The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it received reports of children and a pet being pulled, pinned and entrapped under the rear roller of the Tread+ treadmill, leading to fractures, scrapes and the death of one child.
The commission posted a video on its YouTube page of a child being pulled under the treadmill.
New York-based Peloton Interactive Inc. said in a news release that the warning was “inaccurate and misleading.” It said there’s no reason to stop using the treadmill as long as children and pets are kept away from it at all times, it is turned off when not in use, and a safety key is removed.
But the safety commission said that in at least one episode, a child was pulled under the treadmill while a parent was running on it, suggesting it can be dangerous to children even while a parent is present.
If adults want to keep using the treadmill, the commission said, they should use it only in a locked room so children and pets can’t come near it. When not in use, the treadmill should be unplugged and the safety key taken out and hidden away. The commission also said to keep exercise balls and other objects away from it, because those have been pulled under the treadmill, too.
Jim Karas is a New York Times Best-Selling Author and a fitness expert with more than 30 years of experience.
“This has been a problem for many years. First, of all the electrical equipment — the treadmill, the stair master, the bikes that are pulled in — all of them need to be unplugged at all times,” said Kara. “But the problem is some of them have chains and things that especially small children can get their finger into. So I recommend that people have them in a room that they can actually lock or close the door.”
Karas believes any fitness equipment could pose a safety risk to children.
“Equally challenging are the free weights because kids think it’s, fun especially when they see their mom or dad exercising or older sibling. And so they go to grab the weights, which they may drop right on their foot,” said Karas.
Peloton is best known for its stationary bikes, but it introduced the treadmill about three years ago and now calls it the Tread+. It costs more than $4,000.
Online fitness trainer Antonio Faneite suggests another safety measure is educating yourself and your children about how to safely use gym equipment.
“I think teaching children about safety is an extremely valuable resource. We teach our coaches to continually maintain safety inside of a facility, why not extend that to children so they can also understand the importance of safety?” said Faneite.
He says another key tool to safety is where a person stores their equipment.
“Unplugging it can be a great tool to keep things safe. But the safety thing is to always keep that equipment in a separate room where children and pets can’t get to,” said Faneite.
Sales of Peloton equipment have soared during the pandemic as virus-weary people avoid gyms and work out at home instead. The company brought in $1 billion in revenue in the last three months of 2020, more than double its revenue from the same period a year before.
The commission did not say how many of the Peloton treadmills have been sold.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.