‘Devastating’: Child dies in treadmill accident

Exercise equipment company Peloton has warned parents to keep children away from its treadmills after the death of a child.

Peloton founder and chief John Foley called it a “tragic accident”, one of a “small handful” of incidents in which children have been hurt on the firm’s exercise equipment.

“While we are aware of only a small handful of incidents involving the Tread+ where children have been hurt, each one is devastating to all of us at Peloton, and our hearts go out to the families involved,” he said.

The company is “currently assessing ways to reinforce our warnings about these critical safety precautions to hopefully prevent future accidents,” he added.

In February, a 3-year-old suffered severe head injuries after getting trapped under a Peloton treadmill.

The latest incident report into that accident, disclosed on Wednesday, said the child “was found to have tread marks on his back matching the slats of the treadmill”.

Details about the accident that led to the child’s death were still unclear. The company said it would not release further details, such as when and where it had taken place, “out of respect for the family and their privacy.”

Mr Foley said children should stay away from the firm’s machines, which have surged in popularity during the pandemic.

“We design and build all of our products with safety in mind. But in order to help ensure that you and your family members stay safe with Peloton products in your home, we need your help,” he wrote in the letter to customers.

“Keep children and pets away from Peloton exercise equipment at all times. Before you begin a workout, double check to make sure that the space around your Peloton exercise equipment is clear.”

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission said it was investigating the incident.

Peloton sells cycling machines and treadmills that can be connected online to virtual fitness classes. Its business has boomed as people look for alternative ways to exercise during lockdowns and gym closures.

The firm has said the skyrocketing demand has created supply chain pressures, leading to backlogs in orders for the machines.

Between 2018 and 2020, US emergency department received reports of 17 deaths related to the use of a treadmill, including one involving a 5-year-old.

There were an estimated 22,500 treadmill-related injuries treated, including around 2,000 involving children under the age of eight, according to the consumer product safety commission.