CPSC Approves Proposed Rule Aimed at Making Strollers Safer

StrollerSafety-200x200To help prevent further deaths and injuries to young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted to approve a notice of proposed rule making (NPR) to create a federal safety standard for strollers. The Commission voted unanimously (3-0) to approve publication of the NPR in the Federal Register.

The proposed stroller standard incorporates the published voluntary ASTM F833-13 standard, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Carriages and Strollers, with one modification. The modification would require the addition of language in the standard to address scissoring, shearing, and pinching hazards associated with folding or foldable strollers.

CPSC staff reviewed more than 1,200 stroller-related incidents, including four fatalities and nearly 360 injuries that occurred from 2008 through 2012. Staff believes that the published standard, with the proposed addition in the NPR, will help to reduce the risks associated with the majority of the hazard patterns identified in reviewing the stroller incidents.

Hazard patterns found in strollers include:

  • wheel breakage and detachment;
  • parking brake and lock mechanism failures;
  • hinge issues;
  • structural integrity issues;
  • entrapment;
  • car seat attachment;
  • canopy issues; and
  • Handlebar failures.

Reported injuries include:

  • finger amputations on folding hinges and canopy hinges;
  • falls due to wheel detachment or parking brake issues;
  • injuries due to stroller collapse;
  • head entrapment in openings of travel systems; and
  • falls due to a child unbuckling the restraint harnesses.

The proposed rule would also help address finger injuries associated with the folding hinges on folding or foldable strollers. Various stroller types, such as travel systems, carriages, tandem, side-by-side, multi-occupant, and jogging strollers would be covered by the standard.

Staff recommends that the mandatory standard for strollers become effective 18 months following publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.

The proposed rule has a 75-day public comment period. Comments will be able to be posted directly on Regulations.gov.

The sad reality remains that thousands of children are killed and injured every year as a result of unsafe products in the home environment. The minimal government standards and voluntary industry guidelines do not mandate pre-market testing, and do not do enough to promote safety. Three factors can combine to control the safety of any product: (1) The manufacturer’s concern for product safety; (2) The consumers’ awareness of the product hazards; and (3) The diligence of government officials in providing the impetus to manufacturers to make safer products.

Experienced litigation and trial counsel is necessary to recognize the variety of consumer product hazards that can result in injuries or deaths. Design is the first step in the manufacturing process, when the manufacturer determines what the consumer wants or, in short, “what will sell.” Here at Swartz & Swartz we are dedicated to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights. You can set up an initial consultation with one of the attorneys at our Boston office by calling (617) 742-1900, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

 

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