*TreadmillReviewGuru helps consumers find the best home fitness products. When you buy a product we recommend, we may earn a commission.
Last Updated: April 28, 2021
In our treadmill test lab, we see how kids and small pets can get sucked under and badly hurt by the Peloton Tread+ Treadmill.
The Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission released a warning recently about the Peloton Tread+ treadmill. First issued on Saturday, April 17, 2021, the CPSC’s strongly worded warning to Peloton Tread+ owners comes after reports of “one death and dozens of incidents of children being sucked beneath the Tread+.”
From the testing we have done in our treadmill test lab, we agree with the commission and recommend anyone who has small children or pets to stop using the Peloton Tread+ immediately.
Why is the Peloton Tread+ Dangerous for Small Kids and Animals?
Peloton’s Tread+ is a powerful, slat-belt treadmill with a 32” touchscreen designed to lead participants through various running classes similar to their popular cycling classes on the Peloton Bike. The Tread+ has individual slats that run vertically along the deck and wrap around beneath the machine. At the end of the deck as the slats rotate over the edge, a slight gap between slats leaves room for small items, objects, fingers or hair to get trapped and caught. The momentum of the moving belt can then pull or pin objects underneath.
While Peloton Interactive, Inc. stated that the Tread+ is safe when used as directed, the CPSC urged owners 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.”
There are a few designs features about the Peloton Tread+ that make it unique but also more dangerous for small animals and children (and possibly even adults) than comparable treadmills.
5 Reasons the Peloton Tread+ Can Be Dangerous
#1. The Peloton Tread+ is a slat-belt treadmill
The rubberized slats move along the deck on top of ball bearings. Each slat is an individual piece. This creates a more natural feel when running and it allows users to disconnect the belt from the motor and run in “free mode” like you would on a Woodway or other manual treadmill. However, the slats create a gap at the end of the tread when they roll underneath the deck. It is this gap that poses the greatest risk to children and pets due to the fact that small objects could get caught in the gaps and pulled under.
#2: The Peloton Tread+ is motorized
Most slat-belt treadmills are manual and do not have a motor. Some do, and there are several recent brands that now include a motor like the Tread+, but originally the slat belt design was created to allow for a non-motorized running experience. Woodway was the first manual slat-belt treadmill introduced in the 1970’s. In contrast to this original design, the Tread+ has a powerful 2.0 AC motor. When turned to full 12.5mph it is extremely loud and impressively powerful. The motor creates significant speed with which the belt can pull something underneath. On a non-motorized treadmill, a person has to be running on the slats for them to move. A motorized treadmill will operate without someone manually moving the slats.
Combining a slat belt treadmill with a powerful motor is one of the main issues at play with the Tread+.
#3: The Peloton Tread+ has knobs for speed and incline that are easy to reach by a child standing on the deck
Other treadmills have control buttons that are farther up on the console or higher on the touchscreen. However, the Peloton Tread+ control knobs are well within a child’s reach when standing on the belt. Even in idle mode the knobs are functional, so a child standing on the deck could inadvertently turn the speed up to 12.5mph with just a few turns and the belt will instantly start to increase speed.
#4: Slat belt treadmills typically don’t incline but the Tread+ inclines to 15%
Due to the weight of the slats, and the fact that most slat belt treadmills are manual, few slat belt treadmills incline. The Tread+ inclines to 15% which makes it easier for small children or pets to climb or reach underneath and get caught in the moving slats.
#5: The slat belt hangs down beneath the deck
The weight of the slats causes a swag in the belt underneath the deck. Bolts that secure the slats to the belt are visible under the deck and if a small child poked their hand into the space between the belt and the deck when the Tread+ is moving, it could create a significant hazard.
For those who own a Peloton Tread+ and plan to continue to use it, we strongly recommend the following safety protocols.
- First, like the CPSC, we recommend that users always remove the safety key and store it out of reach and out of sight. The treadmill will not operate if the safety key is removed.
- Second, as with any treadmill, always turn the power switch OFF anytime you get off the Tread+
- Third, always unplug the machine when you are finished using it. This may be a hassle, but it is another barrier to an unintended accident.
- Lastly, if you plan to use the Peloton Tread+, use it in a locked room away from children and pets. Even if you are right there, a child could get injured before you are able to intervene.
Our hope is that Peloton will do more to address these issues on future product releases and do everything they can now to prevent further injuries on current Tread+ models.
Are Other Treadmills As Dangerous?
Any treadmill can be dangerous. The moving belt and high speeds make treadmills an especially dangerous piece of equipment. However, since this is a risk with any moving belt, traditional treadmills typically have a bar along the base of the deck that limits what can get moved underneath.
You’ll notice on the Nordictrack x32i pictured above, the belt wraps around the end of the deck and then tucks up inside the machine. A child or object could get caught between the moving belt and the safety bar, but since the belt runs inside the machine, it wouldn’t get pulled underneath in the same way. However, inappropriate use or not properly turning off the machine can lead to injury on any treadmill. Children should never be allowed to play on or around any treadmill.
In this image of the Peloton Tread+ you can see how the slats open slightly as they wrap around the deck. There is no safety bar or other mechanism to block items from getting caught in the slats and pulled under. The belt is loose and hangs down under the deck close to the floor which is also a risk for pulling things under that are alongside the treadmill.
One final precaution is to remember that any piece of fitness equipment can be dangerous. Whether motorized or not, store all equipment away from and out of reach of children. This includes large equipment such as bikes, rowers or treadmills, and also smaller items like resistance bands, weighted balls, kettlebells, dumbbells or anything else that could be dangerous. If you child sees you use it, they will find it inherently more interesting and may decide to “exercise” while you are busy with other tasks. As more people look for opportunities to exercise at home, it is important to take the necessary precautions to make sure your home workout area is safe when you are exercising and safely secured when you are finished.
While we have specific concerns about the Peloton Tread+, it is up to parents and users to make sure their workout equipment is properly stored and used. All owners should take the necessary precautions to make sure your home workout area is safe when you are exercising and safely secured when you are finished.