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Peloton Fights Federal Safety Recall Request Over Treadmill Linked To Child's Death

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Peloton is under federal pressure to recall its Tread+ machine after one child died and other customers were injured last month.

What Happened: Federal regulators are asking exercise equipment company Peloton Interactive Inc (NASDAQ: PTON) to conduct a safety recall of its $4,295 Tread+ treadmill.

Peloton is fighting the request, which comes after a child died and dozens of others were injured using the machine last month, the Washington Post reported, citing officials familiar with the matter.

According to the Washington Post, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) earlier this week issued a subpoena asking Peloton to provide "the name of the child who died and the family's contact information so regulators can continue an inquiry into what went wrong."

The CPSC has found "dozens" of incidents involving Peloton's treadmills, including reports of users who experienced injuries such as broken bones and head trauma after getting trapped beneath the equipment.

Peloton issued a statement today calling the agency's information "inaccurate and misleading."

Separately in February, the CPSC also received a report about the Tread+ when a 3-year-old boy suffered a "significant brain injury" after being pulled under the treadmill.

After reports on the number of accidents and the severity of the injuries reported, CPSC staff decided to recommend that Peloton issue a product safety recall.

Peloton, which is worth $34 billion, has been negotiating with regulators on the wording and timing of an alert to consumers regarding possible dangers posed by the Tread+.

Peloton came under fire in March after its CEO and co-founder John Foley posted a letter to its website about the child's death, calling it a "tragic accident." Critics said the company did not do enough to address the family involved.

Peloton bikes range in price from $1,895 to $2,495, and the treadmills cost from $2,495 for the basic model to $4,295 for Tread+.

Why It Matters: The company has said its treadmills are "safe for use when the warnings and safety instructions we provide are followed."

Treadmill-related accidents and deaths are at an alarming stage in the U.S. According to the CPSC, an estimated 22,500 treadmill-related injuries were treated at emergency departments in 2019. About 2,000 in children under 8 years old were treated in the department.

The agency received reports of 17 deaths associated with treadmills from 2018 to 2020.

Photo: Courtesy of Peloton

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