers and staff must deliver safety spiels to customers looking at new machines.

Mrs Lewis said the first question she and staff member Craig Vurman ask customers is who will be using the machine and did they have children.

“If people come in with children, we don’t turn treadmills on unless a parent is holding the child or has taken them over to another part of the store,” she said.

With her own treadmill while her children were toddlers, Mrs Lewis either exercised while they were napping or placed a play pen around the machine while she jogged with them in the room.

“Toddlers can climb onto the back of treadmills trying to reach mum without her realising,” Mrs Lewis said.

Removing safety keys from machines and storing them out of reach of little ones was another tip the owner had to improve safety around treadmills.

Fines for retailers failing to stick stickers on machines or to deliver safety instructions were up to $100,000.

Mrs Lewis said the message was particularly timely as it is the busiest time of year for fitness retailers.

The ACI reported more than 80 per cent sustained a burn to either one or both hands, 75 percent did not have adequate first aid administered and 91 percent of the injuries occurred in a domestic residence.

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