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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Stricter Safety Tests Required for Strollers

WASHINGTON (CN) - Stroller manufacturers must meet stiffer testing standards to prevent fatalities and serious injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The agency has issued required new safety standards for strollers, which contain provisions that strengthen the industry's voluntarily adopted standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Most of the requirements concern new methods to test the safety on nearly every part of a stroller. The buckles, cords, straps, seats and hinges must be tested more thoroughly to address stability problems, and in extreme cases, to prevent amputations and strangulations.

The new standards were prompted by a high number of stroller accidents, injuries and deaths. From data reported to the agency, there were four stroller-related fatalities from 2008-2012 and another 1,203 accidents that caused 359 injuries, according to the new regulation. The agency also considered data collected by its National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which surveys the number of injuries treated in the nation's hospital emergency rooms, according to the agency's May 20, 2013 proposed rule.

The 2008-2012 incident data reported to the CPSC prompted the identification of hazard patterns involving wheels, parking brakes, locks, restraints, hinges, sharp edges, stability issues and more.

In the first six months of 2013, an additional 90 incidents and 32 injuries were reported to the CPSC. Nearly one-quarter of the incidents had to do with wheels and parking brakes, the agency noted.

The CPSC consulted with manufacturers, retailers, trade organizations, laboratories, consumer advocacy groups and consultants on the development of the new standards.

The ASTM first published safety standards for strollers in 1983 and they have been revised more than 20 times. The current standard was approved Nov. 1, 2013.

The CPSC's revised standards require a new method to test hazardous cords and straps that could cause strangulation, new test methods for hinges to make sure they don't easily fold up and cause finger amputations or pinch adults or children, and a new method to test the safety of buckles on child safety seats to ensure children cannot release them on their own.

There are 85 known suppliers of strollers and carriages in the United States and nearly all new mothers own at least one.

The rule is effective Sept. 10, 2015.

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