Stroller Company Maclaren Knew About Amputation Risk 5 Years Ago

The British company Maclaren knew that its recently recalled strollers could potentially lop off a tot’s fingertips over five years ago, reports the New York Post, but it didn’t bother to alert the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The first report of an amputation happened in July 2004, when a two-year-old in Connecticut lost the tip of his right pinkie. The mom sued Maclaren, but the company said the accident was due to her negligence.

The CPSC won’t say whether or not the company should have reported the problem then, but the Post interviewed a former CPSC compliance officer who says he thinks they should have, and that he thinks they should now be responsible for any related fines:

Robert Moro, an engineer and former compliance officer with the Consumer Products Safety Commission, testified in 2007 that “this stroller contains a substantial design defect when compared to other types of designs of strollers intended to be used by children.”

The way the stroller was designed and manufactured in China violated federal guidelines intended to prevent a gruesome “scissoring effect,” Moro said.

“Maclaren had a legal obligation to report this,” Moro told The Post. “It’s extremely unfortunate a lot of little kids had to get their fingers amputated.”

“Maclaren defect went unfixed for 5 years” [New York Post]

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  1. msbask says:

    From reading another article about this, the first amputation sound like it really was due to the mother’s negligence. She was folding the stroller and her baby stuck his hand in the hinge.

    Doesn’t every folding stroller pose some risk of amputation depending on how fast you fold it?

  2. Floobtronics says:

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but I seem to recall reading that the risk came when folding the stroller.

    Hands up, who folds the stroller with the kid in it?

    Ok, since none of you do that, how about we just make sure the kids don’t stick their hands in there while we’re folding the stroller up?

    My wife and I spent a good 5 minutes trying to figure out how we’d be able to manage to hurt someone while folding our Maclaren (a Quest) stroller up.

    In other news, water may cause drowning, standing in the middle of traffic may result in being hit by cars, and the stove is hot.

  3. Nighthawke says:

    That’s it man, game over man, game over!

    MacLaren might as well file for liquidation and fork the cash over now, rather than suffer through all the litigation.

  4. dmolavi says:

    i’m not sure whether you’re being sarcastic or serious here, or a little of each. sad as it is, in today’s world, i can see a lot of lawyers jumping on a class action lawsuit against maclaren for this.

    • RPHP says:

      @dmolavi: I can see the people who are hurt filing a lawsuit or the CPSC filing a lawsuit but for those who were not hurt I am not sure they would have standing. Maybe those who were not hurt could try and get equitable relief but since Maclaren is already saying they will fix the defect I am not sure there is any other equitable relief they could seek.

  5. swearint says:

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say that lopping off tiny little infant digits is not a necessary or integral function of a stroller. As such, I have to believe it is possible to preclude said lopping function, yet still operate as a suitable baby transportation device.

  6. Colonel Jack O'Neill says:

    Parents need to start taking responsibility for their own kids, and stop trying to sue other people, it was the kids own fault for putting his finger in there, she should have been watching him.

    It was just an accident, that’s it, nothing more.

  7. Gizmosmonster says:

    We seem to have an amazing number of perfect parents posting here today. For those who live in the real world. Try balancing a kid or two, a stroller, bags and bottles and everything else at the side of a car in a busy parking lot. Folding a stroller should not be that dangerous.

    Little kids like to help, cling,or need to be close by for safety. A stroller for use around these children should not slice up our kids if they act like kids. This is the real world. Most of us don’t have help to fold the stroller and get the kids in a car seat or whatever.

    The company is offering fixes for the strollers- a great thing. But, the fines are waived to encourage firms to come forward with dangerous products right away. If they knew for FIVE years, and still did not fix this themselves- they should be penalized.

  8. celeb8 says:

    I was skeptical about this claim, so my wife and I practiced folding our folding stroller over and over again, trying to figure out how likely it was that our boy could lose a finger. He didn’t lose any!

    Even holding his little baby hand in place right at the crux of the folding action, his hand was only bruised a little and he only lost some skin. It pulled fiercely at the web of flesh between his thumb and forefinger, but I’m pretty sure that was due to his hysterically waving his arms and screaming wih pain and getting it caught worse, not due to the design of the stroller.

    Frankly we’re pretty sure this entire scare is overblown, if our son was a little older and more mature he wouldn’t even have hurt himself at all.

    • wooster11 says:

      @celeb8: You actually tried it out? That’s brave of you.

      And wouldn’t that be considered borderline child abuse? Just the fact that you attempted it…

    • Daveinva says:

      @celeb8: Ha ha ha… I love it when people don’t get the jokes.

    • Baxterjones says:

      @celeb8: “Even holding his little baby hand in place right at the crux of the folding action, his hand was only bruised a little and he only lost some skin.”

      As the mother of a two-year-old, I have to say this made me laugh. I’m going to call CPS on myself for my damaged sense of humor.

  9. elysse says:

    “The mom sued Maclaren, but the company said the accident was due to her negligence.”

    How truly, painfully, mortifyingly awful for the mom; to be told it was her fault and then to have all of this come out so long after the fact.

  10. H3ion says:

    If there are twelve reported cases, I think Maclaren has serious legal exposure, but I don’t see a class action (unless some court certifies the twelve injured children as a class). We have two of these strollers and have never had a problem, but we’re also a bit paranoid when it comes to the kids.

  11. dumblonde says:

    So is there a class action yet? I smell millions in punitive damages…

  12. Newvox says:

    FIRST they need to recall all household doors, which amputate thousands of fingers every year many of them belonging to children and elderly people!

    It’s a real crisis people! And you’re all worrying about strollers!!!!

  13. e065702 says:

    The key words in the report being ignored by many posters are “WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER TYPES OF DESIGNS”.
    It is not too much to ask manufacturers of products intended for children to incorporate design concepts proven to protect the children involved. Of course parents should monitor their childrens behavior as much as possible, but failure to do so should not limit the manufacturers moral and legal obligations.

  14. Cool story bro says:

    Stupid babies.