Working It Out: Safe Home Gyms
Home gyms are great ways to get in shape — especially for busy parents who might not get the time to go to the gym. Treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines and weightlifting equipment are easy to access in your home during your child’s nap times, while your child watches TV and after your child’s bedtime.
But a home gym can also be a hazard to your children if you’re not careful. In the United States, approximately 12,000 children each year are treated in emergency rooms for home-gym related injuries. The majority of those hurt were younger than 10 years old. Lacerations, head injuries and damage to the fingers, hands and feet are the most commonly seen accidents.
So, how can you keep your child safe from home gym injuries?
- Keep it on lockdown. Keep your exercise equipment in a room your children can’t access. Many machines have a locking mechanism so that kids can’t turn them on when you’re not around.
- Make ground rules. Explain to your children that exercise equipment isn’t a toy and they should never play with it or on it, even if you are in the room. Let them know how dangerous it could be if they fall off of the exercise machine or get their fingers caught in the moving belt.
- Be on alert. Many children are hurt by moving machines while their parents are using them. If you want to exercise, make sure you know where your children are and what they are doing. If it is possible to occupy them with an activity in another room safely, then do so. The best time to exercise would be during nap times. Once you are on the machine, keep alert. Your children could approach from behind, and you might not see them.
- Keep your ears open. Don’t wear headphones, as this makes it harder to tune in to your surroundings.
Reviewed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD
Date: May 2013