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.
‘Tis the season to shop for holiday toys and gifts. Or to bring that product back, for a full refund or replacement?
While a record number of consumers shopped for the holidays, IKEA and Honda issued major safety recalls in November. We share an update on these recalls and continue our Project KidSafe series on toy safety.
Honda Odyssey Recall. It’s a replacement part if you own a Honda Odyssey and unfortunately, you can expect to wait.
Just in time for the Thanksgiving drive, Honda recalled 107,000 Honda Odyssey vans because the power doors may improperly latch and can potentially open while the vehicle is in operation. Honda has not received any reports of injuries.
Honda recalled vehicles from the 2018 and 2019 model years on November 20, 2018. The automaker called on drivers to request replacement power sliding door kits through an authorized Honda dealer. Replacement parts should arrive at licensed dealers in late December.
Honda advised owners they can disable the power door. Use manual operation until replacements arrive.
This is not the first recall involving Honda Odyssey vans. Last year, 900,000 Odyssey models from 2011 – 2017 were also recalled. In that case, Honda reported second-row seats could tip forward if not properly latched. Tipping could happen during moderate or heavy braking if seats were not properly latched after adjusting side-to-side or reinstalling a removed seat. Honda received 46 reports of minor injuries.
To learn more about the recalls, visit the Honda website.
IKEA Tables. It is a return if you have an IKEA table. The retailer recalled 8,200 dining tables in the U.S. and 1,500 in Canada on November 27, 2018, warning the table’s glass extension leaf can detach and drop.
This has already happened three times. IKEA reports one minor injury, requiring no medical attention.
These tables sold at IKEA stores and online from February 2017 through October 2018. They sold for approximately $300. IKEA says consumers can return them for a full refund or a replacement table. Learn more on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
Consumer Safety Tip: Consumers do not have to wait for the news media to report unsafe products and product recalls. You can view recalls online on the CPSC website and even sign up to receive email alerts when products are recalled. Visit the toy safety page on our website to learn how to sign up.
Not every recall is the same. The CPSC can release product recalls calling for refunds or replacements. Some products can be repaired easily. Others cannot. Consumers should pay attention to all recalls. Encourage friends and family to do the same: return and refund or replacement/repair. Another option is just remove the recalled product from your home, if it can be taken apart and discarded with care, so other children cannot reuse it.
A Decade of Toy Safety Efforts, Passage of Federal Safety Legislation to Protect Massachusetts Families
At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston product liability lawyers specialize in representing those injured by defective products. Toy injuries are common, even though toys should only be safe and fun for children. It is painful to learn they can be defective or may not have been fully tested or properly labeled. Defective toys can cause serious injuries, including fingertip lacerations, burns, facial injuries and broken bones. For children under age 3, the leading hazard is toys which contain small parts and balloons which can cause choking and suffocation. Toys should be tested to see if parts can fit through the “small parts” test. Those which pass through the “small parts” cylinder should have age-appropriate warnings, which read “Choking Hazard – Small Parts. Not for Children Under 3 Yrs.”
Among older children and teens, Hoverboards and riding toys are popular holiday gifts. These toys have injured and killed in recent years, with Hoverboards also burning down homes as the lithium ion batteries charged. Before you buy, check the CPSC’s safety standard for Hoverboards (UL2272 safety standard). Remember the standard is still new, first issued in 2016, and not an endorsement for safety. In fact, the CPSC has strongly urged consumers not to buy Hoverboards, as has W.A.T.C.H., the Boston-based non-profit which included Hoverboards on its “10 Worst Toys” lists.
Taking the time to check if a toy you want to buy – or already own – has been recalled can prevent injuries and save your loved ones’ lives. The number of toy recalls varies by year, but there are always recalls. So far in 2018, we have seen child-related recalls of dolls, toys with loose wheels, clothing, toys with excessive lead limits and go karts. In 2017, the CPSC reported 28 recalls of individual products. Over the past 10 years, 2008, 2009 and 2010 have seen the most toy recalls, with the highest number coming in 2008, when 172 toys were recalled, according to the CPSC.
This was the first year of major safety changes, including passage of the landmark Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008. For the first time, toys had to be tested to ensure compliance with the law and the CPSC was granted greater authority in overseeing toy safety standards. Federal limits were also imposed on toys containing lead and other chemical hazards. In December 2008, Mattel and subsidiary Fisher Price agreed to pay $12 million to Massachusetts and 38 other states over events leading to recalls of toys with lead levels above the new federal limit.
Beyond toys, children’s products are also subject to frequent recalls, including names like Graco car seats and Britax strollers. This is a frightening fact, because these products carry children.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corp. have issued a large product recall for dehumidifiers which can overheat, smoke, melt and catch on fire.
