The death of Mike Tyson's 4-year-old daughter has us wondering: What are the dangers of home exercise machines and how can we keep our kids safe?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 25,000 kids are injured each year due to home exercise equipment including stationary bikes, treadmills, stairclimbers, and elliptical machines. The number-one cause of death of children between the ages of 1-4 is, more than every disease combined, unintentional injury, including things like furniture falling over, a child drinking Windex, drowning, etc. The most unfortunate part of this is that these incidents can be prevented. Momlogic talked to child safety expert Kimberly Mitchell, owner of Boo Boo Busters, about the hidden dangers of exercise equipment and what we can do:
Exercise equipment should be OFF LIMITS to children. If you read the stickers and material when buying a machine, there are warnings all over the place saying children should not be allowed to use it. Do not let a child into an exercise room: put knob covers on doors or call a locksmith and get a special key for the door.
If exercise equipment is in an accessible place like the garage where your kids are coming/going, take the safety key from the exercise equipment -- REMOVE it from the machine -- and put it inside the house out of reach. If you don't have the key, it won't turn on. Newer equipment comes with magnets instead of keys for the same purpose: so that the equipment will turn off if you trip. Take this key off the equipment!
Put a gate up. In addition to locked doors, get gates. That way if someone leaves a door open, there is a secondary layer of protection for a young child.
Remember, children are creative thinkers. As parents, we need to remember that children use items in ways for which they were not intended. They will unintentionally put themselves in harm's way with this type of thinking. The blue water in a bottle of Windex may look delicious to a child -- think how they might think!
Don't leave weights lying around. There was a story a few years ago about a boy who decided to do bench presses in his grandfather's gym. Because there was no one there to help him, and the weight was too heavy, he suffocated.
Start baby/child-proofing as early as pregnancy. Choose rooms that are designated NO access: home gym, balcony, loft, garage, terrace, bathroom, the laundry room. Lock them.
Did you know? 90% of the 4.5 million trips to the ER could have been prevented! Check your fire alarms -- do they work? Do you have a way out of the house should an emergency happen?