Peloton treadmill safety: What you need to know

Accidents linked to the machines have prompted federal regulators to warn consumers

Peloton Interactive Inc. PTON -1.16% is facing mounting pressure from regulators and politicians after its treadmills were linked to dozens of accidents, including one that led to the death of a child. A federal safety agency has told people with young children or pets to stop using the machine and is asking the company to recall the product.

The company has said it doesn’t intend to recall or stop selling the treadmills, which it says are safe when users follow safety recommendations.

Accidents linked to the machines have prompted federal regulators to warn consumers. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Why does the government consider Peloton treadmills unsafe?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency charged with protecting consumers from dangerous products, says children and small pets could be pulled under the rear of the machines when they are in motion and become entrapped underneath them. The commission says the machines pose "serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death." At issue is Peloton’s Tread+ machine, the only one for sale in the U.S. Peloton sells a smaller version in the U.K. and Canada that the CPSC didn’t address.

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Why does Peloton consider its treadmills safe?

Peloton has said its treadmills aren’t more dangerous than others. "The consequences of not following warnings and safety instructions are consistently grave for all motorized treadmills," the company said last week. The company says the machines are equipped with a safety key to ensure the machines can remain off when not in use. The CPSC contends this is inadequate because at least one injury happened when a parent was using the machine.

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Has anyone died from an accident linked to a Peloton treadmill?

A child was killed in an accident involving a treadmill, Peloton disclosed in March, without providing details. The CPSC said it is aware of 39 incidents involving the Peloton treadmill, including the child’s death.

Will any Peloton treadmills be recalled?

Peloton Chief Executive John Foley has said the company has no plans to recall or stop selling the machines. The CPSC cannot force a product recall but has previously sued companies in an effort to compel them to comply.

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How are Peloton treadmills different from other brands?

The belt is constructed of individual, rubberized slats that are interlocked and run on a rail, while many treadmills use a thinner, continuous belt, according to product-review publication Consumer Reports.

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Why is the government targeting Peloton and not other treadmills?

Peloton treadmills came under investigation by the CPSC after the company informed the agency of the child’s death. The agency said it has since broadened its investigation to look at whether other types of treadmills pose the same risk.

I own a Peloton and have young kids at home. What should I do?

The CPSC is urging owners to stop using the machines if they have pets or small children in their homes. Peloton says that is unnecessary as long as users follow safety recommendations, which include keeping children and pets away from the machine and removing the machine’s safety key when it isn’t in use to prevent its belt from moving.

How would a recall work?

Typically, a company identifies a fix for the safety issue, which could be a repair, replacement or refund of the product, the CPSC said. Recalls are generally voluntary, but in this case Peloton has said it won’t recall the product.

Is the company accepting voluntary returns?

Peloton declined to disclose whether it is accepting voluntary returns.