Here we go again with another stroller recall. This is becoming way too familiar. Graco is the latest manufacturer to issue a recall, and it’s the largest stroller recall yet. These strollers were all manufactured before July 2007, so it may be harder than usual to locate and warn consumers who are using them. That’s long enough for a child to have outgrown the stroller, and for the stroller to be passed along to a friend or family member.
This is one of the persistent dangers of defective children’s products — by the time a recall is issued the products are often not in the original purchasers’ hands. Here are excerpts from an article about the recall in the New York Times:
The strollers, manufactured before July 2007, were tied to the deaths of four infants and five instances of entrapment that resulted in cuts and bruises and, in one case, breathing difficulty.
The company said it was making available a free repair kit to fix the problem.
Doug McGraw, Graco’s president, said the recall was prompted in part because many more parents were buying and selling secondhand strollers, probably because of the prolonged economic malaise.
Some consumer advocates questioned why it took so long for federal authorities and Graco to issue the recall, which applies to Graco models Quattro Tour and MetroLite strollers and travel systems (car seat and stroller combinations).
The strollers were deemed dangerous, especially to children under 1 year of age, because when left unharnessed, they can crawl through the opening between the seat and stroller tray and become trapped.
“We assume that if something is sold and hasn’t been recalled, the product must be safe,” said Nancy A. Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger, a nonprofit group that advocates for safer children’s products.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission defines a recall as a repair or replacement of, or offer of a refund for, a product. The commission began investigating the safety of the newly recalled strollers after the first death, of a 7-month-old child, was reported in 2003, and staff members reported its findings to an industry committee that creates voluntary safety standards for children’s products the following year.
Graco is part of Newell Rubbermaid, a public company based in Atlanta. In a statement, the company urged parents to immediately stop using the strollers, but said there was no need to return them. Instead, they asked consumers to contact the company, either by phone or via the Web site, for the free repair kit. The kit consists of a piece of cloth with leg holes that goes across the opening at the front of the stroller.
“Our intent was, without any shadow of a doubt, with or without the harness use, to make it impossible for the child to slide down in the stroller,” Mr. McGraw said. Even without the repair kit, Graco said it was still safe to use the strollers as a travel system, meaning with an infant car seat attached.
The affected stroller models were distributed between November 2000 and December 2007 and were sold at numerous retailers, including Babies “R” Us, Kmart, Navy Exchange, Sears, Target and Wal-Mart
The affected model numbers are posted on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site (www.cpsc.gov) and on Graco’s Web site at www.gracobaby.com. The model numbers are on a label just above the rear wheels or underneath the stroller. To order a repair kit, owners can call Graco at (877) 828-4046.