Child Dies in Treadmill Accident, Peloton Says

March 19, 2021

Exercise equipment manufacturer Peloton says a child has died in an accident with the company's Tread+ treadmill.

"I'm reaching out to you today because I recently learned about a tragic accident involving a child and the Tread+, resulting in, unthinkably, a death," Peloton CEO and founder John Foley said in a letter posted on the company website. "While we are aware of only a small handful of incidents involving the Tread+ where children have been hurt, each one is devastating to all of us at Peloton, and our hearts go out to the families involved."

Details about the death or other injuries to children were not discussed in the letter. NBC News reported that the Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating.

In the letter, Foley urged all Tread+ users to follow all safety warnings and advised two other safety measures. He said children and pets should be kept away from Peloton exercise equipment at all times. Also, when a person finishes using a Tread+, they should remove the safety key and store it out of the reach of children.

"We are always looking for new ways to ensure that you have the best experience with our products, and we are currently assessing ways to reinforce our warnings about these critical safety precautions to hopefully prevent future accidents," Foley said.

Peloton is best known for its stationary interactive bicycles, which have become a growth item during the coronavirus pandemic. Like other pieces of Peloton equipment, the Tread+ treadmill has a video screen that allows users to exercise with instructors and other people in real time. The price for a Tread+ starts at $4,295, according to the company website.

A Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesperson told NBC there were about 22,500 treadmill-related injuries treated at emergency rooms in the U.S. in 2019. About 2,000 of those involved children under age 8.

Seventeen fatalities associated with use of a treadmill were reported to the CPSC between 2018 and 2020, including a 5-year-old child, NBC said.

A 2014 National Institutes of Health study on exercise equipment injuries said 66% of the injuries occurred on treadmills, though treadmills make up only one-quarter of the market share of exercise equipment.

The NIH study said that 70,302 people went to the emergency room with exercise equipment injuries from 2007-11, and that 35.2% of them were children age 9 and under. 

"Compared with adults, children experienced proportionally more injuries from mechanical home exercise equipment," the 2014 study said. "Because young children do not typically use equipment for exercise, these injuries are likely to have resulted from unsupervised access to home machines intended for adult use." 

The children often had soft tissue injuries to the head or lacerations, the study said. Adults usually suffered fractures or strains.

Sources

Peloton: "A Note from Peloton CEO John Foley about Tread+," "Tread+" 

National Institutes of Health: "Emergency department-reported injuries associated with mechanical home exercise equipment in the USA"

Peloton. "Tread+" 

NBC News: "Peloton CEO warns parents after Tread+ machine kills child."

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