Parents are being warned about the dangers of the Peloton Tread+ treadmill following reports of small children and pets getting hurt underneath the treadmill, including the death of one child. On April 17, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a news release, reporting “dozens of incidents of children being sucked beneath the Tread+” and urging people with children in their homes to stop using the equipment immediately, which is a position that Peloton strongly disputes.
The CPSC is currently aware of and investigating 39 total accidents, including the death of a child in March, which Peloton reported to consumers and the CPSC. The commission’s staff believes the machine “poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death,” according to the release. “In light of multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller of the product, CPSC urges consumers with children at home to stop using the product immediately.” The agency posted a disturbing YouTube video of a scary incident involving two unattended children, one of whom gets pulled under the treadmill, to demonstrate how children can get hurt. (The child in the video is able to get free from underneath the machine.)
Furthermore, the CPSC is under the impression that at least one of the 39 incidents actually happened while a parent was running on the treadmill, “suggesting that the hazard cannot be avoided simply by locking the device when not in use,” the release says. This is why the CPSC is advising Peloton Tread+ owners who have small children or pets in their homes to stop using the machine altogether. There have also been reports of pets and objects being sucked under the rear tread of the machine while it’s in use, which the CPSC suggests could cause the user to lose their balance and potentially injure themselves.
The same day that the CPSC published its notice, Peloton refuted the agency’s claims as “inaccurate and misleading.” According to Peloton’s April 17 press release, “There is no reason to stop using the Tread+, as long as all warnings and safety instructions are followed. Children under 16 should never use the Tread+, and Members should keep children, pets, and objects away from the Tread+ at all times.”
The company also claims that the CPSC has “unfairly characterized Peloton’s efforts to collaborate and to correct inaccuracies in CPSC’s press release as an attempt to delay,” which “could not be farther from the truth.” Peloton says they alerted the CPSC of the child’s death within a day of learning about it and promptly sent an “urgent reminder directly to Tread+ Members,” reiterating the “critical warnings and safety instructions” that accompany the machine. The company says it forwarded all additional reports of previous incidents it received, per the release, and fully cooperated with all CPSC requests for information regarding these incidents. (Peloton notes they did refuse to share some personally identifiable details that several customers requested to be withheld out of respect for their privacy until the CPSC subpoenaed the company for that info.)
“Peloton is disappointed that, despite its offers of collaboration, and despite the fact that the Tread+ complies with all applicable safety standards, CPSC was unwilling to engage in any meaningful discussions with Peloton before issuing its inaccurate and misleading press release,” the statement reads.
In a separate announcement from Peloton, cofounder and CEO John Foley says the company plans to keep selling the treadmill. “You may also have read news reports suggesting that CPSC believes that we should stop selling or recall the Tread+. I want to assure you that we have no intention of doing so,” Foley writes. “The Tread+ is safe when our warnings and safety instructions are followed, and we know that, every day, thousands of Members enjoy working out safely on their Tread+.”
Foley does, however, urge customers to “stay vigilant,” and remember to heed the safety warnings and instructions (which Tread instructors now reiterate at the start and finish of every virtual class, he adds). Foley also cites various tips that parents have shared on social media, “such as working out during naptime.” The Tread+ product team is currently working on a “new software-enabled, backup access code that will provide an additional layer of protection against unwanted use of the Tread+,” expected to roll out soon, Foley adds.
The CPSC urges consumers who “must continue” to use the Tread+ to do so inside a locked room and in an area clear of any other items, like exercise balls. When the machine is not in use, it should be unplugged, and the safety key stored in a separate location, out of the reach of children. And anyone who experiences safety issues with the treadmill should report them to the CPSC.