Wrist straps on pushchairs are a compulsory safety feature in Australia, and a new survey suggests British parents are calling for the same here. But are tighter buggy laws really what mums and dads want – or need?
I recently received an unexpected press release in my inbox: ‘British parents call for tighter laws over buggy safety’, ran the headline.
I’ve been overseeing the Which? test of pushchairs for a number of years, so every parent of pushchair-aged children I meet is grilled about how and why they chose their particular buggy.
Many tell me that safety is a key issue, but I’ve never found they were worked up enough about pushchair safety to actively campaign for a change in the law.
Runaway pushchair perils
The release itself came from the makers of a pram safety strap called the Buggy Tug – a wrist strap made from neoprene that connects parent and pushchair, stopping one inadvertently rolling away from the other.
It included the findings of a survey looking into parents’ attitudes towards buggy safety, following a recent news report of a pushchair rolling away from a mother in York who had been momentarily distracted by her other child. Her lapse of attention landed the pushchair, baby and three rescuers in the River Ouse. Luckily no-one was harmed.
According to the research, conducted with 93 families, over 72% had experienced a pram start to roll away after letting go for a split second, or knew someone that had. 74% said their buggy or pram did not come with a safety wrist strap as standard, yet 77% said they would feel more secure if their buggy had one.
Strapping up Down Under
Buggy Tug inventor, Di Mayze, came up with the product after seeing ‘horrific footage of a buggy rolling under a train in Melbourne’. Wrist straps are now a legal requirement on all pushchairs sold in Australia.
Back in Britain, 47% of those surveyed thought a buggy should come equipped with a wrist strap. Most tellingly, a further 41% went as far as to say that it should be a legal requirement in the UK. Di believes the ‘feedback from parents is loud and clear – they would definitely like to see more safety measures when it comes to the security of a child in a buggy or pram.’
But is that necessarily the case? There is already a standard piece of safety equipment on all pushchairs that will stop them rolling away – the brake. The best piece of safety equipment in the world can’t stop an accident if it isn’t used.
The Buggy Tug is cheap and widely available, so is it really necessary to add an extra burden on manufacturers to provide one on every pushchair?