There is room for improvement in the safety and quality of children’s prams, according to Anna Pukander, researcher at the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes). Tukes commissioned tests on six different prams, which revealed safety failings posing a risk to children. In one case, the failings in a combination pram were so serious that the importer recalled the products and removed the prams from the market, while the defects were corrected.
Tukes acquired the prams for testing from childcare stores and online retailers of childcare products. All of the tested products were combined prams and pushchairs, which incorporate a carrycot for a small baby and a pushchair for an older child. The testing was carried out by SGS UK in Great Britain.
“We found numerous shortcomings in the prams, in both the construction and in the user instructions and markings. Quality failings were discovered in two of the products, which actually broke down in the testing,” says Anna Pukander.
The most serious defects were found in Pireus Lux combination prams. There was a gap between the seat and the hood of the pram where the child’s fingers can get badly caught and chafed. The sides of the soft carrycot were also too low. ”To prevent the risk of falling, pram sides must be sufficiently high. In addition to the structural safety defects, the user instructions for the prams and the markings on them were deficient. This has already been corrected by the importer.”
The importer of the Pireus Lux prams voluntarily arranged a recall service for consumers and removed the prams from the market, while the defects were corrected. Tukes maintains a register of dangerous products, where detailed information on this case may be found.
Less serious structural defects were found in the other tested prams. Several prams had gaps where fingers can get caught. There were further shortcomings in the Finnish and Swedish language markings, warnings and user instructions.
Apart from the structural safety of prams and strollers, Finnish importers and retailers are liable for ensuring that all warnings and user instructions are provided in Finnish and Swedish. Any deficient instructions and markings must be corrected. Prams are defective under the Consumer Protection Act if inadequate user instructions and warnings are supplied with them.
Anna Pukander reminds us that parents also have their responsibilities. “A child may never be left in a pram unsupervised. It is always the responsibility of parents or other adults caring for the child to ensure the safe operation of the pram.”
“Matters that are essential in terms of safety include using a harness, locking the brakes and using appropriate accessories. A baby monitor alone should not be relied on to look after the baby. The child should always be within sight and hearing of an adult,” Anna Pukander reminds us.
In recent years, Tukes has learned of a few serious accidents involving prams. The office has also received notifications of prams, which have deficient user instructions or quality failings, linked for example to the handles, the pram body or the brakes. The traders concerned have been required to take measures to correct the failings.
The Tukes website provides additional information on the safe operation of a perambulator.
Further information: Researcher Anna Pukander, telephone number +358 (0)10 6052 165, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org