In the wake of multiple reports of injuries and at least one death involving Peloton’s Tread+ treadmill, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued an “urgent warning” that the product “poses serious risks” to children’s safety and should not be used in households with small children or pets.
To date, at least 39 safety incidents involving the Tread+ have come to light, including the death of a child last month, regulators said in a press release on Saturday. Reports of objects and at least one pet being sucked under the machine while it’s activated have also surfaced.
“CPSC staff believes the Peloton Tread+ poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death,” the agency said. “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 CPSC also shared a disturbing video of one such incident, which it said demonstrates the hazards to children posed by the Tread+. The video shows small children playing on the activated treadmill before a ball gets caught underneath and lifts the machine off the ground, pinning one of the children beneath it. Thankfully, the child survived.
The agency advised consumers with small children and pets to stop using the Tread+ immediately. It noted that in at least one case where a child was injured, it’s believed that a parent was running on the treadmill at the time, “suggesting that the hazard cannot be avoided simply by locking the device when not in use.”
To consumers who continue to use the treadmill, the CPSC advised keeping the treadmill in a locked room to prevent children and pets from approaching it while activated. When not in use, consumers should unplug the Tread+ and store its safety key, which is needed to turn the device on, away from the treadmill and out of reach of children. All objects, including other exercise equipment, should be kept a safe distance away from the treadmill as well.
Peloton put the CPSC on blast on Saturday, calling the warning “inaccurate and misleading.” The company has reportedly fought back against the CPSC’s request for a product safety recall and argues that improper use — not the treadmill’s design — is to blame for these incidents.
“There is no reason to stop using the Tread+, as long as all warnings and safety instructions are followed,” Peloton said in a press release. “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 reiterated that safety warnings are included in the Tread+’s user manual and listed on the product itself, which advises users to keep kids and pets away from Peloton equipment at all times and to remove the safety key when not in use. In response to the video the CPSC released, Peloton argued that if the treadmill’s safety key had been handled according to instructions, that could have avoided the “kind of incident that this video depicts.”
Peloton also disputed recent claims that it has stalled efforts by regulators to alert consumers about potential safety issues with its treadmill. Peloton claimed it attempted to collaborate with the CPSC on a joint announcement disclosing the dangers of not following the Tread+’s safety warnings, but said the agency was “unwilling to engage in any meaningful discussion” before publishing its consumer safety alert.
“CPSC has unfairly characterised Peloton’s efforts to collaborate and to correct inaccuracies in CPSC’s press release as an attempt to delay. This could not be farther from the truth,” the company said.
Still, Peloton said it remains open to working with the CPSC in the future to keep consumers safe while using its products.
On Saturday, the CPSC said it’s continuing to investigate “all known incidents” with the treadmill and requested that people report incidents on its website or through its U.S. hotline at 800-638-2772. At this time, a voluntary recall hasn’t been issued because Peloton has not agreed to stop selling the Tread+ or offer repairs or replacements for machines already on the market, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke with CNN.