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Child Stroller Injuries Prompt Efforts to Boost Safety

May 28, 2013 - Dangerous Products/Liability by

Reports of defective strollers in Alabama and throughout the country, resulting in hundreds of injuries and, sadly, several deaths, have prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to approve the first step in the implementation of federal safety standards for the devices.
Our Birmingham defective products attorneys understand that the CPSC voted unanimously to issue a notice of rulemaking on the issue, which kick-starts the process of establishing a set of uniform safety guidelines for the devices.

The only surprise with this is that it took as long as it did, given the high number of injury reports and the fact that it affected infants and young children.

Of the 1,200 stroller defect incidents reported between 2008 and 2012, some 360 resulted in serious injuries. Four resulted in fatalities.

Adopting a clear set of standards for manufacturers, the safety watchdog group said, would result in fewer of these occurrences.

The agency has already identified a pattern of specific problems that they continue to see over and over again with strollers manufactured and/or distributed in the U.S. Those include:

  • Wheels that break or detach;
  • Lock and parking break failures;
  • Issues with certain hinges;
  • Problems with structural integrity;
  • Entrapment;
  • Car seat attachment malfunctions;
  • Canopy collapses and other issues;
  • Failures with regard to handlebars.

These problems account for the majority of child stroller injuries suffered. Mostly, those injuries include:

  • Amputations of fingers as a result of malfunctioning canopy hinges and folding hinges;
  • Falls that occur when the parking brake fails or the wheels become detached;
  • Injuries caused when the stroller collapses;
  • Head becomes entrapped in one of the openings;
  • Falls that occur when the child is able to unbuckle the restraint harness.

The new rules, though not yet drafted, would aim to cover all types of strollers, including carriages, side-by-side, multiple occupant, travel systems and jogging strollers.

One of the biggest problems has been finger amputations, so that is expected to be a special preventative focus of the guidelines. The goal is for the standards, which will be mandatory, to be effective within a year-and-a-half of the final rule being published in the Federal Register.

In the last few years, the agency has enacted a number of stricter standards for various child products, including full-size cribs, baby bath seats, baby walkers, children’s portable bed rails and play yards.

But strollers seem to have largely been overlooked until now.

A number of stroller recalls have been issued so far this year. Some examples include:

  • The iCandy World Cherry stroller, recalled in March for strangulation hazard;
  • The Bugaboo Cameleon3 stroller, recalled in March for fall hazard;
  • The Mutsy USA EVO strollers, recalled in February due to strangulation hazard;
  • Bugaboo Donkey and Camelion strollers, recalled in January due to fall and choking hazards.

Additional Resources:

CPSC Approves Proposed Rule Aimed at Making Strollers Safer, May 10, 2013, News Release, Consumer Product Safety Commission

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