Stroller recalled for fall hazard, also may pose strangulation hazard

On Friday, CPSC announced the recall of Bumbleride strollers – the Indie and Indie Twin.  At issue is the front wheel – it can break, causing a fall hazard.  Bumbleride and CPSC report 36 incidents of the wheel breaking, with two injuries.  If you have one of these strollers, you can order a repair kit here.

But in re-reading the recall announcement KID noticed something peculiar in the notice.  Down where CPSC usually has boilerplate language, there is a second warning about an entirely different hazard with the stroller.  It seems that a bar that can be positioned to hold a car seat can be left or put in that semi-lowered position when a child is using the stroller without the car seat – causing a strangulation hazard.  Babies can slide down in strollers and strangled when their head is caught between the seat and the bar across the front of the stroller.  There is more on the firm’s website.

Consumer Reports found this design flaw while testing and reviewing strollers for an upcoming article.  While there are warnings in the instruction book and a tag on the bar not to leave the bar in the car seat position, CR researchers were rightly worried that harried and stressed parents (especially of twins) might miss that warning or forget to move it, even once.

So, if you have this stroller, send away for the front wheel repair kit and remove the bar altogether – it isn’t necessary when using the stroller without a car seat.

And we urge CPSC and the manufacturer to do all they can to get the word out about this potential hazard.  A sentence at the end of a recall press release isn’t going to get anyone’s attention.  There are at least six deaths in an earlier model Graco stroller with an unmovable bar in a position that causes the same entrapment hazard, including one death last year after the belated recall.  (The first deaths were between 2003 and 2005, with at least one more in 2007.) Always use restraint systems when using a stroller and move a sleeping baby to a safe crib for prolonged sleep or when unattended.

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