November 8, 2009

One MILLION Strollers! Maclaren Will Recall EVERY Stroller Since 1999 After 12th Hinge-Related Amputation

evil_fingertip_recall.jpgMe, I would have guessed that the fingertip amputation threshold for a recall would be, say, 10. I mean, ten little fingers and ten little toes, right?

As for the fingertip amputation threshold for a re-evaluation of a key element of a folding stroller's design--like, say, the hinge? I'd like to think it's actually lower than 10. But for whatever reason, it's 12. That's how many child fingertip amputations and lacerations were reported to Maclaren and the CPSC before they decided to issue a recall for one million strollers, basically every Maclaren--single or double--sold between 1999 and 2009.

The recall will be announced Tuesday, but Maclaren has already begun notifying retailers, who have already begun blogging and tweeting and retweeting and retweeting about it since Friday. [The first Twitter mention I can find is yesterday from @Goores, a baby & kids store in Sacramento. They actually posted a big, informative, "You know, recalls are funny things..." post on their store blog Friday. DT reader Kelli, meanwhile, picked it up last night from the Fields' Baby Bargains Book blog.]


We'll know more when the actual recall notice is issued, but the gist of it is that two hinges, on the right and left side of every Maclaren, pose a laceration/amputation risk when the stroller is being opened. I don't know if this exclusive Daddy Types dramatization accurately portrays the finger-munching hinge, but it's the only one that looks at all threatening. [Well, actually, the whole lower rear hinge and brace set up looks like a guillotine to me, but I can't see how any kid could get a finger in there when you're kicking the stroller open.]

The fix sounds easy: Maclaren will send two hinge covers to every Maclaren owner. Retailers are only being given enough kits to fix their current inventory; they're being told they won't have enough for civilians. Registered Mac owners will probably be getting their kits automatically; if you haven't registered, your best bet is to contact Maclaren via their website or customer service line after Tuesday.

Until then, just repeat the following phrase very loudly whenever you open your Maclaren stroller, while executing a swatting motion with your free hand: "DON'T PUT YOUR FINGER IN THERE!" and you should be fine. Stay tuned for details.


heh - yeah, or do what us NY'ers do - just leave the darn thing open all the time.

Really - putting your fingers in hinges. Who let's their kid do that?

I could file a FOIA request to the CPSC and find out who the 12 bad parents out of 1 million are.

Shelli, accidents happen and that does make the parents bad people. Those little fingers get into everything. I'm sure you are just a perfect parent and nothing bad ever happen to your child. give me a break people like you make me sick.

Katie: you are the typical parent these days. It is always an accident or someone elses fault. It has nothing to do with the fact that they didn't pay attention to what their kids were doing. Sure accidents do happen, but most accidents happen when people aren't paying attention. I find it amusing that people like me make you sick. I guess it is never up to the parent to be responsible for what happens to their kid.

My daughter had the tip of her finger amputated by this stroller. Yelling at here really wouldn't have helped. It happened very fast.

Are they going to recall every me-too umbrella stroller that has knocked off the Maclaren hinge design?

I'm sure it did; and that hinge is not something I'd ever noticed as a potential threat before, despite opening our Volo thousands of times.

Obviously, I was being a bit facetious with the yelling advice, but making parents aware of the need to keep their kids clear of the stroller when it's opening seems a little more realistic than not using a stroller at all until the repair kit arrives.

If that's wrong, or if there's anything else from your experience that would help other parents, Alan, I hope you'll share it.

Damn. I thought I was going to get a new stroller out of the deal..

it makes me wonder if the 1999 date has any design significance. The hinge doesn't look that different to me than
Maclaren's original stroller from 1966

On the bright side, if there is one, the 10 people who bought the Philippe Starck Maclarens might be fine, since their hinge is different.

Looking at the basic MacLaren design there are so many hinges and scissor-like folding points it's hard to identify one as being the most dangerous. I guess the data don't lie but if we know 12 kids were injured by one hinge, do we know if 8 kids were injured by another?

