Peloton Treadmills Unsafe for People With Young Children or Pets, Federal Agency Says

A federal safety agency has told people with young children or pets to stop using

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treadmills.

The move by the Consumer Product Safety Commission comes after its investigation into the death of a child involving one of the machines turned up dozens of instances of injuries. As part of the warning, the commission released a home video of an incident in which a child was pulled under one of the machines while playing with a ball before freeing himself.

Peloton called the agency’s advisory “inaccurate and misleading,” and said the treadmills are safe when users follow safety recommendations, which include keeping children and pets away from the machine and removing the machine’s safety key when it isn’t in use to prevent its belt from moving.

The CPSC’s report didn’t specify how or whether Peloton’s treadmills are more dangerous than other models. The agency said it is investigating whether other types of treadmills pose the same risk as Peloton’s. It said it is aware of 39 incidents involving the machines, including the death.

A Peloton spokeswoman said the company believes “the consequences of not following warnings and safety instructions are consistently grave for all motorized treadmills.”

The company said it asked the agency to address the matter with a joint statement that emphasized the need for users to follow safety instructions.

“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 company said.

The CPSC, the federal agency charged with protecting U.S. consumers from dangerous products, said that during its investigation it found a case in which a child became entrapped by the machine while it was in use by a parent, which led it to conclude that locking the divide with a safety key when not in use isn’t sufficient.

“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 commission said in its report.

Treadmill accidents are common though deaths are rare, according to government data. There were 22,500 emergency-room visits tied to treadmills in 2019, according to the CPSC. There were 17 deaths related to treadmills between 2018 and 2019.

Peloton said that in March, it learned of the accident in which the child died and notified the CPSC within a day. In addition to sending direct messages to Tread+ owners advising them to adhere to warnings and follow safety instructions, the company now has its instructors deliver safety messages during classes.

Best known for stationary bicycles, Peloton unveiled its treadmill-style machine in 2018. That machine, at first called the Tread, is now called the Tread+ after Peloton introduced a pared-down, less-expensive version slated to begin selling in the U.S. this year.

Demand for Peloton’s internet-connected equipment has surged over the past year as the pandemic closed gyms and prompted many people to work out at home. Customers have waited weeks for deliveries due to the strong demand and supply-chain problems that the company has sought to address.

Write to Sharon Terlep at [email protected]

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