With reports of retail stores across the country selling out of fitness equipment and many people turning to home workout solutions in the wake of gym closures due to COVID-19, Kidsafe Victoria is urging parents and carers to be extra vigilant when setting up and using home gym equipment, in a bid to reduce the risk of serious injuries to children.
Statistics from the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit (VISU) reveal that in the 2018/19 financial year, 127 Victorian children aged 0-14 years were treated in hospital due to an injury involving home exercise equipment. Almost half (49.6%) of these injuries occurred in children aged 0-4 years.
Treadmills were involved in over a third of all injuries (37%), followed by dumbbells/weights (26%) and exercise bikes (7%).
Jason Chambers, General Manager of Kidsafe Victoria, highlighted the serious hazards that home exercise equipment can pose for children.
“Motorised equipment, such as treadmills and exercise bikes, are made for adults and can be extremely dangerous for children. They often consist of sharp, moving parts that operate at high speeds, which can easily trap little fingers or cause severe friction burns.”
“There are also a range of other hazards, including heavy equipment such as weights and medicine balls which pose a crushing hazard, and long strings and bands which can pose a strangulation hazard”, said Mr Chambers.
If you have set up or are thinking about setting up gym equipment in your home, Kidsafe Victoria advises that there are a few simple steps that can be followed to help keep children safe.
“With families spending more time at home and parents focused on everything from homeschooling their children to juggling working from home commitments, one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk is to restrict children’s access to exercise equipment. This can be achieved by setting up the equipment in a spare room that can be locked, or using safety products such as barriers and gates”,
said Mr Chambers.
Kidsafe Victoria has released a list of top tips to help parents and carers assess the safety of their
home fitness equipment:
Top tips for making your home gym ‘Kidsafe’.
- Restrict children’s access to exercise equipment. This can be done by setting up or storingequipment in a spare room that can be locked, or by using safety products such as barriers and gates.
- When purchasing motorised equipment, look for products that come with safety features such as child proof switches or lockout codes, protective covers and a safety stop switch.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when setting up and using equipment – these will also have important information about how to set up and use the safety features.
- Make sure all motorised equipment is unplugged at the wall when not in use.
- Ensure the area surrounding the equipment is clear of children and objects before use
- Remove/secure any dangling cords.
- If a child sustains a friction burn, first aid treatment is the same as other burns – place the injury under cool running water for 20 minutes, and seek medical assistance. Never use ice, oil or creams as these can make the burn worse.