There is no mistaking the comfort and convenience of having exercise equipment in your home. What better way to make sure that you set a good example for your kids than showing them how to integrate daily physical activity in your life?
The problem is that treadmills can pose a number of safety concerns for children. Sometimes young children and treadmills are placed in the same area and competing for the same space. Frequently parents will place treadmills in play rooms in order to multitask their work out while supervising children. Unfortunately without adequate supervision or education, children can, and sometimes do, become injured in the home while playing on or around treadmills.
Does that mean the treadmill has to go? Absolutely not! What it means instead is that some instruction is required and preparation to make a safe environment for everyone. So how do you keep your favorite exercise routine in the home without exposing your children to injury or harm? We started with a great article we found called "Home Treadmill Safety for Families" and put together a number of common sense and affordable tips to help you "kid proof" your treadmill and educate you kids on the proper use of exercise equipment.
Power It Down
If you need to take a break or if you are interrupted while using the treadmill, simply turn off the machine before leaving the room. It is easy for a child to climb onto a treadmill and begin pushing assorted buttons, accidentally activating the track. That is how almost all child injuries occur, but can easily be prevented.
Tip: Make sure you always completely power down any exercise equipment prior to leaving the room for the safety of children and also pets. Wrap up the cord and hide it under the unit when not in use. Consider purchasing a key locked console machine for more control over operation. Completely turning the power off will also save you money on your electric bill.
Move Your Treadmill
Owning a treadmill is more affordable than maintaining a gym membership (particularly when you factor in travel time and costs). If you have always had a treadmill in your home and you are a new parent, there is no need to get rid of your treadmill. But you may need to move it. Kids shouldn't use the treadmill.
Distractions are the easiest way to sustain an injury on a treadmill. Watching television or listening to loud music, or working out in close proximity to children who do not understand the dangers of the operating equipment can create a serious situation. If you must work out in the same room, position your treadmill so that you are in a direct line of sight with your child at all times in front of you.
Tip: Try to move your treadmill to a room where access is limited for children. If that is not possible maintain supervision of children at all times when operating exercise equipment near them. An ounce of prevention will protect your family and their safety at home.
Educate Your Kids
You don't need to hire an expert or an advisor to "child proof" your home. There are a lot of companies that would like to provide a costly service for your peace of mind when all you really need is your own common sense. Special locks and other expensive preventative measures are great but they are no replacement for educating your children. What you do need is to take the time to explain the inherent dangers of operating equipment to your kids to stop injuries before they happen.
Tip: Set some preventive ground rules when it comes to the exercise equipment and enforce them. Children under sixteen years of age should not be using a treadmill, particularly without the direct supervision of an adult. Set a good example by teaching your kids how to be responsible around the equipment for their own safety and well being.
The treadmill and other exercise equipment are a valuable part of maintaining a regular exercise regime. For most families, children grow up adopting the good example set by parents that make exercise a part of their lives. You don't want to discourage that because it sets a very healthy and lifelong example for your kids.
Instead teach your children to respect and understand how to responsibly use exercise equipment when they are old enough to use it safely. Provide them with other alternatives that are safe for them such as family walks outside and other opportunities to exercise. Don't discourage their interest in fitness, simply teach them that treadmills and other equipment are for use by adults and give them other fun things to explore instead.