Most parents already know that treadmills pose a safety threat to children, who are at risk of falling on or being thrown from the machines.
But new research from Nationwide Children's Hospital shows the devices also are associated with a significant -- and rising -- risk of pediatric burns.
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Burn Care and Research, treadmills are the second most common source of pediatric hand burns, second only to stovetops.
Researchers said treadmill-related injuries are more severe and require more care (51 days versus 11) than other contact hand burns. Most of the patients in the study were young children whose hands got stuck in the treadmill and received friction burns from a running belt. Younger children were more likely to be injured because they often explore with their hands and do not understand the danger posed by hot objects or machinery.
More than 12,000 minors are treated each year in U.S. emergency departments for exercise equipment-related injuries, according to Nationwide Children's.