Boxer Mike Tyson’s 4-year-old daughter died Tuesday after her neck apparently got caught in a cord dangling from a treadmill at her Phoenix home.
Police said Exodus either slipped or put her head in the loop of a cord hanging under the console and suffocated. She was pronounced dead just before noon after being on life support, said police Sgt. Andy Hill, who called the injury a “tragic accident.”
While absolutely tragic, some statistics suggests it’s not that unusual.
“…almost 5,500 youngsters under age 5 were treated in emergency rooms in 2006 and 2007 for treadmill-related injuries, according to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
“Most had cuts, bruises and scrapes, primarily on the hands or fingers; one child’s injury required an amputation. Thirty-two percent had their hands caught in or on the treadmill, in some cases suffering serious friction burns.”
“Consumer Reports researchers noticed burns were more likely to occur with treadmills than stationary bikes and elliptical trainers, said Gayle Williams, deputy health editor for Consumer Reports. The CPSC data shows treadmills and bikes, along with stair climbers, are the home exercise devices that pose the greatest hazard to youngsters.”
” ‘I think people forget, when they get comfortable with the equipment, that it’s heavy machinery, and it can be dangerous,’ Williams said. ‘Kids don’t belong on the equipment when it is in use or otherwise.’ “
In the same article a pediatrician says he has seen other fatal cord injuries.
“About 1,000 children under 14 die of unintentional strangulation each year, 88 percent of whom are under 4 years old, said Larry Stone, founder of Safety Matters, a company that specializes in childproofing homes.”
“Stone said injuries involving treadmills were fairly common, but said he had never heard of strangulation involving a treadmill.”
” ‘All injuries are preventable. There are ways to babyproof your home,’ Stone said. ‘I think that largely it is a matter of taking care of the more straightforward things … making sure there are no cords from the windows hanging and certainly keeping the child in view.’ “
This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. I am so afraid of accidentally running over a child with our mini-van or the blind cords wrapping around their necks or them falling down stairs. Stupid, senseless injuries or death!
My husband thinks I scare them with constant warnings about things like don’t stand in the chair you could fall or don’t stand on the monkey bars.
My friend posted on her Facebook account this morning that she was slowly heading toward her treadmill machine. I know she is a very good mother, but I quickly sent her a note about the Mike Tyson story and warned her to keep her daughter away from it.
Did this story make you worry about your own treadmill or exercise equipment in your home? Do you close off the door where it sits or is it in the basement or a bedroom where the kids have easy access? Do you think it’s a danger to your kids? What other household equipment stresses you out?