Home treadmills alert after children treated for injuries
DOCTORS HAVE warned parents about the dangers of treadmills in the home after a number of children were seen by plastic surgeons at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, Dublin, for hand injuries sustained on the running machines.
A review of files at the hospital has found 12 children had to be treated for friction burns sustained from treadmills over a 27-month period. In all but one case, the injuries were sustained in the home, often when the children were unsupervised.
The children who were injured ranged in age from one to seven years. Eight of them required admission to hospital and three needed surgery.
The review, published in the latest edition of the Irish Medical Journal, was conducted in response to an increase in treadmill injuries attending the plastic and reconstructive surgery service in the hospital and to highlight treadmill friction burns as a public health issue.
The authors of the study state that an ever growing interest in health and fitness, increased prosperity in Ireland in the recent past, and reduced equipment prices resulted in home exercise machinery becoming commonplace.
They found that the overall number of treadmill friction injuries seen in the unit between January 2006 and March 2008 was small but appeared to be increasing. More were seen for example in 2007 than in 2006.
Lack of adult supervision accounted for most incidents. In half the cases reviewed, the child was unsupervised in the room where the treadmill was placed, and in a further 33 per cent an adult was using the machine, unaware of the child approaching from the rear.
“This is a typical mechanism of injury and would suggest that parents are unaware of the dangers posed by treadmills and that an adult presence in the room does not negate the risk of injury,” the study states.
The most common injury was children’s fingers being trapped at the rear of the machine between the belt and the casing. “This pattern is typical but in no case was the machine fitted with any kind of safety sensor to detect this or to stop in response to such an event.
“The National Standards Authority of Ireland issued guidelines on specific safety requirements for treadmills in 2005, but without reference to particular child safety measures,” the authors state.