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Home Exercise Equipment - Hidden Hazards

Hidden Dangers


Updated May 27, 2009

For many teens and adults, the biggest hazard from home exercise equipment is simply that they don't use them enough -- leading to a lot of inactivity and risk of obesity.

Home exercise equipment can put younger children at risk for injuries, which are sometimes serious, including fractures and finger amputations.

Other injuries can include:

  • head injuries and crush injuries from falling weights
  • falls on treadmills, causing severe abrasions, cuts, and friction burns
  • jump-rope strangulations

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are about 8,700 injuries to children under five years of age from home exercise equipment, including stationary bicycles, treadmills, and stair climbers. Older children, between ages five and 14 often get hurt on home exercise equipment too, with the CPSC reporting about 16,500 injuries a year to children in this age group.

Home Exercise Equipment Safety

To keep your kids safe from your home exercise equipment, it may help to:

  • keep your exercise equipment in a room that you can childproof, lock, and keep off-limits to your kids
  • don't let your kids play on your exercise equipment.
  • unplug exercise equipment when you are done using it.
  • don't let older kids use your exercise equipment without adult supervision.
  • make sure your stationary bike has a chain guard, so that your kids can't get their fingers caught in the chain.
  • choose exercise equipment that has a safety key or switch that automatically turns off when it is pulled out.
  • don't let your younger kids play nearby while you are working out, since they may get their fingers or hands caught in the equipment while you are using it. This is a common scenario for treadmill accidents, when an infant or toddler comes up behind a parent running or walking on a treadmill, and gets their hand caught on the belt at the back of the treadmill.
  • don't wear headphones when you are working out if your kids are home, since you will be less likely to hear them if they are nearby.
  • if necessary, put your infant or toddler in a nearby play yard while you are working out on your home exercise equipment or try to time your work out with your child's naps.
  • don't leave heavy weights, hanging cords (jump ropes, resistance bands, etc.), or other equipment that could pose a hidden danger where your kids can play with them.
  • don't put your home exercise equipment in your family room or game room, since it will be hard to restrict access to them in these rooms.
  • store unused exercise equipment somewhere that your kids can't get to it.


Consumer Product Safety Commission. Prevent Injuries to Children From Exercise Equipment. CPSC Document #5028.

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