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Unsafe baby strollers may be on market despite recalls

Parents are cautioned to be careful about which stroller they buy, and also to make sure they're using it properly.
December 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Most baby strollers are completely safe. But over the years Consumer Reports and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have found several strollers that could pose a risk of strangulation. Parents are cautioned to be careful about which stroller they buy, and also to make sure they're using it properly.

"He was just the greatest baby, he really was. I mean, I know everyone says that about their own children, but he was smart and he was funny, and he was the best thing that ever happened to me," said Laura Guardino, whose son died in a stroller accident.

Seven-month-old Bobby Knipper's parents never thought it would be dangerous to put him down for a nap in his stroller. But then a horrible accident occurred.

"He was stuck in the stroller. And they took him to the hospital, and from there he was gone," said Guardino.

The stroller was deemed dangerous enough to be recalled in 2010 after Bobby's death. The problem? The size of the space between the tray and the seat.

"The opening is large enough to allow a child's unharnessed torso to slide through, but not big enough for the head," said Dr. Eric Mallow, Consumer Reports. "So the head can get caught and a child can be strangled. To stay safe, all children should be harnessed in their strollers."

Bobby was not strapped in, but Consumer Reports says strollers should be safe even if the child is unharnessed. Consumer Reports tests have found several strollers in the past few years that pose a similar strangulation risk. Many have been recalled. But a recall doesn't mean the strollers are completely off the market.

"We recently went on Craigslist and easily bought two used strollers that had been recalled and posed a similar hazard," said Mallow.

When shopping for a stroller, check the Consumer Reports recommendations. Those strollers perform well in Consumer Reports safety tests. One good choice is the $180 Chicco Cortina.

Whichever stroller you use, Consumer Reports says be sure to always use the harness to strap in your child.

Currently most stroller manufacturers adhere to a voluntary standard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is developing a mandatory safety standard for strollers that's expected to be in place within the next year.


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