Australian not-for-profit consumer organisation CHOICE has slammed Australia's "lax" product laws after a number of popular prams and strollers failed its safety tests.
Eighteen products, including brands such as iCandy and Mountain Buggy, did not meet CHOICE's "stringent but sensible" safety checks, which are currently voluntary.
While that might surprise you, as it stands there is no requirement under Australian Consumer Law for either manufacturers or retailers to proactively ensure that the products they sell are safe.
The 18 prams and strollers and the year they were tested are listed below:
- Baby Jogger City Mini GT – $799 (2017)
- Baby Jogger City Select Lux (single) – $1299 (2018)
- Baby Jogger City Tour – $479 (2018)
- Babyzen Yoyo – $449 (2015)
- Childcare Flip – $200 (2017)
- GB Pockit AUS – $399 (2016)
- iCandy Strawberry 2 – $1061 (2016)
- InfaSecure Arlo – $629 (2015)
- Joie Mirus – $250 (2015)
- Mountain Buggy Cosmopolitan 2.0 – $869 (2017)
- Mountain Buggy MB Mini 3.1 – $449 (2018)
- Mountain Buggy Mini – $449 (2014)
- Mountain Buggy Swift 3.0 – $599 (2016)
- Phil & Teds Vibe V3 – $849 (2015)
- Safety 1st Wanderer X – $519 (2016)
- Silver Cross Wave SX2073 – $2199 (2018)
- Stokke Xplory – $1444 (2016)
- UPPAbaby Vista 0318-VIS-AU – $1899 (2018)
CHOICE pram testing is ongoing with new models added on a regular basis. "Some models tested in previous years may have been updated since we tested them, but because of the risks we believe these prams present to children we think it's important to flag these products may still be available in shops or in people's homes," they note.
According to CHOICE, the models failed testing primarily because of the buckle on the stroller's harness. "The buckle's design fails to separate the straps and prevent them from forming a loop, which is a potential strangulation risk," they say, adding that this particular safety feature is currently voluntary for manufacturers.
"We think it's time for it and other safety standards on babies' and kids' products to become mandatory," CHOICE says.
The organisation also notes that models that did not meet safety standards range in price from $250 to $1899.
Mandatory safety checks for prams and strollers in Australian were written almost 20 years ago and based on designs not reflective of those on the market today. And while standards for strollers were updated in 2013, they have not become law.
The results of CHOICE's latest prams and strollers test once again demonstrates the dangers of Australia's lax safety standards.— CHOICE (@choiceaustralia) December 12, 2018
18 models from brands including iCandy, Stokke, Phil & Teds and Mountain Buggy failed our stringent safety checks.https://t.co/mVE6PKWBrs pic.twitter.com/tVDu5pjXlF
But CHOICE is pushing for change, advocating for a new law for safer products. "This will be a simple, clear law that says if you're a business who sells a product in Australia, it must be safe. If the law is breached, it should attract a hefty fine," CHOICE says, noting that the existing law sees a more "reactive" approach to issues.
"Under the current law, businesses tend to react to product safety problems," CHOICE continues.
"We want them to actively try to prevent them. We see individuals fight for remedies after a product injures them, or a business may launch a voluntary recall months or years after becoming aware of a safety risk. This isn't good enough – we want safer markets."
This year, a number of prams and strollers were recalled for safety hazards, including:
Currently, many other baby products on the market, including bassinets, baby slings and change tables do not have to meet a mandatory safety standard.
Date released by CHOICE earlier this year found:
- 73 per cent of portable cots had serious safety failures (60 tested from 2011-2018)
- 66 per cent of strollers had serious safety failures (129 tested from 2012-2018)
- 37 per cent of cots had serious safety failures (139 tested from 2012-2017)
So how do you make a safe choice for your little ones when it comes to prams and strollers?
CHOICE suggests following the below checklist and video:
- Look for certification to Safety Standard AS/NZS 2088, preferably the 2013 version which is the latest and safest version.
- Check for sharp or protruding parts or ones that could pose a choking risk, and gaps that could trap fingers or limbs.
- Is there a child-resistant mechanism for locking and unlocking the frame?
- Is the stroller stable enough not to tip easily?