How safe are Pelotons? Expensive home gym equipment linked to number of deaths
The safety of Pelotons, the immersive home workout experience with virtual classes that claims to rival a full gym membership, has been thrust back in the media spotlight following a shocking storyline in the Sex And The City reboot.
In the first episode of ‘And Just Like That’, Carrie’s husband Mr Big (Chris Noth) dies of a heart attack shortly after a 45-minute session on a Peloton Bike, the piece of high-end home gym equipment – prices starting at £1,350/$1,495 – that’s become a must-have in affluent homes.
The brand has also been hit with real-life tragedies, mainly concerning its $2,400 treadmill, the Tread+, which was only released in the US and has since been recalled.
A six-year-old in the US died in an accident in March, although details have never been released. Another incident saw a three-year-old child, who went on to make a full recovery, suffer head injuries after becoming trapped underneath the machine.
Other children have reported ‘burns’ or abrasions, with the family of one three-year-old boy pulled under a Tread+ treadmill saying he will be scarred for life.
In the UK, Peloton customers have reported minor injuries resulting from the use of the £2,295 Tread treadmill, resulting from the screen falling off.
Peloton’s popularity, which soared during lockdown when people couldn’t access gyms, has taken a blow in recent months over safety fears, mainly concerning its $2,400 treadmill, the Tread+, pictured, which was only released in the US and has been recalled
Jocelyn Ratliffe, 6, suffered from severe abrasions to her legs after being sucked under a Peloton Tread+, her father revealed in April, sharing this photo on Good Morning America
The safety of Pelotons, the immersive home workout experience with virtual classes that claims to rival a full gym membership, has been thrust back in the media spotlight following a shocking storyline in the Sex And The City reboot. Mr. Big, pictured, dies after a Peloton ride
Safety first! How to use the Peloton Tread and Bike to avoid injury
After safety fears emerged following the death and injury of young children in the US, how should you use them properly? Here’s our guide:
- Peloton introduced a new safety feature – the Tread Lock, which means users have to tap in a passcode before a machine will start, meaning children can’t operate the machine accidentally.
- Emergency red button on the central grip bar also stops the machine
- A safety key, standard on most treadmills, will also stop the machine if detached from the machine
- Avoid distractions when running such as checking your phone or listening to music that could drown out the sound of a child approaching
- Get to know your equipment’s functions before you use it, and warm up properly to avoid injuries that might require a quick stop are also advised
- Use the machine in a room where you can secure the door while you’re using it, and when you’re not can also reduce the risk of injury
- Ensure the bike is properly secured before starting
- Make use of the emergency break if needed
- Children and pets should be kept away from Peloton and other home exercise equipment at all times.
- The Bike is not meant for children and should only be used by those 14 years of age or older. Children should not play on the Bike
The safety fears have cast a cloud over the success of the brand, which soared during lockdown when people couldn’t access gyms.
It was dealt another blow following the release of the And Just Like That premiere – with shares tanking 11.35 per cent since the show aired at 12.01am PT in the US.
US product safety regulator, the CSPC, first raised concerns about the safety of the Tread+, which is not available in the UK, on April 17, and called on Peloton to recall it.
The death of the six-year-old child had been made public by the company the previous month.
Regulators said they needed to ‘warn the public quickly of the hazard’ after nearly 40 incidents have come to light of children becoming ‘entrapped, pinned, and pulled under the rear roller’ of the Peloton Tread+.
At the time, Peloton CEO John Foley resisted this request.
However on May 5 Peloton announced a US recall on the Tread+ because of these issues, and acknowledged that it had made a mistake in its initial response.
It simultaneously recalled the Tread, which is available in both the US and UK, due to the Tread’s faulty display, which had fallen off and caused injury.
Some 12 minor injuries such as abrasions, cuts or bruises linked to use of the Tread had been reported in the UK at the time of the recall.
The safety of the brand’s popular exercise bikes have also been put under scrutiny.
In 2020, 27,000 Peloton Bikes in the US had to be recalled because of a pedal safety issue.
The Peloton Tread remains on sale in the US and the UK. The Tread+ is currently not available in the US. It was never revealed in the UK.
Customers can still shop the Peloton Bike and the Peloton Bike+ in the US and the UK.
Peloton has explained how children and pets should be kept away from Peloton and other home exercise equipment at all times.
The equipment is not designed for use by children.
THREE-YEAR-OLD BOY LEFT WITH THIRD-DEGREE BURNS
The three-year-old boy suffered third degree burns to his back and sides after he became trapped under a Peloton Tread+ in Brooklyn, New York last year
A three-year-old boy suffered horrific third-degree burns after getting trapped underneath a ‘defective and dangerous’ Peloton treadmill, a lawsuit filed in July claimed.
Sarah and Ygal Saadoun, of Brooklyn, New York, filed a lawsuit against Peloton in New York State Supreme Court regarding the severe injuries their son suffered.
They claim their son was sucked under the Peloton Tread+ in July last year 2020. The boy became trapped under the treadmill’s ‘rotating belt’ and it continued to run while he was underneath it, the lawsuit says.
He suffered third degree burns to his back and sides as a result of the incident.
The little boy has been left with permanent scarring and disfigurement, as well as ‘shock, emotional distress, pain and suffering’, according to the lawsuit.
The Saadouns argue that Peloton knew, or should have known, that the treadmill was ‘extremely and unreasonably dangerous’.
Safety regulators had issued a warning about the model back in April, urging people with children and pets to immediately stop using the Tread+ after one child died and dozens were injured.
They released released footage that showed how one boy became trapped head-first under the running treadmill before eventually wriggling free.
The fitness company then recalled about 125,000 of the Peloton Tread+ models and agreed to stop selling them the following month.
