Treadmill injuries in the pediatric population

J Surg Res. 2011 Sep;170(1):139-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2011.02.015. Epub 2011 Mar 11.


Background: Exercise equipment such as treadmills are becoming commonplace in residential homes, placing small children at risk for injury. These injuries can be severe and may require surgical intervention. While it is our clinical perception that these injuries are on the rise, they remain largely unreported in the literature. Therefore, we reviewed our experience to evaluate the incidence and outcomes of treadmill-associated injuries in children.

Methods: After receiving exempt IRB approval, we retrospectively reviewed all patients who sustained treadmill-related injuries that required evaluation by a surgeon from July 2005 to February 2010. Data collected included patient demographics, injury details, injury management, and outcomes.

Results: We identified 19 children who required treatment for treadmill-related injuries. Mean age at injury was 4.1 y (1.3-10.5 y), and 63% were male. The treadmill was in use by another person in 17 cases (89%). The hand was involved in 79%. All burns were <10% body surface area and 18 (90%) were <5 %. Admission was required in two cases, and four (21%) children required skin grafting. Healing was complicated by hypertrophic scarring in four patients (21%). Mean length of active therapy was 9.2 ± 7.0 d and involved a mean of 6.0 ± 3.5 healthcare visits. Mean hospital charges were $5700.

Conclusion: Treadmill-related burn injuries in children are preventable injuries that can pose a substantial burden on patients and families. Supervision is paramount in prevention of these injuries, and strategies should include child safety features in equipment designs along with consumer awareness.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Home / statistics & numerical data*
  • Burns / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hand Injuries / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sports Equipment / adverse effects*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*