Are you planning on buying or getting a used stroller from a thrift store, yard sale or a friend? Do you own one?
We have seen some recurring safety incidents involving strollers. One involves the opening between the grab bar or tray and the seat bottom. The other involves fingertip amputations.
Let’s start with the opening. In some older strollers, the opening between the grab bar or tray and the seat bottom is less than 8 inches. This can be a big hazard for babies up to 1 year old. When a baby is not properly harnessed, his or her body can slide down through the opening, but their head and neck get trapped.
CPSC is aware of 30 deaths since 1980 in which a child’s head or neck got trapped between the tray or grab bar and the seat bottom.
Many companies have recalled older strollers because of this risk. For these recalled strollers, there is an easy fix. You simply call the company to get a free repair kit or a replacement piece that prevents a child from slipping through the opening.
Here’s a list of companies supplying this fix for the openings on their recalled strollers:
In addition, owners of Bumbleride Indie or Indie Twin strollers with an adjustable bumper bar manufactured from January 2009 through August 2011 should never set the bar in the intermediate (car seat) position when a child is seated in the stroller.
If you’re about to purchase a used stroller, make sure the opening between the grab bar or tray and the seat opening is 8 inches or more. And check for recalls on SaferProducts.gov or on our Recalls.gov mobile app (for Droid) before you buy. It’s illegal to sell a recalled product.
Whenever you put your baby in a stroller, use the safety harness. This can prevent a baby from slipping and can save a baby’s life. Infants as young as a few weeks old can move around when they sleep. If a baby is sleeping in the stroller without the harness, he or she can slide down to the opening. This is one reason you should never leave a baby, particularly one younger than 12 months old, unattended in the stroller. That’s especially true if the stroller seat’s backrest is in the reclined or flat position.
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Now, let’s turn our attention to fingers. CPSC is aware of at least 23 incidents of fingertip amputations in strollers between 2008 and April 2012 among children under the age of 5. In many cases, children 3 or younger suffered full or partial amputations when their fingers got caught in a hinge. In addition, adults have gotten their fingers caught, too. Amputations typically happen in one of several ways:
- You are using a stroller and a latch stops working, causing the stroller to unexpectedly collapse.
- A child is standing next to or begins to climb into the stroller while a caregiver is unfolding or opening the stroller.
- You lift a collapsed stroller, such as picking it up out of the trunk of a car. One side of the frame unexpectedly unfolds.
- Your finger gets caught in a hinge when you fold or unfold the stroller.
Several companies have recalled their strollers to give caregivers free hinge covers that block fingers from getting caught.
If you have or are buying one of these strollers secondhand, make sure that you have the hinge cover:
Whenever you open or close a stroller or one of its parts, like the canopy, keep your child’s hands away. Here are a few suggestions:
- Hand the child a cup or toy to hold.
- Play “hands up” as you open the stroller and “hands down” as you open the canopy.
- Sing a counting song before your child can get into the stroller. “One, two, touch your shoe; three, four, stroller’s ready; five, six, time to sit.” Open the stroller while you are counting.
Tweet other ideas that promote stroller safety to @OnSafety and we’ll retweet some of our favorites.
Reader Note: Blog originally published on June 14, 2012. Updated July 24, 2012