The Washington Post ran a critical story on 4/2/19 about the Britax BOB jogging strollers and its hazards. It’s a disappointing read, realizing that the government agencies which once might have stopped more incidents of poorly made and dangerous products from harming consumers may not recently be doing their job. These oversight and consumer protection agencies have been vital to improving standards and protecting the public. And until the agencies step up once again to be consistent defenders of the public and its safety, we will need to be more vigilant and try to patch together information to protect ourselves and our families. This post is about how to find a safe stroller, with some tips, ideas, and resources.
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What Happened with the Britax Jogging Stroller?
In 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said that three-wheeled BOB jogging strollers by Britax were unsafe and requested the company do a voluntary recall of 500,000 strollers. The front wheel on the stroller (the one that you can remove for easier transport) was spontaneously falling off during use, causing children to be thrown from the strollers with smashed faces and teeth. And adults, when the wheel fell off, were also shattering bones and tearing ligaments. These are jogging strollers — meaning they are meant for the adult to be active (jogging, running) while using the stroller with the child. That means the adult could be moving with a lot of energy going in a forward motion.
In 2018, the Safety Commission sued to try to force a recall, because it hadn’t happened. But then the agency’s leadership changed, and the recall was shuttered. Only people who knew about the danger and requested replacement parts would get help.
Previous leadership at the Safety Commission, according to the Washington Post had —
… compiled in-depth injury reports. They collected epidemiological data. They ran engineering tests, even taking the stroller out in the Washington area to understand why the wheel failed, according to two people familiar with the agency’s findings.
The agency’s health sciences division determined children could suffer ‘potentially life-threatening injuries’ from front-wheel detachments, according to the same two people.
How Can You Find a Trusted Stroller?
Until the current or new leadership reverses course and truly defends the public and enforces standards, we will have to be more vigilant in our research when we shop for products, such as strollers.
HealthyChildren.org has a page about using strollers in a safe way, and then refers you to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s site to learn about federally mandated stroller safety features that your stroller should have and what incidents of accidents or faulty products should be reported to the Safety Commission (which includes broken or detaching wheels).
You can go to the Safety Commission’s site to see if there are any recalls on strollers that were actually processed, along with settlements and lawsuits. Don’t search under “Recalls” — its an incomplete list, unfortunately. Instead —
- go to the home page and type in “stroller”
- then click the yellow bar that says “show recalls and new releases” (so you get everything related to strollers)
- you can also search via the brand name or company name
Consumer Reports also has a stroller buying guide. But you have to be a member in order to have full access to the up-to-date buying guide information. However, there are numerous blog posts on its site that can give you some nearly up-to-date info, such as this list of recommended strollers from February 2018. Britax is not in the list. However, these strollers were —
- Baby Jogger City Select Stroller
- Peg Perego Booklet Stroller
- Maxi-Cosi Kaia Lightweight Stroller
- and others!
Since your child’s safety and yours are the most important, do your homework before picking your stroller. Quality strollers will last a long while and should also be comfortable. Compare Consumer Reports with searches at the Safety Commission, perhaps even doing a safety searches on the web to see if additional reports or warnings have been issued elsewhere. There may be parent forums which also document accidents that the Safety Commission isn’t publishing.