The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued an urgent warning about the Peloton Tread + treadmill (Tread Plus) – that it poses a significant risk to children and pets. This after more than 20 children and pets have reportedly been dragged under the machine.
The CPSC has a video to show just how it happens. The $4,300 machine led to one toddler’s death in a tragic accident and another 39 incidents of injury including burns, scrapes, head injuries, and broken bones.
Peloton CEO John Foley sent out an urgent message, “I can’t tell you how much this news and horrible reality has hit me personally and our entire team at Peloton. While we are aware of only a small handful of incidents involving the Tread Plus where children have been hurt, each one is devastating to all of us at Peloton.”
THE CPSC is also investigating a February incident where a three-year-old boy sustained a significant brain injury after being trapped. The CPSC reports that the toddler was trapped under the Peloton Tread Plus and found by his father to be pulseless. The little boy had tread marks on his back and marks on his face and neck. He was resuscitated but now has a brain injury.
On the market since 2018, the machine enjoyed skyrocketing popularity during the COVID shutdown in 2020 when sales soared 135%.
For its part, the CPSC released a video of its own showing a toddler initially having his hands on a ball that is dragged under the treadmill. The toddler’s arms then go further under the machine with the ball, then the machine fails to stop and it continues to drag the child until his face is being sanded by the moving tread. After he pops out for a second his entire body is sucked under the machine.
Only when another trapped item, an inflated ball, lifts the treadmill high can the child wiggle free and runs off crying. This video shows a home gym setup where children also play.
The CPSC has not recalled the Peloton Tread Plus and neither has the manufacturer issued a voluntary recall. Instead, it says consumers should stop using the treadmill if there are small children at home or any pets. In some cases, injuries occurred when an unsupervised child had access to the machine, such as in the video released by the CPSC.
If that is not possible the CPSC urges people to have the machine in a locked room restricting access by children and pets. Keep an exercise ball and any object away from the treadmill. When not in use, unplug the treadmill and keep the key out of the reach of children.
Peloton is the maker of bicycles, as well as treadmills and with the CPSC announcement, its stock price fell. CEO Foley had a problem with the CPSC stern warning saying there is no reason for adults to stop using the Peloton Tread + calling the warning “inaccurate and misleading.”
He issued another statement saying:
The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s unilateral press release about the Peloton Tread+ treadmill is inaccurate and misleading. The Tread+ is safe for Members to use in their homes and comes with safety instructions and warnings to ensure its safe use. Like all motorized exercise equipment, the Tread+ can pose hazards if the warnings and safety instructions are not followed. The Tread+ is not for children under 16. Peloton warns Members not to let children use the Tread+ and to keep children, pets, and objects away from the Tread+ at all times. Any owner of a treadmill – whether made by Peloton or not – should follow these warnings, as they are included in the applicable safety standards, which the Peloton Tread+ meets.
At no time did Peloton try to impede the EPSC investigation insisted Foley, even though it refused for a month to release the name of the child who died.
Peloton Treadmill Design Fix
It seems the general design of any treadmill is a potential problem. According to the CPSC, there were more than 22,000 emergency room visits due to treadmill-related injuries.
Among those injuries about 2,000 were involved children under the age of 8. Additionally, there are some reports of pets being swept under the machines.
Meanwhile, Consumer Reports has pulled its recommendation for the Tread + based on the deaths and injuries, citing its capable of the type of injuries not seen in other treadmills.
At War with Safety Regulators
In answering why Peloton refused to give the name of the child killed to the CPSC for nearly a month, the Peloton CEO says he was trying to protect consumer privacy, not interfere with a federal investigation. It took a subpoena issued by the CPSC to force Peloton to hand over the information.
The CPSC can file a lawsuit if it decides to force a recall by Peloton without the company’s cooperation.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed in California. Shannon Albright of Rocklin, California, in the Northern District of California, says that Peloton has not conveyed the potential safety hazards of its machine and in fact, its advertising conveys images of parents and children in front of the product.
Citing a violation of the applicable consumer protection laws in the state, Albright is suing for $5 million in damages.
The case is Albright v. Peloton Interactive, Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 3:21-cv-02858, complaint 4/20/21.
Washington Post, April 19, 2021