Peloton recalls tread and tread + treadmills after dozens of injuries, 1 child fatality


“We have already had reports of injuries in children involving treadmills, but many of them are related to acceleration. It’s different, ”CPSC communications director Joe Martyak told WIRED. “I want to point out that our technical evaluations are continuing, but some of the factors that are emerging are that there is a single slatted belt, lack of rear guard and a large clearance under the treadmill.”

Peloton declined to comment when asked about specific design elements of its Tread + treadmill, instead referring us to the FAQ posted on its website, which includes this statement: “We are working to develop additional modifications to the recalled Tread + that will address the risk of adult users, children and pets being pulled under the treadmill and suffering serious injury or death. “

The company also said it would offer a full refund to any Tread or Tread + customers who requested it, and also offered to move the treadmills to another (likely safer) location at customers’ premises, free.

Serious injuries, and sometimes recalls, are not uncommon in this product category. The CPSC Told The Washington Post that there were 22,500 treadmill-related injuries treated in the United States in 2019 and that agency received reports of 17 deaths involving treadmills between 2018 and 2020. According to the website of the agency, over the past decade there have been recalls of stairlifts, elliptical machines, weight stands, pull-up bars, and abdominal straps for pull-up bars. One of those recalls involved a Schwinn-branded elliptical machine made by Nautilus, a global manufacturer of fitness equipment. In this case, however, there were only nine reports of the foot plates coming loose, and the most serious injury documented was a knee injury.

“I think there are a number of reasons the Peloton incidents are getting this attention,” says Ray Maker, author of the popular fitness blog. DC Rainmaker, where he writes extensively on technology products for runners, cyclists and triathletes. “The death of a child likely propelled this situation higher within the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, compared to other injury-type scenarios.”

“But also, I think it’s the numbers that are being recalled and the size of the company,” Maker continued. “If you look at most of the treadmill manufacturers today, most are from bigger conglomerates and they have a bunch of different model numbers, so it’s harder to hang on to a particular model. Peloton only has two models, and they have all been recalled. “

Maker, who says he has run on countless treadmills, also noted that while other treadmills may be susceptible to the same problem as the Peloton Tread +, some treadmill manufacturers have chosen to install treadmills. low bars along their treads, which in theory would prevent children, pets or objects from being caught under the treadmill.

Jeff Douse, who ran a Houston-based running program and a running studio called RacePace, had at one point invested in 25 Woodway 4Front treadmills for his gym, as the slatted treads offered better shock absorption for runners. But the inherent risk with any slatted conveyor belt, says Douse, is that “when those slates get to the end of the conveyor belt and spin and pass underneath, the slats actually start to separate and create spaces, where someone. ‘one could probably stick. a finger.”

Clearance height, or the distance from the bottom of the treadmill to the floor, is also a consideration, says Douse. The Woodways he invested in, at $ 10,000 a pop, were low enough to the ground that anyone tasked with cleaning the ground under the machine had difficulty reaching underneath. The Peloton Tread + appears to have more clearance, says Douse, with wheels at the front of the treadmill and adjustable levels at the rear—Which means it could be relatively easy to access, but could create “potential areas of vulnerability”.

On guard

It’s unclear at this point what Peloton’s next move will be. The company says it is working on modifications to the recalled treadmills, but those designs will need to be presented and approved by the CPSC before Peloton can resume sales.



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