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Maclaren buggy safety scare

After safety concerns over children getting their fingers caught in Maclaren buggies in the USA and UK, here’s what Maclaren buggy owners need to know…

Posted: 15 December 2009
by Cassandra Kempster-Roberts

The safety of Maclaren buggies has been in the headlines lately, and no doubt if you own a Maclaren or are thinking or purchasing one, you’re a little concerned. So what is the story, and what should you do?

Well, in November, Maclaren announced a ‘recall’ of all umbrella-style buggies released over the past 10 years in the USA – read the full story on our sister site MadeForMums. The ‘recall’ was because 12 children had their fingertips amputated after they were caught in the hinges where the buggies fold.

In America, ‘recall’ can be used to mean most types of corrective action, not just pulling items off shelves, so it’s not as dramatic as it first sounds. Maclaren USA didn’t recall the buggies for replacement or refund, but issued US customers and retailers with hinge covers. The covers are designed to combat the safety problem by protecting the folding mechanism of the buggy.

At that time, Maclaren said it wouldn’t issue the hinge covers to UK and European parents. Maclaren explained, “Following careful consideration of the issue and discussion with UK Trading Standards, these measures will not apply to Maclaren umbrella buggies in the UK or the rest of Europe. There are a lower number of similar reported incidents amongst the considerably higher number of Maclaren buggies sold in Europe annually relative to the US market.

“As a precaution, Maclaren has taken the corrective action of placing additional warning labels on the buggy and in the instruction manual, stressing that carers should keep children clear of the buggy while it is being unfolded or folded (this follows the EU guidance on taking corrective actions aimed at removing safety risk arising from a non-food product placed on the market).”

A few days later, following pressure from parents and consumer groups, Maclaren agreed to provide free hinge covers.

But the safety saga didn’t ended there – earlier this month, a group of UK parents sought legal advice, and are said to be after compensation from Maclaren.

The group of more than 15 families claim their children had their fingertips lacerated by Maclaren buggies. They claim Maclaren knew its buggies had hurt children and hadn’t taken on board warnings more could be injured.

It’s important to remember that not everyone feels Maclaren buggies are unsafe. The Baby Products Association (BPA) has stated its support for Maclaren’s products - products that meet and often exceed safety standards in Europe and Britain. A BPA spokesperson commented, “The assertion that this is solely a Maclaren issue is wholly inaccurate as any folding product must be treated with care and operated in accordance with the instructions. We hope that all parents will take extra care and consideration when operating any folding product when children are near.”

In a statement, Maclaren commented, “Maclaren is committed to the safety of children. This is our singular mission and why we are recognised by authorities such as the BPA and UK Trading Standards for manufacturing safe products which meet or exceed rigorous standards for Nursery Products.

“We cannot comment on specific claims being investigated due to legal considerations, however, any reported incidents are immediately addressed by Maclaren with the utmost care.

“Maclaren recognises parents concerns and these fears are completely understandable. Maclaren has taken a proactive approach to ensure the safe operation of its products, both through the increased awareness of the potential for injury with all folding children’s products and the distribution of hinge covers as an extra measure of protection for Maclaren buggies. The feedback from parents around the world has affirmed Maclaren’s actions provide extra peace of mind.

“Parents expect a Maclaren buggy to be of the highest quality and safe for use. Our long safety record in use when the child is properly fastened in the buggy is why we are one of the most trusted names with parents around the world.”

If you’re a Maclaren owner and would like a free safety kit, or have any concerns you’d like answered, you can call Maclaren customer services on 01327 841320.

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