When a hinge cover was issued as part of a recall on our Phil & Ted's Sport a couple years ago we ordered it right away. That folding mechanism seemed particularly dangerous (and not just for kids). But the P&T Sport seemed to fold with more speed and force than a MacLaren which is elegant and smooth by comparison.

Somewhat related: we have a toys-r-us type toy stroller for the kids to push around the house. This thing has a fold mechanism that seems more dangerous than either of the above plus most of the appliances, tools, outlets, doors and drawers in our house. I have a roughly 75% chance of pinching a finger each time I fold/open it.

Well as I stated above accidents happen and it should not reflect poorly on the parents. Children are very fast and get into everything and an accident such as this one happens very quickly. I love how everyone is so quick to judge when it happens to someone else. Seriously, like you are so perfect. I’m sure all the parents this has happened to put themselves through enough guilt and they do not need people such as yourself to judge and criticize them. This type of accident should never have happened 12 times with a baby product that belongs to such a reputable company and it should have not taken them so long to recall the product. It’s terrible and I hope this never happens to your child as you will too feel the guilt and anger other parents who had this happen to had to go through. comment above was in response to Jeremy's response above

I have a Maclaren Techno XT, I never had my child near it when I open or close because I've almost clipped myself a few times, let alone when I first got it and spent some serious time trying to figure the darn thing out. My love my backup Graco stroller at my parent's house because it's so easy to use, but I'm sure if you place your finger just right somewhere in there, you can clip yourself. Point being- children should not be near strollers when you're opening/closing. If I clipped my finger, I'm sure no one is going to recall anything for me, my friends would just tease me.

Greg, 1999 is when the current owner acquired Maclaren out of bankruptcy.

Damn I just had a second child I was hoping I would get a free upgrade to a double. Greg is right. If it's the opening and closing that's hurting the children then let's apply some common sense. The most important thing is happening now. Everyone is being made aware of the potential for harm. until you get the covers just be extra cautious and ensure your children are not around the stroller when you open/close it.

aha, thanks. before my [parenting] time.

12 amputations before Maclaren see fit to let the public know??? makes you wonder about all those other brands that have not sold nearly as many umbrella style buggies as Maclaren but have the same folding mechanism but with less amputations as result of poorer sales.

Since I own one of these I have to find some of your comments amazing. First accidents happen even under good, direct supervision. Secondly, they happen even more under no supervision. I think that is common sense.

Are you people really outraged that 12 kids got hurt? I feel bad for them and their parents but seriously you're putting your kid in more danger driving your car. 12 in 1,000,000 are some pretty good odds

All car doors are being recalled.

Some terrible parents let their children take their hands out of their pockets.

Some fingers were smashed.

Resort to biking - without a bike chain.

Now you folks see that Bugaboo owners are not just trying to show off. The thing really is a superior product. Even with the brake recall. Maclaren should consult with Bugaboo regarding how to handle a safety recall.

heh, maybe that's what's happening. Maclaren hired away top two executives from Bugaboo USA last fall.

Sorry but this is well over the top.

The instructions clearly state to keep the child out of the way when folding or unfolding.

The design has been around in the UK since 1965, and its only now that the product is selling well in the US that this is a problem?

I assist with a UK site - While I appreciate this looks largely like A US centered issue I am keen to make sure we have a accurate state of affairs on our site.

I am waiting for such; however if anyone has anything they can point to for me this would be greatly appreciate.

I am keen to enusre we keep existing and future buyers informed as a minimum.

In the Financial Times yesterday, Maclaren USA chairman Bahman Kia said the recall only affects the US, but that hinge covers were going out worldwide and would be available to customers worldwide, and that the new designed hinge would go out worldwide, too.

If you want a hand then have a read of this site

Gives a more UK/Europe aspect on it

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