Warning over treadmills

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NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, has issued a warning about the dangers of treadmills after shocking facts revealed that young children are at great risk of injuring themselves on the equipment.

The ACI Statewide Burn Injury Service has reported that from January 2011 to January 2013, 74 patients sustained a burn involving a treadmill. Three were adults and the rest children with an average age of 3.5 years.

More than 80 per cent sustained a burn to either one or both hands, 75 per cent did not have adequate first aid administered and 91 per cent of the injuries occurred in a domestic residence.

Injuries happen when a baby or toddler moves to the back of the treadmill, where they are out of sight. They either touch the moving belt or get their hand caught under it, causing friction burns.

“Always keep young children away from fitness machines and make sure they cannot reach any moving part,” Mr Stowe said.

There have been several incidents in Sydney’s west, with patients presenting to the Burns Unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Associate Professor John Harvey, Head of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s Burns Unit, said he fully endorses the warning from Fair Trading.

“We frequently see treadmill injuries in the toddler age group,” he said.

“These include crush injuries to the hands and fingers, fractures and most commonly serious friction burns to hands and fingers. These burns often require skin grafting surgery.”

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