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The recent policy reversal by Peloton came after weeks of negotiations with the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Last Updated: May 5, 2021
Peloton announced it is voluntarily recalling its Tread+ and Tread treadmills in cooperation with recommendations from the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. The policy reversal comes after Peloton initially rejected claims from the CPSC that the Tread+ is dangerous to children and pets.
Peloton CEO Scott Foley indicated Peloton has the best interest of parents and children at heart and was wrong to initially resist calls for a recall on the Tread+. “The decision to recall both products (Tread+ and Tread) was the right thing to do for Peloton’s Members and their families,” Foley stated. “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 apologize.”
After numerous reports of injury and one death to a small child, the CPSC released a statement in April 2021 urging owners of the Peloton Tread+ to either “stop using the Peloton Tread+ if there are small children or pets at home” or to use it “only in a locked room, to prevent access to children and pets while the treadmill is in use.”
Per the May 2021 recall notice, “A 6-year-old child recently died after being pulled under the rear of the treadmill. In addition, Peloton has received 72 reports of adult users, children, pets and/or objects being pulled under the rear of the treadmill, including 29 reports of injuries to children such as second- and third-degree abrasions, broken bones, and lacerations.”
The Tread+ recall comes after ongoing discussions between the CPSC and Peloton Inc. “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 consumers,” stated Robert Adley, acting chairman of the CPSC.
Peloton Tread+ owners have been encouraged to reach out to Peloton for a refund or appropriate safety remedy for their treadmills. “We have a desire and a responsibility to be an industry leader in product safety,” Peloton stated.
Why the Peloton Tread+ Is Dangerous
We are pleased to see Peloton announce this recall due to ongoing concerns about the slat belt design of the Tread+. When the Tread+ was first released, we expressed concerns about the motorized nature of the slats and the way small fingers, hands or hair could get caught in the rotating slats.
While any treadmill can be dangerous, the specific design of the Tread+ creates some unique hazards. Slat belt treads have been around since the Woodway in the 1970’s, however the Tread+ is propelled by a powerful AC motor that will power the slats up to 12.5mph. Original slat belt treadmills were manually powered, so there was no motor and someone had to be running to move the slats. The motorized feature of the Tread+ makes the slats more dangerous and also creates a situation where the treadmill could be accidentally turned on without someone running on it.
The incline feature on the Tread+ is another unique design on a slat belt treadmill. Most of the manual slat treads are either flat or gently curved to stimulate proper running form. The Peloton Tread+ has a flat deck but it inclines up to a 12% grade. The combination of the incline motor, the slats themselves, and the overall design of the Tread+ makes it extremely heavy and powerful. It weighs over 450 pounds (204kg). Finding an appropriate place to use the Tread+ could pose challenges to a regular family who may not have a separate, locking room that will support a machine of this size and weight.
What To Do If You Own A Tread+ or Tread?
Per Peloton’s website, there are two separate recalls in effect: one for the Tread+, which is the slat belt tread, and one for the new Tread, which is a standard belt treadmill.
Tread+ owners interested in a recall have until November 22, 2022 to receive a full refund. About 125,000 units are affected by the recall. Those who do not want to return their Tread+ also have a few options. “Peloton is offering consumers who do not want a refund the option of moving the Tread+ free of charge to a room where children or pets cannot access the treadmill, and is implementing software improvements to the product to automatically lock the Tread+ after each use and prevent unauthorized access by assigning a 4-digit passcode that will be required to unlock the Tread+.”
The Peloton Tread had a limited release in the US and was only available November 2020 through March 2021. While there are about 1,050 units in the US, most of the Peloton Treads (4,500) were sold in the UK or Canada. Risks posed by the Peloton Tread include the touchscreen coming loose or disconnected from the Tread. Those owners who do not want a full refund on their Tread can apply for a free safety evaluation and any needed repairs.
We are pleased Peloton is responding to safety concerns and hope to see any safety issues addressed more readily in the future.
For more information, see Peloton’s official press release here.
For more information about our concerns regarding the Tread+, see our original post here.