After Monday's Maclaren stroller recall of about 1 million units , owners should order their hinge cover right away, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says. But until it comes, is it OK to use the pricey stroller?
The CPSC urges the utmost caution, because 12 toddlers have suffered fingertip amputations in dangerous side joints of nine models over the past 10 years.
"If you have one, you ought to consider this a hazard to your child and take immediate action," says Patty Davis, a spokeswoman for the commission. "You don't want this to happen to your child. It's already happened to 12 other children."
Others say parents just need to use more caution while they wait for the safety cover to arrive.
"If you've been using a stroller for that many years and you haven't had a folding incident, I would have to say not to worry too much about it," says Dorothy Drago, head of Drago Expert Services, a consumer-products consulting firm with expertise in children's products. "I would get the retrofit, that would enhance your security, but I don't think it's something where I would say 'I'm not ever going to use the stroller again.' "
The danger occurs when users open up the umbrella strollers and children get their fingers in the hinges, the CSPC says.
Maria Milani, a grandmother in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., says that while she certainly wants the repair kit, she's not particularly nervous about using the stroller with her young grandson.
"I’ve been through it before," Mrs. Milani says of past stroller recalls. "I will be very careful putting him in and out of it so that he’s not near it" when it's being opened.
Consumer anxiety soared Monday when the CPSC announced the recall. Maclaren's website crashed as concerned stroller owners tried to get information. Mrs. Milani says she attempted calling the company's hot line at different points for more than six hours, getting a busy signal at each attempt.
The volume was so large since the recall's announcement that nearly everyone at the company's Norwalk, Conn., office, including the director of Maclaren USA, was fielding calls to get customers hinge covers. Director Bahman Kia says the company was preparing for a Tuesday recall but had its plans short-circuited.
"We were supposed to announce the recall on Nov. 10 but because there was a leak of the recall over the weekend, the consumers started calling our consumer line instead of the recall line," he says. "Our consumer line was not set up to take these calls. The consumer line just overloaded."
For details on the current recall and how to get a replacement, click here or watch the CPSC video below.