How this in-home workout equipment can pose a burn risk to children

How this in-home workout equipment can pose a burn risk to children

BOSTON — When people talk about burn safety, we often think of flames, cooking surfaces or too much time in the sun.

However, when it comes to children, especially the more curious little ones, treadmills can actually pose a very serious risk. That’s one of the many reasons why most gyms don’t allow children near the cardio equipment.

While exercise trends come and go, right now it’s not just exercise bikes that are all the hype, but in-home treadmills are back in style and fast-moving treadmill belts and small hands have sent several children to Shriner’s Hospital.

Content Continues Below

Doctors are hoping to avoid the latest trend in pediatric burns by increasing parents’ awareness of the risks their in-home workout could pose. This doesn’t go to say, however, that parents should avoid exercising at home just because their little ones are around.

“Curious children will find a way to get a hand in to anything that is interesting," said Doctor Rob Sheridan, Shriner’s Interim Chief of Staff.

A trend that became very popular in the late 80s into the 90s, having treadmills at home in 2020 has changed drastically from the old treadmills your parents used to keep in the basement. Now equipped with screens and online classes, it’s easier to distract from everything else around you; inside a gym that may be ideal, but at home it could become a real danger.

When Maddison Thayer was just 9-years-old, her hand was badly burned by a treadmill at her grandfather’s house.

“Her hand was placed on the moving belt and immediately got stuck underneath the treadmill," said Emily Thayer, Maddison’s mother.

Now older, the pageant queen remembers the experience vividly.

“I remember being in shock when it happened, I didn’t really know what had happened but I knew I was hurt but I was more stunned at the moment," said Maddison.

After receiving emergency treatment near her home in Maine, Maddison was transferred to Shriner’s in Boston.

“It’s all healed up now, it took way longer than they thought it would heal up," said Maddison.

Although no one had been running on the treadmill when Maddison was injured, the more common injury happens to a child when a parent is running.

“It’s usually a toddler playing at the foot of the treadmill in use and there are little nooks and crannies that they can get their fingers in to and can pull their hand in," said Dr. Sheridan.

When it comes to exercise bikes, Dr. Sheridan said the risk is certainly there but it’s not something they see often.

The biggest tips for parents are to always be aware of where your child is while they exercise and if needed, to place them in a separate room until their workout is complete.