First of all, calm down. Yes, Maclaren is recalling one million strollers. And yes, some children have been injured by the strollers during the past 10 years. BUT. There are two very important things to keep in mind:
1. This is a voluntary recall – in spite of the injuries (and their frightening nature), the CPSC has not mandated that Maclaren (or any other company that makes similar products) do this recall. Why? Because the injuries have been due to errors in using the product. I’ll get to that in a minute.
2. If you have a Maclaren, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with your stroller. Again, like any other mechanical object, if you use it improperly, you risk injury. The hinge covers designed by Maclaren will eliminate any possibility of injury from misuse, but the stroller itself is fine and you can go on using it as soon as you’ve got the hinge covers in place.
After the media feeding frenzy got started this morning, I called Bahman Kia, Director of Maclaren USA to get the story straight from the source.
The media is reporting “dozens” of amputations. The CPSC has reports of 15 cases of injuries, 12 of which are fingertip amputations, and the rest are lacerations. In all cases, the injury occurred when the stroller was not locked into the open position, a child was placed in the stroller, and stuck his/her fingers into the hinge. “This is a risk with any stroller that uses the umbrella fold design,” Mr. Kia told me. “We are the first company that’s actually done something about it.
“This product has been in the market for 40 years and we stand behind it. It is fully compliant with all the regulatory requirements of the US, Europe, Japan and elsewhere. This is not a compliance issue, but it’s a mechanical product and operator issue can lead to problems. We realized there are so many possible finger trap opportunities when you open and close the product and if parents don’t read the warnings or the manuals, they’re more prone to getting a finger caught. So even though it is an operator issue, we, in cooperation with the CPSC, wanted to make sure that there is no way anyone can have this problem again. We are the first in the industry to do this. We want to take the lead because of our Zero Tolerance policy of safety issues.”
The law requires that consumers stop using the product and request a hinge cover from Maclaren. Mr. Kia stressed that these covers are already in stock and ready to ship out immediately. All registered Maclaren owners have been emailed about the recall and asked to respond if they’d like to receive the hinge covers. If you did not receive this email, the best way to request the hinge covers is at http:// maclaren.us/recall* – there’s also a FAQ section for consumers there.
Should parents be scared to use their Maclaren strollers after this? “Not at all,” Mr. Kia told me. “This is not that type of recall. It is a very simple, easy to install zipper cover. Just zip it on and off you go. “
Read the complete CPSC Maclaren Recall announcement.
* That website is moving very slowly right now, due the inevitable spike in traffic, but give it a couple of hours and it should be caught up.