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Serious pushchair issues uncovered by our testing

From wobbly wheels to broken handlebars – here are the pushchair fails you need to watch out for

If you’re spending hundreds of pounds on a pushchair, the last thing you want is for it to have problems or, worse, put your child’s safety at risk.

The worst pushchairs we’ve reviewed have all broken or failed in some way during our testing.

We’re sharing the issues that crop up time after time in our testing, so you can be vigilant and make sure they don’t happen to you.

Or you can go straight to the full list of Don’t Buy pushchairs that have failed our tests.

Structural integrity and durability

More than 80% of our Don’t Buy pushchairs are because a pushchair broke during one of our tests.

That test – for structural integrity and durability – involves replicating two to three years’ of a pushchair’s use.

Each pushchair is wheeled over 206km of bumpy treadmill with the weight of a baby in the seat and a full shopping basket to see if it can stand up to uneven pavements and potholes.

General wear and tear is to be expected, but we’ve seen chassis’ fracture, handlebars snap clean off, broken wheels and wheel brackets, as well as pushchairs that are no longer able to fold.

Discover the best pushchairs we recommend.

Choking and ingestion hazards

As any parent will tell you, you need to be wary of anything that’s small and within reaching distance of your child because it’s a potential choking risk.

Zip pulls and press studs detaching from the pushchair seat or hood are frequent culprits in our tests.

Bumper bars are another risk. We use a special device to ‘bite down’ on the bumper bar of each pushchair we test to check whether a child could bite down it and possibly remove any of the covering or filling and choke on it, but thankfully this is pretty rare.

Find out more about how you can keep your baby safe in our pushchair safety tips.

Hazards from moving parts

Tiny fingers and hands can easily get trapped, so we examine every pushchair we test with probes to check there’s nothing that could hurt your child.

The hood frame and the gap between the bump bar and chassis are places that have proved to be potential entrapment hazards.

But little fingers can also get pinched in locking mechanisms or folding hinges, so we would always advise keeping your baby out of harm’s way when folding a pushchair.

Seat suitability

Not all pushchairs are suitable for newborns. When a baby is very young, he or she needs to lie almost flat as their head and neck muscles are not yet developed.

British Standards state that a pushchair is suitable for use from birth only if the seat reclines to an angle of 150 degrees or more.

Although a manufacturer may claim that seat unit is suitable for babies under six months old, our testing has found instances where the angle between the seat and backrest is too small and it doesn’t meet the necessary criteria.

Equally our test experts have discovered some pushchair seats are far too narrow or the backrest is too short to comfortably accommodate a three-year-old child, despite the promotional blurb for those pushchairs stating that they’re suitable for a child weighing up to 15kg (which is about usually three years old).

Inadequate harness

A well-fitting pushchair harness is vital for your baby’s safety and you should always secure your child when he or she is in the pushchair.

But we’ve seen harnesses that release from the buckle far too easily.

This means that you can’t rely on them to keep your baby safe and if you come to an abrupt halt or you go over any potholes with your child in the pushchair, he or she could potentially fall forward out of the seat head first.

Ease of use issues

We’ve found strollers with wobbly wheels, buggies with very low handlebars and small pushchair brakes that are difficult to access.

Some have a difficult fold or unfold that requires brute strength, or the pushchair in question can take a few steps to fold despite claiming it has a one handed fold.

While a manufacturer may state that a pushchair has a big shopping basket, the bottom could drag on the floor, the sides could be low and insecure or it could be tricky to access, especially when the seat is fully reclined.

These are all issues identified by the Which? experts and parents who jointly test our pushchairs.

Make sure to check our pushchair reviews so you can have confidence that the product you’re buying is worth your time and money.

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