Consumer Reports: Some strollers pose dangers

Diane Williams has the story
December 6, 2013 3:04:47 PM PST
Strollers are a must-have for new parents, but they can be dangerous. Over the years Consumer Reports and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have found several strollers that could pose a risk of strangulation. The latest figures from the CPSC include reports of five deaths between 2006 and 2009. So it is very important to be careful which stroller you buy and to use it properly.

"He was just the greatest baby, he really was. I mean, I know everyone says that about their own children, but he was smart and he was funny, and he was the best thing that ever happened to me," Laura Guardino said.

Seven-month-old Bobby Knipper's parents never thought it would be dangerous to put him down for a nap in his stroller. But then a horrible accident.

"He was stuck in the stroller. And they took him to the hospital, and from there he was gone," Guardino said.

The stroller with a design similar to this one - was deemed dangerous enough to be recalled in 2010 after Bobby's death. The problem? The size of the space between the tray and the seat.

"The opening is large enough to allow a child's unharnessed torso to slide through, but not big enough for the head. So the head can get caught and a child can be strangled. To stay safe, all children should be harnessed in their strollers," Dr. Eric Mallow of Consumer Reports said.

Bobby was not strapped in, but Consumer Reports says strollers should be safe even if the child is unharnessed. Consumer Reports' tests have found several strollers in the past few years that pose a similar strangulation risk. Many have been recalled. But a recall doesn't mean the strollers are completely off the market.

"We recently went on Craigslist and easily bought two used strollers that had been recalled and posed a similar hazard," Mallow said.

When shopping for a stroller, check Consumer Reports' recommendations. Those strollers perform well in Consumer Reports' safety tests. One good choice is the 180-dollar Chicco Cortina.

Whichever stroller you use, Consumer Reports says be sure to always use the harness to strap in your child.

Bobby Knipper's parents are suing the manufacturer over the accident. If you already have a stroller and want to check the recall list, go to the website

Currently most stroller manufacturers adhere to a voluntary standard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is developing a mandatory safety standard for strollers, and that is expected to be in place within the next year.