No doubt Maclaren would rather put its infamous pushchair hinge safety woes behind it – but a safety notice has been re-issued in the US following more injury reports. But how does this affect parents here in the UK?
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the United States, there have been an additional 37 reported injuries since November 2009, when the high-profile recall of around a million pushchairs with folding hinge mechanisms was first announced. This has prompted the CPSC to re-issue its original recall notice to US consumers.
So what’s new?
These injury reports – which take the total number of ‘incidents’ involving Maclaren pushchairs in the US to 149 – include five fingertip amputations, 16 lacerations and another 16 cases of fingers getting trapped in the hinge mechanism, which can happen when the pushchairs are being folded or opened.
The recall has been re-issued to remind parents to take action if they haven’t already – but it doesn’t ask for new action, or extend the recall to additional pushchairs.
The warning concerns buggies sold prior to November 2009 – worth being mindful of if you’re thinking of buying a second-hand pushchair – but new Maclaren models you’ll find in the shops now have a different hinge design.
When is a recall not a recall?
Parents with affected Maclaren buggies in the US are being reminded to ‘immediately contact Maclaren USA to receive the free repair kit’, comprised of hinge covers that offer an additional safety measure. So what about parents in the UK?
Like our US counterparts, Maclaren owners this side of the Atlantic have been able to get free repair kits since the issue hit the headlines in 2009, following pressure from us here at Which?
In 2010, Maclaren agreed to pay compensation here to more than 40 individuals with injuries caused by a folding hinge.
But it’s worth noting that a ‘product recall’ in the US is not the same as in the UK. A US product recall alerts people to a potential safety risk, but it does not mean that products should be returned to their manufacturer.
The UK Maclaren website homepage links to a ‘Safety update’, which reiterates the message that its hinge cover kits are still available for parents.
There’s no doubt that any report of a child sustaining an injury as a direct result of a product should be taken seriously. Our pushchairs expert Victoria Pearson thinks the risk highlighted by the Maclaren safety alert needs to be taken and applied more widely:
‘The chance that children will trap their fingers in the folding hinge applies to all pushchairs that use a folding mechanism – not just those from Maclaren.
‘Parents should consider the folding hinge on a pushchair in the same way they would the hinge of an opening and closing door. Inevitably a product that folds in this way will carry some risk to children.’
Are you an owner of a Maclaren pushchair, or a pushchair with a similar-style hinge. Do you think Maclaren has taken sufficient action, or should it go further by recalling its pushchairs?