The voluntary recall, issued in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is for 795,000 Kenmore Dehumidifiers. The devices were manufactured by LG Electronics (TIanjin) Appliance Co. Ltd., of Tianjin, China.
There have been 107 reports of incidents involving injury, including three cases of smoke inhalation. The humidifiers have caused more than $7 million in property damage.
The product recall covers 35-, 50- and 70-pint dehumidifiers which were manufactured between 2003 and 2005. They were sold at Sears and Kmart stores nationwide as well as the stores’ websites from 2003 to 2009 for between $140 and $220.
If you suspect you have a defective device, click the link below to see if your product model number is on the list and how to contact the store. Consumers who own a defective device are advised to immediately stop using it and unplug it. They will be compensated with a gift card which can be used at Sears or Kmart, as well as with a $25 coupon to purchase a new device at Sears.
LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co. issued another dehumidifier recall in 2009 and again in 2011 for 98,000 units. The Goldstar and Comfort-Aire dehumidifiers had a power connector which could short circuit, posing a fire risk. The company issued that recall after receiving 11 reports of property damage totaling more than $1 million. A Hudson, Mass. sustained $183,000 in damage from one of the defective dehumidifiers.
Those dehumidifiers were sold at The Home Depot, Walmart and Heat Controller Inc. nationwide from January 2007 and June 2008. In that case, consumers were advised to stop using the defective products and contact LG to arrange a free repair at an authorized service center.
Sears Recalls Kenmore Dehumidifiers Due to Fire and Burn Hazards, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Dehumidifiers Recalled by LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Due to Fire and Burn Hazards, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Product Liability, Breakstone, White & Gluck.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Walmart of Bentonville, Ark. and Toys R Us Inc., of Wayne, NJ announced the recall Thursday, May 10. The Banzai inflatable water slides are designed for use with in-ground pools, but the CPSC says they pose a risk for injury. They can deflate and a user can hit the cement ground underneath the slide. The slide is also unsecure and can fall over, in both windy and still conditions. Finally, it carries inadequate warnings and instructions for users.
The CPSC is aware of one death and two serious personal injuries. In one case, a 29-year-old Colorado mother died in Andover, to the north of Boston. The woman died after going down a Banzai inflatable slide and hitting her head on the pavement below. The slide had been partially deflated.
The recalled pool slides were manufactured in China by Manley Toys, Ltd. and sold at Walmart and Toys R Us stores nationwide from January 2005 through June 2009. The defective product was sold for about $250. The vinyl slides have a blue base, yellow sliding mat and an arch going over the slide. The words ‘Banzai Splash’ are printed on the side of the defective slide.
The CPSC urges consumers to immediately stop using the defective product and return it to a Walmart or Toys R Us for a full refund. Consumers can also cut out the two safety warnings on the slide and return those for a refund. For additional information, visit www.walmart.com and www.toysrus.com.
Consumers can determine whether they have the slide by clicking here to look at pictures posted by the CPSC. If you still have the box and packaging, look for barcode number 2675315734 and model number 15734.
Consumers want to take note of two recent product safety announcements, one involving a popular blender sold at Target stores and another concerning an antinausea drug which has been linked to a potentially fatal heart rhythm.
Defective Blender: On Sept. 15, 2011, Target Corp. and manufacturer Select Brands, Inc. announced the recall of the Chefmate(r) 6-Speed Blender. Target and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have received 11 reports of the blender’s blades separating from the pitcher. In seven cases, consumers using the recalled Target product suffered serious lacerations and injuries to fingers and hands.
Approximately 304,000 defective blenders were sold at Target stores in Massachusetts and nationwide between September 2007 and Febrauary 2011. The blenders have the model number BL-10.
Consumers are advised to return the recalled product to Target stores for a full refund or contact the store’s guest relations department at 800-440-0680.
Drug Danger: Also on Sept. 15, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced clinicians should avoid prescribing the drug ondansetron to patients with congenital long QT syndrome, which is a syndrome affecting the electrical functions of the heart. These patients are at risk for developing an abnormal and potentially fatal heart rhythm called torsades de pointes.
Ondansetron is widely known as Zofran, manufactured by GlasxoSmithKline. It is prescribed to prevent nausea and vomiting experienced during cancer chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
The FDA is revising the drug’s label to warn about the risk for the heart arrythmia. It will include recommendations for electrocardiogram monitoring for patients with electrolyte abnormalities, congestive heart failure and bradyarrhythmias and for patients taking other medications.
The FDA is also requiring GlaxoSmithKline to conduct a study to determine the degree to which ondansetron may trigger the complications.
