If you have jumped on the Peloton bandwagon, you are not alone. But many parents are exercising with more caution this week after learning about a child’s tragic death on a Peloton treadmill. Consumers are being urged to keep children away from the fitness equipment, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigates.
Peloton Interactive, Inc. became a household name during the 2019 holiday season, with a tongue-in-cheek ad campaign that poked fun at a husband and his “Peloton wife.” Then the pandemic began and Peloton became the fast rising star of the fitness industry. Many rushed to set up a high-end stationary bike or treadmill right at home, then logged into the fun digital app.
Peloton’s CEO announced the child’s death on a Tread+ last week in a letter, revealing the company was also aware of a small handful of other Tread+ accidents involving children. While he cited no injuries in these cases, NBC later reported that another child, a 3-year-old boy, had suffered serious injuries after being found trapped under a Peloton Tread+.
According to SaferProducts.gov, the child’s father had found the boy trapped under a Peloton Tread+ in early February. Initially, he was not breathing and had no pulse. The boy suffered a significant brain injury, along with a neck injury and petechiae on his face, which can occur when one’s blood flow is blocked. Peloton learned about the incident from the CPSC and said the company’s heart went out to the family.
If you or your child has been injured by an unsafe product, you should receive immediate medical care and report your injury promptly to help warn others. You do not have to make a report on your own. Report the incident with guidance from an experienced product liability lawyer at Breakstone, White & Gluck, who can advise you of your legal rights.
This is a timely investigation and conversation. Many families have purchased fitness equipment to use from the convenience of their homes as they juggle family and work responsibilities under COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, treadmill sales rose over 120 percent between March and October 2020, according to the Washington Post. Stationary bike sales nearly tripled.
Treadmills, though a convenient way to exercise from your home and office, are associated with many fitness equipment injuries. Across the country, emergency rooms treated an estimated 22,500 treadmill-related injuries during 2019, according to the CPSC. Children under 8 suffered about 2,000 injuries. There were 17 fatal injuries on treadmills between 2018 and 2020, including a 5-year-old girl.
Using Treadmills Safely in Your Home
According to Consumer Reports, children ages 1 to 6 suffer the most treadmill injuries of any age. Older siblings can also be injured when they just want to try the equipment and interactive features that look like video games.
Consider that young children are often just learning how to ride their first bike and developing their coordination skills. They are not strong enough to use a heavy, mechanical piece of equipment, not even for just a moment under an adult’s supervision.
Treadmill companies have a duty to warn consumers about the potential harm to children and how to prevent injuries to children. Manufacturers also have to watch how they showcase fitness equipment in ads and commercials. If a consumer sees a bike set up in a living room or family space, this may leave the impression that this is safe near children and families.
You can take steps to protect your children by securing fitness equipment in a separate room, away from your children and pets. Just as important, remove the safety key when you are done using the treadmill and fold it up if possible.
Mechanical Defects and Other Issues with Treadmills
When you buy fitness equipment, you may wonder whether you will enjoy using it or if it will be worth the investment. No one expects to be injured or see their child injured.
Yet there are many defective and unsafe products sold each year. This includes defective equipment which should have never been sold due to defective design or manufacturing error. Injuries can also happen when a manufacturer fails to warn the consumer about unsafe use. Manufacturers have a duty to promptly report when their products cause injury or wrongful death.
Many treadmill injuries can be traced back to poor manufacturing. Consumers have no warning about mechanical problems, such as spinning belts and erratic motors, until they use the machines. As a result, a consumer can lose their stop or fall, first hitting a moving treadmill and suffering head injuries or skin lacerations.
Improper set up can also contribute to injuries. Treadmills should come with instructions on where to safely place the equipment in your home or office. When a user misses a step, they are much more likely to get caught in the tread mat or hit a wall if they do not have adequate space. Read the instructions carefully as treadmills can come in different weights and sizes at times. As a guide, consider the ASTM International treadmill recommendations are to leave at least 6 1/2 feet of free space behind the treadmill. There should be about 1 ½ feet on each side. But your model may have different specifications.
Incomplete or incorrect labeling is another source for fitness equipment injuries. Without proper warning, the consumer cannot make the best decision about whether the product is safe for purchase and use in their home environment.
In addition to larger fitness equipment, be aware of small accessory equipment. Weights, air-filled exercise balls and yoga straps all look simple to use. But these fitness products can be poorly made with cheap materials, making them unsafe for both children and adults.
In one recent case, one of our attorneys led an investigation and negotiations which resulted in a $1.15 million product liability settlement for our client.
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Defective Product Attorneys
Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston is committed to providing our clients with aggressive and thorough representation. If you or someone in your family has been injured by an unsafe product, contact our product liability lawyers. We serve clients across Massachusetts, including in Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Framingham, the North and South Shores, Cape Cod, Fall River and Worcester. For a free consultation, call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
There is a disturbing new report out about children ingesting rare-earth magnet sets at an accelerated rate since 2016, when the industry overturned a federal sales ban in court. The magnet industry now markets these powerful cluster sets to adults, but children continue to swallow them. Parents can take precautions by double checking holiday gifts and discarding any of these products.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a rule banning the small rare-earth magnet sets in 2014 after hundreds of children reportedly ingested the magnets. The rare-earth magnets were (and still are) about 10 times as strong as other magnets. The CPSC’s ban required magnetic parts to have a lower force of attraction of 50 kG² mm² or less.
Magnet makers are now working to establish a voluntary safety standard to avoid future attempts at regulation. With the committee votes due in January, The Washington Post reports safety warnings may be added, but actual product changes are unlikely.
