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Peloton Has Recalled Its Treadmills After One Child Died And Others Were Injured

The company now says it was a "mistake" to defend the product after the death of a 6-year-old child was announced in March.

Posted on May 5, 2021, at 1:19 p.m. ET

A man runs on a treadmill in a brightly lit living room
Peloton

Peloton recalled both of its treadmill models on Wednesday after one was blamed for causing the death of a 6-year-old child, the company and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission have announced.

Customers who purchased either the regular Tread or the advanced Tread+, which had been retailing for $2,495 and $4,295 each, should immediately stop using their machines and contact the company for a full refund.

The recall comes after weeks of pushback from the fitness company, which is also well known for its stationary bike.

According to the safety agency, Peloton has received 72 reports of adults, children, pets, and objects "being pulled under the rear of the [Tread+] treadmill, including 29 reports of injuries to children such as second- and third-degree abrasions, broken bones, and lacerations."

The child's death was first announced March 18 by Peloton CEO John Foley, who said in a letter that it was a "tragic accident" involving a Tread+.

Foley warned users to keep children and pets away from the equipment and to remove the safety key when not in use. Since the announcement, the company's trainers have also made similar warnings to customers during the video fitness sessions.

A spokesperson for the CPSC told NBC News it was investigating the incident.

A month later, the agency issued an urgent warning to stop using the Tread+ "after multiple incidents of small children and a pet being injured beneath the machines" by becoming "entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller of the product."

CPSC also made public a video in which a child appears to be dragged under the machine for several seconds before managing to crawl out.

US Consumer Product Safety Commission / Via youtube.com

A child being dragged under the Tread+ treadmill, as seen in a video released by CPSC

Two CPSC incident reports describe children being injured by Tread+ treadmills. According to the first report, a 3-year-old was found trapped under the machine, not breathing, without a pulse, and with "tread marks on his back" on Feb. 3. He was resuscitated "and now has significant brain injury," the report said.

According to the second report, a 5-year-old got "sucked under the treadmill while it was running." The machine reportedly pulled his pants off and gave him burns, but an adult who was present was able to lift the machine and pull him free and he avoided serious injury.

The company initially defended the Tread+, calling the CPSC warning "inaccurate and misleading," emphasizing that the product "comes with safety instructions and warnings to ensure its safe use."

In a follow-up letter after the CPSC warning, Foley had insisted the company would not recall the Tread+, doubling down that taking safety measures when using the product was enough to prevent accidents.

But on Wednesday, more than six weeks after the company announced the 6-year-old's death, the CPSC announced that Peloton had agreed to recall the product.

Additionally, Peloton will recall its regular Tread treadmill after it was found that the machine's touchscreen can detach and fall off, putting users at risk of injury.

Foley apologized for defending the treadmill in spite of its dangers, saying the recall is "the right thing to do for Peloton’s Members and their families."

"I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s request that we recall the Tread+," Foley said. "We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize."

Peloton sales have boomed during the coronavirus pandemic as people work out more from home.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.