Peloton recalls treadmills due to one child death and risk of injuries

5 May 2021, 15:39 | Updated: 5 May 2021, 17:15

Peloton has announced a voluntary recall of two of its treadmills
Peloton has announced a voluntary recall of two of its treadmills. Picture: Peloton
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Peloton has recalled its Tread+ and Tread treadmill machines due to safety concerns following one child death and dozens of incidents.

Customers who already have the products have been urged to immediately stop using them and to contact the company for a full refund.

The firm's CEO John Foley apologised for not cooperating with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sooner.

Peloton warned that adults, children, pets, and objects can be pulled underneath the Tread+, posing a risk of injury or death.

Shares in the exercise equipment company fell by around six per cent following the announcement.

A company spokesman confirmed the recall related to the Tread model sold in the UK. The Tread+ is only sold in the US.

The touchscreen on the UK and US-sold Tread can detach and fall, posing a risk of injury to consumers, the CPSC said.

Read more: Child killed in 'tragic' Peloton treadmill accident

Read more: Peloton treadmill 'shouldn't be used by those with children or pets'

Mr Foley said: "The decision to recall both products was 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+.

"We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologise.

"Today’s announcement reflects our recognition that, by working closely with the CPSC, we can increase safety awareness for our Members.

"We believe strongly in the future of at-home connected fitness and are committed to work with the CPSC to set new industry safety standards for treadmills.

"We have a desire and a responsibility to be an industry leader in product safety.”

The CPSC warned about the firm's Tread+ machine last month following the death of a six-year-old child in an incident involving the equipment.

It explained that Peloton’s treadmills are designed differently to those of other companies, with “an unusual belt design that uses individual rigid rubberized slats or treads that are interlocked and ride on a rail”, instead of a thinner, continuous belt.

There is also a large gap between the floor and the belt of the Tread+, meaning there is room for things to fall or crawl under.

Peloton has also stopped the sale and distribution of the Tread+ and is working on additional hardware modifications.

In the US, the Tread was only sold as part of a limited invitation-only release from around November 2020 to around March 2021.

The company is currently working on a repair to be offered to Tread owners in the coming weeks.

One child died following an accident involving a Peloton treadmill
One child died following an accident involving a Peloton treadmill. Picture: Getty

Robert S. Adler, acting chairman of the CPSC, said: "I am pleased that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Peloton have come to an agreement to protect users of the Peloton Tread+ and Tread products.

"The agreement, which the Commission voted this morning to accept, requires Peloton to immediately stop selling and distributing both the Tread+ and Tread products in the United States and refund the full purchase price to consumers who wish to return their treadmills.

"The agreement between CPSC and Peloton is the result of weeks of intense negotiation and effort, culminating in a cooperative agreement that I believe serves the best interests of Peloton and of consumers.

"I would like to thank the CPSC technical staff who have worked tirelessly to protect consumers and to warn the public.

"Today we have taken steps to prevent further harm from these two products."

In February, a three-year-old suffered severe head injuries after getting trapped under one of the firm's treadmills, but they are expected to make a full recovery.

Peloton has gained in popularity in the past few years, with its high-cost exercise bikes being used as an alternative after gyms were shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company's Tread+ range costs at least £3,084 and features a large screen that allows people to connect to live or virtual exercise classes around the world.