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    Posted October 24, 2011 by
    legalissues
    Location
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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    BOB Stroller Recall Highlights Risks of Choking Hazards for all Children’s Products

     

    In February 2011, BOB Trailers recalled its jogging strollers because of a strangulation risk caused by a drawstring on the canopy. The second recall involving the same strollers occurred on October 11, 2011 and it involves a choking hazard to babies and young children caused by the backing on logos which were embroidered onto the strollers’ canopies.  The embroidery backing is on the inside of the canopy where young children can reach it or it can land on the child if it falls off.

     

    There have been six incidents reported to the company thus far.  In these six incidents, the child either grabbed the embroidery backing or it fell from the canopy.  The child in each incident then predictably placed the embroidery backing into his/her mouth.  Two incidents of choking and gagging were reported, but the piece was removed from the children’s mouths without obvious serious injury.

     

    The canopy logos with the embroidery backing include: BOB®, Ironman®, or Stroller Strides®. The recalled strollers were manufactured between November 1998 and November 2010.  Strollers manufactured after October 2006 have a white label affixed to the back of the stroller’s leg with the manufacturing date. Strollers with no manufacturing date listed were produced prior to October 2006 and are included in the recall.

     

    The strollers were sold in single seat and double-seat models at REI, Babies R' Us, other sporting goods stores, and Amazon.com between November 1998 and October 2011 for between $280 and $600.  About 411,700 strollers were recalled in the United States and 27,000 in Canada (357,000 units were recalled in February 2011 due to strangulation hazard posed by canopy drawstring).

     

    This recall highlights an interesting point that parents should be aware of.  There has been a lot of discussion about small pieces on children’s toys posing a choking hazard, but the same regulations also apply to strollers and other products intended for children.  Parents should do their best to be aware of choking hazards on all children’s products, but manufacturers should and must do better to identify hazards before placing products for sale.

     

    Manufacturers must evaluate products to determine whether they pose a choking hazard and either change the design or warn consumers of the danger.  The Small Parts Regulations written by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) are intended to prevent deaths and injuries to children under three from choking on, inhaling or swallowing small objects.  The regulations do apply to many products intended for children including strollers.

     

    Manufacturers are directed by the CPSC to use devices, including one called a choke test cylinder, to determine if a product poses a choking hazard.  Choke test cylinders are used to mimic the size of a child’s throat and determine if a product, or one of its pieces, poses a choking hazard.  If a small part fits completely into the cylinder, and the product from which it came is intended for children under three, then the product should be banned or completely redesigned.

     

    Manufacturers also should, but sometimes don’t, test their products under the types of conditions and use that a child would put the product through.  Any pieces that do break off should be tested using the choke test cylinder.  Failing to properly complete these tests can result in a failure to identify dangers and lead to grave consequences.

     

    Parents must be proactive when it comes to safeguarding their children because you cannot assume that the manufacturer properly performed all of the necessary tests.  One of the easiest ways to be proactive is to search the CPSC recall website (www.recalls.gov) for the most recent list of recalls and safety alerts.

     

     

    About the Author: Christopher Hinderliter is an advocate for children's safety and practicing attorney at Sheridan & Murray in Philadelphia, PA.

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