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Children suffer from the dangers of treadmills

WARNING: Gympie grandmother Margaret Engeman with her grandaughter Lindsay Webb, who received a severe friction burn to her arm from a treadmill this week.
WARNING: Gympie grandmother Margaret Engeman with her grandaughter Lindsay Webb, who received a severe friction burn to her arm from a treadmill this week.

GYMPIE grandmother Margaret Engeman wants to warn other treadmill owners about the danger the machines pose to children after her granddaughter, Lindsay Webb, suffered a severe friction burn in seconds.

"It happens so quickly and so easily," Mrs Engeman said this week.

She said she was watching her grandchildren, including six-year-old Lindsay, play with a ball on the treadmill on Monday.

"They were rolling a big ball down the belt on the slowest speed and Lindsay was about a metre behind the treadmill catching the ball," she said.

Lindsay reached below the belt to try to retrieve the ball from under the machine.

"She somehow got her hand trapped between the ball and the belt," MrsEngeman said.

She said Lindsay yelped, so she pulled the emergency stop.

"I ran it under the cold tap for about 10 minutes," she said.

Mrs Engeman took Lindsay to Gympie Hospital, where staff told her the youngster's friction burn was so severe it had killed the nerve endings in the back of her hand.

"It's the top of her hand and the first three fingers. Lindsay was so brave. She didn't cry once," she said.

"The male nurse was fantastic. He was just brilliant. He took us straight in and ran it (the burn) under the cold tap for 40 minutes. Then they contacted the Lady Cilento (Hospital) and sent photos."

Mrs Engeman said she chose to drive Lindsay to the hospital in Brisbane so she could pick up Lindsay's mother Ruth along the way.

Lindsay was kept in hospital overnight and doctors said she would need surgery.

She will undergo a skin graft on Christmas Eve and will need 12 months of physio-therapy.

The avid gymnast is still doing one-armed cartwheels, according to her grandmother, and hanging onto monkey bars one handed.

"She's just a tough little nut. She's got a tremendous attitude," Mrs Engeman said.

Aside from how quickly it occurred and the severity of the injury, what shocked Mrs Engeman the most was how frequently it occurred.

"The doctor said this is the second major cause of burns in children," she said.

"That staggered me.

People need to know this is the second highest reason, and that it can happen so quickly."

Lindsay Webb's hand after a severe friction burn caused by a treadmill.
Lindsay Webb's hand after a severe friction burn caused by a treadmill.

AT A GLANCE

DAMIAN Pointon from the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital media department provided the following statistics to The Gympie Times:

  • There have been 17 treadmill burn presentations at the hospital this year;
  • Of these, four burns occurred while children were actually on the treadmill;
  • The remaining 13 burns were caused by children's hands getting caught under treadmills.

Topics:  burns children editors picks

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