A three-year-old girl nearly suffered an amputation after she was pulled underneath her mother’s home treadmill. The child required skin grafts on her hand, arm and chest and is expected to spend the next two years wearing compression clothing to protect and treat her injuries. Serious injuries from home exercise equipment, including many injuries to children, happen more regularly than one may expect. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 25,000 children up to fourteen years old are injured by home exercise equipment every year.
Home exercise products carry risks because the equipment is often large and has moving parts. Treadmills, elliptical machines, weight-lifting benches, stationary bicycles and rowing machines are among some of the most popular home workout items. In a study conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, researchers found that the majority of injuries occur when consumers fall into equipment or come in contact with moving parts.
According to Consumer Affairs, the CPSC has recalled at least 10 different treadmill models in the last ten years alone. The models were recalled for various mechanical defects; many of them were dangerous because they would change speed without warning. The number and type of injuries that occur from home exercise equipment indicates that there is a major cause for concern. Even if a product is made properly, the evidence proves that the equipment can still be highly dangerous to consumers.
In 2009, former boxer Mike Tyson lost his seven-year-old daughter after a fatal treadmill accident. The girl was believed to have been playing on the machine, which was not running, when the power cord wrapped around her neck. As a result, the child was unintentionally strangled. This tragic accident is one example that highlights how important it is not only for parents to always unplug a machine but also to lock their exercise equipment away.
CBS News did an investigation on equipment safety and found that the most likely injuries to occur are concussions, amputated fingers, burns and broken bones. As with all products, it is the legal responsibility of a manufacturer to ensure that it is reasonably safe. Consumers should not have to fear bodily injury or death from using a product.
Injuries from treadmills are not only common for children. The CPSC estimates that roughly 20,000 adults are sent to emergency rooms every year due to treadmill-related injuries. Safety experts say that when a person is distracted, the risk of injury increases. If a person is watching T.V. or using a phone, they may lose their footing and fall. Falls on a treadmill can result in serious or even fatal head trauma.
It is important to be cautious while using exercise equipment, although many types should have safety features in place to help limit injuries. For instance, many models of treadmills have safety keys that clip onto a person’s clothing. The safety key monitors if a person falls; if they do, the machine is supposed to shut off immediately. Weights or barbells should be stored in stable positions so that they are unlikely to fall. And, if children are going to be present during workouts, exercise equipment should be organized in such a way that the user can see his or her surroundings. Most reports indicate that the safest practice is to keep children away from home exercise equipment.
To make sure that you do not own a recalled treadmill or any other type of home exercise equipment that could be putting you at risk, please search for product recalls.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, please contact one of our skilled products liability lawyers in Reading. At Galand Berger, we are happy to answer your questions and review your case for free. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.