Within a week of each other, two families have filed a lawsuit against New York company Peloton, the maker and distributor of coveted high-end indoor fitness equipment, claiming that their creation caused injuries to their children.
Parents Sarah and Ygal Saadoun told the New York State Supreme Court that their 3-year-old son, identified only as S.S. in court records, was trapped under the treadmill at a family friend's house and suffered injuries and burns on his back and shoulder.
A week before the Saadouns filed their claim, a family in Florida also sued Peloton in the Northern District Court after their 6-year-old son was dragged under the treadmill. Rashad and Jasmine Greene's son also suffered injuries and burns on his shoulder and face.
Both families said that their boys experienced not just physical pain but shock, distress, and emotional trauma. The children have taken months to recover from their injuries.
A Death Trap
Ygal said that the fitness equipment is a dangerous product that should not have been made because it's a death trap. The father expressed that the treadmill's design could easily allow children to be sucked under it.
In an interview with Good Morning America, the Saadouns recounted what happened to their son, who was injured on the treadmill a year ago. They dropped him off at a friend's house for a sleepover and got the call to rush to the hospital a few hours later. The father said that he was shocked to see the extent of his son's injuries.
On the other hand, the Greene family bought a Peloton treadmill in the summer of 2020 upon learning of the fitness equipment's popularity and benefits. They told the court that their son was also pulled under the machine, which has slats on its conveyor.
The Greenes said there are no safety mechanisms to the treadmill's design, such as bars or belt guards, that would have prevented the accidents. The family said that the makers of Peloton took sleekness than safety into account.
Product Warning and Recall
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning to Peloton owners in April 2021 following 72 complaints of similar incidents involving children and even pets. One incident implied that a child died after being trapped under the machine. The agency said that households with the treadmill must stop using this immediately, especially if they have kids who could be "entrapped, pinned, and pulled" under it.
However, the company called the warning misleading amid the public furor only to backtrack on their stance when John Foley, the CEO, and co-founder of the fitness company, appeared on Good Morning America to apologize to the families personally. Peloton then issued a recall of the treadmill and promised a full refund to the customers. In a statement to ABC News, the management said that they are taking the matter, reports, and complaints seriously and will cooperate with the CPSC.
Meanwhile, Peloton is also involved in a lawsuit filed by some of the company's investors who were not aware that the machine would be a death trap for kids. The investors filed their case in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
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