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The US agency is urging consumers to stop using the Peloton Tread + treadmill

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Peloton Co-Founder and CEO John Foley speaks during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at the Moscone Center on September 6, 2018 in San Francisco.

Kimberly White | Getty Images

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Saturday consumers should stop using exercise equipment maker Peloton’s Tread + treadmill when small children or pets are around.

The announcement came a month after Peloton itself reported a treadmill accident that killed a child.

The warning could create additional challenges for the company as it looks to grow its business by selling live systems with online content.

The U.S. agency said it was aware of 39 incidents, including one fatality, and there were reports of a pet and objects being vacuumed under the treadmill. The agency released a video showing a child getting stuck under the device while it was operating, even though the child was able to get out.

If people want to keep using the Tread + they should only do so in a locked room and keep other items away, the agency said. It advised people to unplug the treadmill while not using it and keep the key to turn it on elsewhere and out of the reach of children.

Peloton in a statement made the agency’s claims inaccurate Saturday, saying there is no reason to stop using the Tread + if people adhere to the safety advisories. It said it had told the agency about incidents but determined that the agency did not want to have “meaningful conversations” with the company. Peloton said its classes now include additional safety messages from instructors.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security Subcommittee, made a statement Saturday calling on Peloton to recall the Tread +. “It is not surprising that Peloton would obstruct the commission at every step of their investigation, given the troubling evidence they have for one of their key products,” said Blumenthal.

After getting excited about its exercise bikes and fitness app, Peloton diversified its business with the introduction of the Tread + in 2018. The product was originally called Tread, but in 2020 the company changed the name of the product to Tread +, to make room a cheaper model called Tread. Peloton doesn’t disclose how much of its revenue comes from treadmill sales.

In February, Peloton said it was delaying the launch of the Tread model in the US after it was released in the UK in December. Instead of launching in February, Foley said the company will launch the products in 48 states in May.

Peloton’s share price rose 434% in 2020 as people adopted the company’s products during the coronavirus pandemic as people stayed at home and had limited access to gyms. Peloton’s shares fell nearly 5% on March 18, the day the Foley letter mentioned the accident.

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Katherine Clark