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Treadmills to warn of injury risk to children

Treadmills to warn of injury risk to children
June 18, 2009

Treadmills will be required to carry compulsory warning labels after a disturbing rise in children suffering friction burns and other injuries.

In the last few years more than 100 Australian children have been seriously injured by treadmills at home.

Prominent warnings to keep youngsters away from the popular fitness machines must be displayed on any equipment sold in Australia from 1st December.

Federal Consumer Affairs Minister Chris Bowen (now promoted to the Federal Cabinet as Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law and Minister for Human Services) recently explained that "the evidence from the consumer regulators and state-based injury data is that there have been an increasing number of small children suffering from severe friction burns when coming into contact with the moving parts of a treadmill."

Dozens of youngsters have needed surgery and extensive rehabilitation after tripping and burning skin or trapping fingers in working treadmills. These friction burns can take many months to heal, sometimes requiring skin graft operations and even plastic surgery when the child is older.

Most injuries happen when a baby or toddler moves to the back of the operating treadmill (where they are out of sight) and either touches the moving belt or gets their hand caught under it.

However, Minister Bowen added that the new safety standard was no replacement for the responsibility of parents.

In NSW, a State safety standard took effect on 1st June 2009. It requires all new treadmills to carry a prominent warning sticker to alert treadmill users to keep children away from machines when they are in use.

In tandem with the standard, NSW Fair Trading has developed a safety awareness education campaign warning parents and carers of the dangers associated with home treadmills, which includes the distribution of thousands of posters 'Treadmills and kids donât mix!' to all childcare centres, family day care, preschools, playgroups and community health and baby health centres across NSW.

Troubled boxer Mike Tyson's daughter recently died in a tragic treadmill accident in the United States. Four year old Exodus Tyson, choked when her head slipped through a noose-like cord hanging beneath a treadmill console at her Phoenix home.

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