Maclaren safety warning: what you need to know

After the US safety warning about children getting their fingers trapped in Maclaren umbrella-fold buggies, we reveal what UK Maclaren buggy owners need to know

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Buggy manufacturer Maclaren USA has announced a ‘recall’ of all umbrella-style buggies released since 1999 in the US. The ‘recall’ is in response to 12 children having their fingertips amputated after they were caught in the hinges where the buggies fold.

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However the ‘recall’ isn’t what you’d probably first imagine it to be – Maclaren USA isn’t recalling products for replacement or refund, but are issuing US customers and retailers with hinge covers that it says will help combat the safety problem. In America, ‘recall’ can be used to mean most types of corrective action, not just pulling items off shelves.

So what can us UK and European parents expect? In a statement from Maclaren, the buggy company 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).”

The US ‘recall’ affects about one million strollers according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, reports America’s Financial Times.

For more details, Maclaren’s full European statement is below. But stay tuned because Maclaren has just told us another statement with more info will be announced shortly.

Maclaren’s European statement

“In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Maclaren USA has announced on November 9, 2009 that it is voluntarily employing corrective measures by providing consumers and retailers with a kit to cover the elbow joint on Maclaren umbrella buggy’s side hinge mechanism which should be kept out of the reach of children when the operator is opening or closing the umbrella buggy.

“Maclaren buggies meet – and often exceed – both EU and USA safety standards for products in our category and there have been no product defects or non-compliances.  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).

“Since 1967, Maclaren has engineered its strollers to specifically exceed global standards for safety, reliability and durability. Nothing carries the Maclaren name until it is researched, tried and tested and we continually monitor the quality and safety of our products. We encourage customers to contact us with feedback on the quality and safety of our products and we are regularly top-ranked amongst our competitors.’

“Note on product recall definitions:

“As detailed in the guide ‘PRODUCT SAFETY IN EUROPE: A Guide to corrective action including recalls’, in the EU there are several different types of Corrective Action that can be taken by producers or distributors, aimed at removing a safety risk arising from a non-food product they have placed on the market. These can include:

  • Changing the design of products
  • Withdrawing products from the distribution chain
  • Sending information and warnings about correct use of products to consumers
  • Modifying products at the customer’s premises or elsewhere
  • Recalling products from consumers for replacement or refund.

“In Europe, Maclaren is providing improved information to consumers about the correct use of its buggy products.

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“In the USA, the term ‘recall’ is used more generically and is often applied across most types of corrective action, including the modification of products at consumers’ homes, which is the focus of Maclaren USA’s programme. Maclaren USA is not recalling products from consumers for replacement or refund.”

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