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Pushchair safety concerns spark investigation

Finger-trap danger may be widespread

The government has launched an investigation into the safety of pushchairs following reports of children’s fingers being amputated by dangerous folding mechanisms.

Government body Consumer Focus is investigating the safety of pushchairs and wants to hear from anyone who has been injured while using one.

It’s focusing on the safety of side hinge mechanisms, which are found on a wide range of lightweight stroller pushchairs, and have been known to amputate children’s fingers.

Buying a new pushchair? Get the right buggy for your child using Which? pushchair reviews of over 145 pushchairs from brands including Silver Cross, Quinny, Bugaboo and Graco.

Maclaren pushchair safety

The investigation follows Maclaren’s decision to recall one million pushchairs in the US in November 2009 and issue safety kits to UK Maclaren pushchair owners.

The brand came under fire last year when 12 children reportedly had their fingers amputated by their pushchair’s folding mechanism. As a result it issued free hinge covers to UK customers.

Responding to news of the Consumer Focus investigation a Maclaren spokesperson said: ‘The increased consumer awareness of potential risks is a signal to all manufacturers with similar products to take action.’

Maclaren said it would now offer its hinge cover design free to all manufacturers of strollers – waiving its rights through patent protection – to promote child safety.

Pushchair hinge danger

Consumer Focus is concerned the pushchair hinge safety issue may be widespread, as many manufacturers use similar pushchair hinges to Maclaren.

Head of complaints of general interest Gemma Bowen, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘The safety of the side hinge mechanism is an issue that is wider than just one make of pushchair – many umbrella-style and stroller-style pushchairs use a similar mechanism.

‘We are investigating what can be done to make consumers safer, and how best manufacturers and retailers can work to ensure that pushchairs are as safe as they can be.’

Read our Maclaren pushchair safety alert Q&A to find out what the safety issue means for UK Maclaren pushchair owners, or view our pushchair reviews to find the most suitable model for your child.

Buggy safety

Which? pushchairs expert Lizzy Ruffles said: ‘When the news about the Maclaren recall first hit the headlines, Which? highlighted that the potential hinge finger-trap problem was likely to be an issue with all pushchairs using an umbrella folding mechanism.

‘We’re pleased to see that Consumer Focus is taking action to consider the safety of all pushchairs, and hope this will result in an update to the current British safety standards, to ensure these products are as risk-free as possible.’

The government does not currently collect accident data from hospital accident and emergency departments. Which? would like to see the government collecting this data so in future the scale of problems such as this can be more easily established.

Which? tests pushchairs extensively at an independent laboratory, and awards Best Buy status to the best performers. If you want to buy a pushchair which doesn’t have an umbrella folding mechanism, our pushchair reviews can show you those without. 

Has your child been injured?

If you or a member of your family has suffered an injury as a result of a side hinge mechanism on a pushchair, Consumer Focus wants to hear from you.

You can report your experiences to Consumer Focus by emailing cogi@consumerfocus.org.uk, by filling in its pushchair safety survey or by writing to Complaints of General Interest, Consumer Focus, 3rd Floor, Capital Tower, Cardiff, CF10 3AG.

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