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Peloton responds to 'urgent' CSPC warning over treadmill's risks to children

Peloton Tread+ treadmill
(Image credit: Peloton)

Update 1:15 pm ET: We've added comment provided by the Peloton CEO.

Peloton has found itself at the center of a dispute over the safety of its Tread Plus, the company’s internet connected treadmill, after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned consumers that the Tread+ poses “serious risks to children”. The CPSC issued the warning following 39 incidents of injury and the tragic death of one child.

CPSC posted a very disturbing video of a separate incident that showed a pair of kids playing on the machine. One child grabs their ball, which appears to be stuck, and their arms are pulled under the machine. As the video continues the child attempts to escape but both the ball and the child are pulled under the machine. The ball seems to keep the machine raised high enough for the kid to eventually escape.

In response to the CPSC warning, Peloton CEO John Foley has said that the company has no plans to stop selling its Tread Plus.

"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+," said Foley.

In addition, Peloton called CPSC's warning "inaccurate and misleading."

The Peloton Tread Plus has no protection that prevents objects, pets or children from touching the belt as it rolls under the machine. And there is no guard that covers the end of the machine, which could prevent things from touching the moving parts in the first place. It also appears that the machine has no cut off mechanism for detecting the machine moving in such an unusual way. 

Additionally, if something happened while the treadmill was being used for exercise, there's a risk that the machine could become unstable and cause injury to the person using it, the CPSC said in a Tweet. 

The CPSC is urging anyone with a Tread Plus, which was known in the US as the Tread between August 2018 and September 2020, to stop using the machine if they have children or small pets. If owners wish to continue using the Tread Plus the organization urges them to keep it in a locked room and keep the safety key out of reach of children. 

CPSC was joined by the Chairman of the US Senate’s consumer protection subcommittee, Senator Richard Blumenthal, who said, “Peloton must immediately cooperate with the CPSC to recall its dangerous and deadly treadmill” according to Bloomberg. “Amid dozens of incidents of hurt kids and pets — with broken limbs, brain injuries, and death after being pulled underneath the machine — it’s clear that the Peloton Tread Plus must be recalled.”

Peloton CEO John Foley emailed customers with continued claims that the Tread Plus is safe and that there is no need for a recall of its $4,295 machine. His message insisted that there is no significant risk to safety if the company’s guidelines are followed. He urges users to check for animals and children in the room before working out, but doesn’t explain how to prevent a pet or child from entering the room while owners are mid-run. 

Plus, there are plenty of people who run with headphones or earbuds, which would prevent them from detecting the presence of kids or pets. 

In an additional message on the company’s website, it explains that it is now looking to implement an additional passcode to activate the machine. He also suggests using the Tread Plus during your child’s naptime, or using a baby gate to prevent kids or animals from entering the room while you’re using your machine.