Peloton is facing pressure from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which on Saturday issued a bulletin warning parents not to use the company's Tread+ treadmill if they have children at home.
"To date, CPSC is aware of 39 incidents including one death," the watchdog group said in the new warning. "CPSC staff believes the Peloton Tread+ poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death. In light of multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller of the product, CPSC urges consumers with children at home to stop using the product immediately."
The CPSC included a video that purports to show how quickly a small child can be sucked beneath the treadmill. The video shows a little girl walking backwards on the treadmill while a young boy plays with a pink ball next to the treadmill. His arms suddenly appear to get stuck under the treadmill, which prompts the girl to get off the treadmill and run for help. The child managed to break free, but continued to crawl back under the treadmill with his ball. While the child appears to wiggle his way out from under the treadmill at the end of the video, the CPSC warned that other outcomes could be far worse.
Last month, Peloton CEO John Foley urged people to use caution after the company became aware of an incident where a child died as a result of an accident with the Tread+ treadmill. Foley warned people to check the area around them before working out to ensure it is clear and to remove the treadmill key after working out, so a child can't start the treadmill when they aren't in the presence of an adult.
A Peloton spokesperson told TODAY on Saturday that the company continues to put an emphasis on safety and that the CPSC has "thus far refused to collaborate with Peloton."
In a statement, the company said it offered to make a joint announcement and that "CPSC was unwilling to engage in any meaningful discussions with Peloton before issuing its inaccurate and misleading press release."
"The importance of following Peloton's safety warnings and instructions is abundantly clear in the video that CPSC included in its unilateral press release. In particular, Peloton instructs Members to remove the Safety Key when the Tread+ is not in use, precisely to avoid the kind of incident that this video depicts. When the Safety Key is detached as instructed, the Tread+ cannot be turned on," the statement said. "The Tread+ includes safety warnings and instructions in several places, including in the user manual, in a safety card left on top of the Tread+ tray on delivery, and on the product itself."
The company told NBC New York the 39 incidents cited by the commission are not solely linked to children, but also include incidents involving objects and a pet, and argues the CPSC statement does not thoroughly enough make that distinction.
Peloton treadmill classes also now include additional safety messages from instructors, who remind runners to make sure their area is free of children, pets and objects, and to remove the safety key at the end of a workout.
The Tread+ treadmill is Peloton's higher end offering and retails for $4,295. The exercise company has become immensely popular amid the pandemic as gyms closed and people looked for a way to stay active from the comfort of home.