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Consumer Reports: Treadmill Safety

Posted at 6:38 AM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 09:04:26-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - In September of 2018, tragedy struck a Pennsylvania home when a 5-year-old boy died after getting pulled underneath a treadmill by the moving belt.

"People don't really understand how dangerous this moving belt can be," says Consumer Reports Treadmill Expert, Peter Anzalone.

Anzalone says you can take several steps to help prevent a treadmill tragedy in your house - starting with where you put it.

"It's not a good idea to position a treadmill right up against a wall, if you fall and the treadmill belt continues to turn, you'll get wedged in between the wall and the treadmill," says Anzalone. What you need to do is keep a couple of feet on either side of the treadmill and then at least 6 feet behind it. So if you do fall, there's a space for you to escape."

Never allow children near a treadmill. Even when you're on it. But the best protection is the safety key.

"If the safety key is not inserted in the machine, it just won't start," says Anzalone. "And if you don't want your kids to get hurt around a treadmill, take the safety key out and put it somewhere, where they can't find it."

Other Safety tips: Straddle the belt until it starts, so you don't get knocked off your feet. Keep your head up while you're moving. Looking down at your feet can actually throw you off balance. And always use the safety clip. It attaches to your workout clothes and if you should fall, the string pulls out the safety key, stopping the moving belt. Finally, when you're finished, wait until the belt comes to a complete stop, before stepping off.