The Saadoun family are seeking unspecified damages from Peloton as a result of the boy’s injuries.
DEATH OF A SIX-YEAR-OLD CHILD
Peloton co-founded and CEO John Foley shared news of the fatality in a letter addressed to owners of Tread+ in March. He urged customers to exercise caution when using the equipment
In March 2021, Peloton CEO John Foley revealed in a letter to customers that a six-year-old child had died in an accident involving Peloton’s Tread+ treadmill.
No details of the child, their family, or how the accident occurred have been made public.
However, it did prompt Mr Foley to urge parents to keep children away from Peleton 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,’ Foley wrote.
Foley, who is also a co-founder of Peloton, went on to share the company’s standard safety warnings, among them keeping children and pets away from exercise equipment at all times, and removing the safety key from the treadmill at the end of a workout.
‘We design and build all of our products with safety in mind,’ Foley stated.
‘But in order to help ensure that you and your family members stay safe with Peloton products in your home, we need your help.
‘This is especially true during what I hope is the final stretch of the pandemic where everyone is still at home.’
CHILD DRAGGED UNDER A PELOTON WHILE PLAYING
In April US federal regulators released a terrifying video of a child being dragged under a Tread+ treadmill as they warned consumers to stop using the equipment. The child, seen bottom right, was pulled under the treadmill while it was in use
The graphic video shows a young boy being sucked beneath a Peloton Tread+ and grappling to free himself from the exercise machine
In the harrowing video, a little girl is seen walking on the treadmill which is turned on. A little boy then walks behind the exercise machine and picks up a big pink ball
GIRL, 6, LEFT WITH LEG ABRASIONS
Brandon Ratliffe with daughter Jocelyn
A six-year-old girl suffered severe abrasions to her legs after she was sucked under her father’s Peloton Tread+ treadmill, her father said.
‘It was pretty traumatic,’ Brandon Ratliffe recounted to Good Morning America.
He shared photos of his daughter, Jocelyn, that showed bruising and severe scrapes on her legs.
Jocelyn was dragged under the device feet-first, her dad said.
In April US federal regulators released a terrifying video of a child being dragged under a Tread+ treadmill as they warned consumers to stop using the equipment.
In the harrowing video, a little girl is seen walking on the treadmill which is turned on.
A little boy then walks behind the exercise machine and picks up a big pink ball.
He holds the ball toward the back of the treadmill and the ball is seen being pulled under the machine, dragging the boy’s arms with it.
This appears to cause the treadmill to stop moving as the boy’s arms lift the machine slightly off the ground.
The little girl gets off the treadmill and dashes off out of view, while the boy appears to be stuck.
The treadmill moves again, slowly at first as it appears the boy is trying to resist it moving and pulling him further under the equipment.
At this point, the power of the machine appears to cause the little boy to shake and suddenly the treadmill resumes a faster speed, dragging the boy further underneath to his head.
He continues to be pulled under more and more until only his legs are sticking out as he appears to thrash his legs in an attempt to free himself.
The boy manages to pull himself back out from underneath the treadmill which continues to move and he is seen walking out of view away from the machine.
Peloton has explained how children and pets should be kept away from Peloton and other home exercise equipment at all times. The equipment is not designed for use by children.
And Just Like That’s shocking Peloton death – and the company’s response
The premiere episode frequently featured Mr. Big referencing his favorite Peloton instructor, Allegra, a fictional character played by real Peloton instructor Jess King.
Towards the end of the episode, he gets a ride in. While he is cycling, his beloved wife Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) attends the piano recital for Charlotte’s (Kristin Davis) daughter.
After his workout, Big is seen heading to the shower, when suddenly he clutches his shoulder and collapses, as Carrie states in voice over, ‘And just like that Big died.’
Shocking: The beloved ladies of Sex and the City returned with the first two episodes of the ‘next chapter,’ a 10-episode series dubbed And Just Like That… which kicked off with quite the shocking death
Peloton spokesperson Denise Kelly confirmed that the company approved King’s portrayal of a fictional instructor in the episode, reports NBC News.
However, ‘due to confidentiality reasons, HBO did not disclose the broader context surrounding the scene to Peloton in advance,’ Kelly said.
It meant that while Peloton knew that their bike would be featured in the episode, they did not know how prominently it would be shown, nor that Mr Big would die.
In response to the And Just Like That storyline, Peloton issued a statement through Cardiologist Dr Suzanne Steinbaum, insisting that Mr Big riding a Peloton bike would have helped delay his fatal heart attack.
Dr Steinbaum, who works for Peloton on its Health & Wellness Advisory Council said Mr Big’s history of cardiac arrest would have put him at higher risk of a heart attack.
Peloton: As DailyMail.com exclusively reported in August, it was revealed at the end of the premiere that Mr. Big (Chris Noth) died of a sudden heart attack, shortly after exercising on a Peloton bike
The Sex and the City fan said she was saddened to learn of Mr. Big’s passing, and elaborated on what likely caused his heart attack in a statement released by Peloton.
‘I’m sure SATC fans, like me, are saddened by the news that Mr. Big dies of a heart attack,’ Steinbaum began in her statement to US Weekly.
‘Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle — including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks — and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6.
‘These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.’
Steinbaum also revealed that, ‘more than 80 percent of all cardiac-related deaths are preventable’ by changing one’s lifestyle, diet and exercise.
‘While 25 percent of heart attacks each year are in patients who already had one (like Mr. Big), even then they are very, very treatable,’ she continued.
‘It’s always important to talk to your doctor, get tested, and have a healthy prevention strategy. The good news is Peloton helps you track heart rate while you ride, so you can do it safely.’