The Washington Post reported on many aspects of the process, including:
Voting members. The ASTM International organization oversees the process for creating voluntary safety standards for consumer products. The committee set to vote includes safety advocates and magnet industry officials or those with ties to the industry. CPSC staff is involved, but do not lead the process.
One potential issue is the number of voting members has shifted recently from 36 to 33, according to The Washington Post. The magnet industry can only represent 49 percent of the vote according to ASTM guidelines, but the industry and members with ties to the industry accounted for 55 percent of the vote when the story was published. The newspaper also reported some of the voting members were incorrectly categorized.
No agreement on magnet size. Some of the committee members want to make the magnets too large to swallow and/or decrease the strength to reduce the risk a child’s risk of organ damage. These committee members asked about increasing the magnet size to 1.25 inches in diameter. This would fall more into line with the federal “small parts” law which requires toys to carry a choking hazard warning if any parts fit through a cylinder with this diameter. The bottom of the testing cylinder is slanted, opening 1 to 2.25 inches. The choking hazard warning must also state, “Not for children under 3 yrs.”
Industry officials oppose, saying the proposal would make the tiny magnets six times as large and also increase the magnet force.
The ballot calls for adding new safety warnings on packaging and a change so consumers can visually check that all the advertised magnets are inside the box. There are no other changes.
While a voluntary safety standard should improve safety, a CPSC commissioner told The Washington Post the process can actually cost lives. Rare-earth magnets are just one story when change isn’t about protecting children, but protecting an industry. As a consumer, take time to really read just what the safety warnings and labels say.
The CPSC offers an online database for product recalls and updates. You may find advisories associated with certain types of products before a formal recall occurs. Other organizations – such as Consumer Reports, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Safe Kids – also publish valuable information and insights. Subscribe to newsletters and learn as much as you can about shopping for children’s products and toys.
Breakstone, White & Gluck shares product recalls on our blog and Facebook page. Read more about rare-earth magnets and magnet gifts for children in our recent blog, “Keep Magnet Toys Off Your Holiday Shopping List.”
About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Product Liability Lawyers
With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck has expertise in handling all types of product liability claims, including those involving defective consumer products, dangerous toys, unsafe vehicles and hazardous medical devices. Our Boston product liability lawyers represent clients who have been injured by negligence throughout Massachusetts, from Boston to Plymouth to Cape Cod, Worcester, Western Massachusetts and the North Shore.
For a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys, call us today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.
W.A.T.C.H. has released its annual nominees for the 2018 Worst Toys list. The Boston non-profit warns shoppers to steer clear of the following toys this holiday season:
Nickelodeon Nella Princess Knight Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lites
Parents should never leave infants in their cribs with toys, especially those with small pieces or strings. This toy is marked for ages 0+, for use as a nightlight or bedroom toy. While it does carry some warning labels – warning parents not to leave it in the crib or let children play with it unattended – this isn’t enough to protect children. W.A.T.C.H. cited this and other hazards, including small accessories and a warning about batteries which can leak. This toy is being sold online through Target.com and Google Express, as well as in Target stores.
Nerf Vortext VTX Praxis Blaster
Nerf toys have received bad press for causing eye injuries. In this case, the Nerf gun is recommended for users age 8 and older and can shoot 10 discs in a row. W.A.T.C.H. calls this a potential hazard for eye and facial injuries. The blaster is sold at Target. Target.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Ebay.com and Bonanza.com.
Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw
These make the list because they can cause injuries and can encourage hitting. The claws are encouraged for children age 5 and older and the packaging states children can “slash” like the Black Panther.” At the same time, the packaging also advises children not to swing at other people or animals and to steer clear of breakable objects. If children use the toy, they are likely to break all those warnings, which is why W.A.T.C.H. included it this year.
Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade
This is a sword-like toy and made the list for poor taste and the potential for facial and other impact injuries.
Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll
You may think this is a sweet, fun gift. But the toy has a removable headband, which W.A.T.C.H. says can be ingested. The toy is marketed for children age 2+ and is sold at Target, Target.com, CabbagePatchKids.com, Bonanza.com and Blinq.com.
Zoo Jamz Xylophone
This Vtech brand toy made the list for presenting a potential choking hazard. A young child could put the drumstick handle in their mouth and block their airway, W.A.T.C.H. says. The product is designed for children age 1 1/2 to 4 years old. It is sold at Walmart, Walmart.com, as well as Amazon and other retailers.
Nici Wonderland Doll: Miniclara the Ballerina
This pink ballerina and her kitten are not safe, W.A.T.C.H. says. There is nothing wrong with the little girl, but the kitten can become detached and a child could ingest it. A few of the retailers selling the toy: Amazon.com, Walmart and Barnes & Noble.com.
Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket
This product is for children age 6 and older. Children are supposed to step onto the pedal to launch the rocket. The rockets can go high – up to 200 feet. W.A.T.C.H. recommended parents keep it off their holiday shopping lists this year, saying it can cause serious eye or face injuries.
Magnetic fruit toys with a hard plastic knife are not a safe gift, W.A.T.C.H. says. The set is marketed for children age 2+, even though the knife can be used to cause puncture wounds.
Chien Á Promener Pull Along Dog
W.A.T.C.H. says this toy falls between regulations and safety. Manufacturers can only market toys with strings under 12 inches for use in cribs and playpens. Pull toys don’t have the same restriction and the result is a toy with a 19-inch draw string can legally be sold to children. The age recommendation on this product is only 1-3 years old. There are no safety warnings. It is available on Amazon.com, Magic Beans and Mbeans.com.
More information on the 10 Worst Toys of 2018 list.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston law firm specializing in personal injury and product liability claims. We represent those who have been injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others. If you have been injured, it is important to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation to cover lost wages, medical care and other financial losses. For a free legal consultation, contact the Boston personal injury lawyers of Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.