An accident involving a Peloton treadmill has left a child dead, the company’s chief executive announced on Thursday.
In a letter posted on the company’s website, John Foley, Peloton’s C.E.O. and a co-founder, said that the company, known for its wildly popular interactive stationary bikes, had recently learned of the fatal accident and was aware of “a small handful of incidents” involving children hurt by its Tread+ treadmill.
“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,” Mr. Foley said.
The company urged Peloton users to adhere to safety warnings concerning Peloton products, asking members to keep them where children can’t get to them and to store safety keys away from children when the machines are not in use.
“There are no words to express the shock and sadness everyone at Peloton feels as a result of this terrible tragedy,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
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.”
The Tread+ operates similarly to a standard treadmill but is outfitted with a 32-inch touch screen that allows users to exercise with help from Peloton instructors and to work out with others in real time. The price starts at $4,295, according to the company website.
A spokesperson said the equipment had been “designed and tested” to be used by people who are at least 16 years old and weigh more than 105 pounds.
A 2020 study from The American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that most at-home treadmill injuries occurred in children under 16 and that the coronavirus pandemic presented a unique risk for injuries as more adults were working from home and children were taking part in remote learning. Common injuries, the study found, included damage to the hands and fingers, such as friction burns or degloving, where part of the skin tissue detaches from underlying muscle.
Throughout the pandemic, Peloton’s popularity has boomed. The company’s value has grown to more than $40 billion during the pandemic as physical gyms have been shuttered and people’s exercise habits have been disrupted.
On Thursday, the company’s stock price closed down 4.6 percent amid the news of the fatal treadmill accident.
Last year the company faced another setback when it recalled pedals on about 27,000 of its stationary bikes after it received reports that clip-in pedals had caused injuries that required stitches or other medical care.
Susan Beachy contributed research.
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