A total of 13 EU member states, with each acquiring a few samples for testing, participated in the pram and pushchair surveillance action headed by the Product Safety Forum of Europe (PROSAFE). The prams and pushchairs were tested for their mechanical and physical characteristics in accordance with the relevant standard.
– Even though several defects were detected in the products, the results of the project do not reflect the general market situation. The products to be tested were selected using a risk-based approach, in other words by searching for potential defects that can easily be detected by visual inspection, says Product Safety Engineer Asta Koivisto.
Two out of the four products selected for testing from Finland were found to be so defective that Tukes required that they be withdrawn from the market. In both cases, the products had several defects. The two other prams tested displayed less serious defects.
On the basis of all the tests performed, five European-wide orders to implement a product recall were issued on prams and pushchairs, in other words, the products were recalled from consumers. Three prams were to be recalled for repairs by the manufacturer or importer.
The defects detected in prams and pushchairs included:
- The brakes on the prams or pushchairs were not reliable enough as new or after the irregular surface test.
- The pram or pushchair tipped over too easily.
- The prams or pushchairs did not meet the standard requirements in the irregular surface test; e.g. a front wheel broke on one of the prams and a handle on another.
- The restraints of the carry cot or inside the seat unit were too long which may pose a risk of strangulation.
- Prams and pushchairs had easily detachable small parts, such as plastic stickers or press stud covers, within the reach of children that may pose a risk of choking.
- Prams and pushchairs had accessible gaps where the child could get stuck or openings between rigid parts in which the child’s fingers could be trapped.
- Defects were detected in the user manuals and product markings.
Tukes receives approximately 10 notification concerning childcare articles each year, most of which concern prams or pushchairs. In Finland, one pram was picked for the surveillance action on the basis of a consumer notification. The defects detected in pram were so serious that Tukes required the withdrawal of the pram from the market.
Under the Consumer Safety Act of Finland, the economic operator has the liability for product safety, and consumer goods must not pose a danger to a consumer's personal safety or property. Since, on the basis of the results of the surveillance project, it would seem that there are prams and pushchairs on the market that fail to meet the safety requirements, purchasing agents should pay greater attention to the safety of the products they select.
Safety tips related to purchasing a pram or a pushchair are available, for example, in the check-list for pram buyers drawn up by Tukes. Furthermore, Tukes reminds parents of the importance of regular maintenance and compliance with user instructions. For example, placing an additional or excessively thick mattress in the pram may pose a safety hazard.
PROSAFE is a non-profit professional organisation for market surveillance authorities and officers from throughout the EEA. Its primary objective is to improve the safety of users of products and services in Europe. Joint European market surveillance actions coordinated by PROSAFE are primarily funded by the European Commission.
For more information: Product Safety Engineer Asta Koivisto, tel. +358 29 5052 187, firstname.lastname@example.org.
RAPEX notifications about wheeled child conveyances
Tukes' Market Surveillance Register (in Finnish)
Wheeled child conveyances withdrawn from the Finnish market 2011–2014
The following wheeled child conveyances were withdrawn from the Finnish market as the result of the PROSAFE project:
Combination product, product name: Gesslein, M3 Vision FI.
Risk: Strangulation, injuries (several safety defects, e.g. too long strings, which may cause strangulation, inside the pram body, a front wheel broke in the irregular surface test).
Pushchair, product name: Finland Pram, model: Salama-matkaratas. Risk: Injuries (the brakes on the pushchair were not reliable enough).
Other wheeled child conveyances in Tukes' Market Surveillance Register:
Pushchairs, product name: Teutonia, models BeYou! 2011 and BeYou! 2012 (models 2011 and 2012 only).
Prams, product name: Pireus Lux combination product.
Further information: Tukes' Market Surveillance Register (in Finnish).