The Massachusetts product liability lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck are experienced in representing individuals injured by defective products, including defective medical devices and improperly used medications. If you have been injured, contact us toll-free at 800-379-1244 for a free legal consultation. You can also use our contact form.
Fisher-Price has recalled a popular toy truck after its plastic handle has been found to pose a laceration risk.
The East Aurora, New York toymaker recalled its Little People® Builders’ Load ‘n Go Wagon in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada this week. About 208,000 defective toy trucks were recalled in the United States and 2,800 in Canada. The toy trucks were sold in mass merchandise retail stores nationwide from June 2009 through July 2011 for about $25. They were manufactured in Mexico.
The toy truck is being recalled because its plastic handle has molded-in reinforcement. If a child falls on it, he could suffer a laceration.
The CPSC and Fisher-Price are aware of seven reports of personal injuries. Five reports came from children requiring surgical glue or stitches.
Consumers affected by the Fisher-Price recall can call 800-432-5437 or visit www.service.mattel.com for a free repair kit. The recall involves the wagon with the model number P8977. More information is available on the Mattel website.
Product recalls and deaths related to unsafe toys have declined in recent years, but toy-related injuries have been increasing. In 2009, 186,000 children under 15 were treated for toy-related injuries in emergency rooms, up from 152,000 in 2005.
In 2009, 12 children under 15 suffered wrongful deaths involving defective toys, a 50 percent decrease over the two prior years. Meanwhile, in 2010 there were 44 toy recalls, a significant drop from 172 in 2008.
The CPSC offers a few tips for parents: purchase age-appropriate toys, include safety gear whenever you buy sports equipment and ride-on toys and always be aware of your child’s location during play. Parents should also closely inspect toys prior to giving them to children.
Just weeks after a massive children’s crib recall, a portable playard tent linked to a young boy’s fatal strangulation has been pulled for safety.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada, in cooperation with Tots in Mind Inc. of Salem, New Hampshire, has announced the voluntary recall of 20,000 Cozy Indoor Outdoor Portable Playard Tents Plus Cabana Kits. An additional 85 tents were recalled in Canada.
The tent is a white dome-shaped covering designed to fit over playards that contain a child. In December 2008, a two-year-old boy from Vinalhaven, Maine died when he climbed out of the playard. He was found hanging with his neck entrapped between the playard frame and the metal base rod of the tent. In this case, the tent had been tied to the playard with pieces of nylon rope and partially attached with the tent’s clips because the child knew how to remove the clips.
In three other incidents, children removed the clips on the tent and were able to place their necks between the tent and the playard. The children were not injured.
The unsafe cribs were made in China and sold at Walmart, Amazon and various baby stores from January 2005 to February 2010.
Consumers should immediately stop using the playard tents. They can contact Tots in Mind to get free replacement clips. Replacement clips will be available in late August or early September.
This is the second major product safety recall affecting parents and children in recent weeks. In June, the CPSC recalled two million cribs because of an unsafe drop-side rail, which created a gap where a baby’s head could become trapped. Government officials say this could lead to suffocation or strangulation.
Massachusetts has banned the commercial use and sale of lacquer sealer, a highly flammable wood floor finishing product linked to deadly home fires.
Gov. Deval Patrick signed the safety bill into law this week. The bill had strong support from MassCOSH (the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health), which convened a Floor Finishing Safety Task Force to investigate the problem.
The task force was convened after a 2004 house fire in Somerville claimed the lives of two Vietnamese floor sanders and burned their co-workers. Shortly after, a Vietnamese flooring contractor died in a Hull house fire. Both fires involved the use of lacquer sealer used in floor finishing.
“This groundbreaking law will save lives and end floor finishing fires that have caused so much pain and destruction,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director of MassCOSH. “We owe a great deal of thanks to the Governor and Legislature for recognizing these grave dangers and taking action to protect workers and residents.”
Following the three fatal fires, the Floor Finishing Safety Task Force issued a 2005 report stating Boston had seen 25 fires involving lacquer sealer over the 10 previous years and Needham had seen two in the prior year that threatened worker safety.
In the 2005 report, the task force recommended the state promote use of non-flammable water-based finishers to protect Massachusetts worker safety and prevent worker deaths.
The task force observed the problem of flammable lacquer sealer was targeting Massachusetts’ Vietnamese community, which has a large concentration of workers in the floor finishing industry.
The bill proposing the ban was jointly filed by state Rep. Martin Walsh and Sen. Patricia Jehlen.
Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston is a supporter of MassCOSH and its work to protect Massachusetts construction workers and other employees.
To learn more, visit the MassCOSH website.