A home gym is a healthy investment for you, but it puts your kids at risk for serious injury. Whether you have free weights or a large machine, such as an elliptical or treadmill, childproofing the equipment is necessary if you have kids in the home.
If possible, set up your home gym in a separate room with a door that you can lock. This allows you to block access to the equipment so your child can’t get anywhere near it.
If you don’t have a separate space for the exercise equipment, set it all up in one area of a room. If possible, put electronic equipment, such as treadmills near the wall outlet. This keeps the electric cord out of reach of your child and reduces strangulation risks. Arrange the furniture to create a barricade to at least separate the equipment from the rest of the room. If you have young kids, consider a fence-style baby gate that spans across the room. This keeps your child away from the equipment.
The safest way to use home exercise equipment is when your child is being supervised in another room. Keeping him completely away from the running exercise equipment is best. He might run up behind you while on the treadmill or sit down right by your feet while you’re using free weights. Those situations put him at risk for an injury. Since you’re in the middle of exercising, it’s difficult to stop fast enough to prevent an injury.
If you do exercise with your child in the room, set him up on the other side of the room with an engaging activity. Watch him the entire time you exercise so you see immediately if he comes near you. Skip listening to music. If you can’t hear your child, you might miss a plea for help or movement.
When not in use, secure the equipment as much as possible. Always unplug treadmills or other equipment that plugs in so your child cannot accidentally turn it on and get hurt. Wrap up the cord and secure it out of sight if possible. Exercise equipment sometimes comes with a security key that shuts off the machine if it becomes unplugged. Remove that from the machine any time you aren’t using it as another backup so it doesn’t start.
Look for any strangulation hazards on the equipment. Any hanging cord or wire can potentially cause your child to become entrapped and strangled. Secure any dangling cords or strings to the machine itself using zip ties.
If the exercise equipment folds up, use that feature when you aren’t using it. If the treadmill is folded up and tucked away, your child cannot get on it and use it. Some equipment, such as ellipticals, might have a locking mechanism so the machine doesn’t work unless unlocked. Always use those safety options when the machine isn’t in use.
Teaching About Safety
As soon as your child is old enough to understand, teach him about the dangers of exercise equipment. Let him know he should never touch or use the equipment. With regular lessons on equipment safety plus your childproofing efforts your reduce the risk of injury to your child.