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Home workouts: exercise caution.

After pediatrician John H. Gould saw his second case in which a home exercise bike had torn off a child's finger, he began to wonder: Is this injury common?

His first attempt to answer the question ended in frustration. "The medical literature had not addressed the problem of injuries related to home exercise equipment," he says. But his second inquiry ended with a surprise.

Using case reports collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Gould and pediatrician Allan R. Dejong, both at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, found that in 1990, about 25,269 people were admitted to emergency rooms with injuries caused by exercise equipment--a 400 percent increase over the 1982 figures. Furthermore, over half of these cases involved children less than 15 years old.

Exercise bikes and jump ropes proved most dangerous, say the researchers. Exercise bikes were involved in 55 percent of all the accidents, jump ropes in 25 percent. In most cases, the bikes amputated a finger or toe. Even more alarming were the figures on jump ropes: in the majority of these accidents, the rope's user was strangled to death.

"The statistics we looked at tell a disturbing story," says Gould. In more than 80 percent of the cases involving children, the victims were playing alone or unsupervised, he adds.
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Title Annotation:children's accidents with exercise equipment
Author:Stroh, Michael
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 23, 1992
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