Some Parents Aren’t Ditching Their Maclarens — Despite Recall

Oh do I love this piece, Recall Rebels: Moms Fess Up to Using Recalled Maclaren Strollers, on ParentDish. (And not just because I’m about to start writing a weekly post for that site. Yay!)

The piece is all about parents who, strangely enough, managed to keep some perspective after Maclaren recalled about a million trillion strollers because, sadly, some kids’ fingers got severed in them over the years. Best quotes that the reporter dug up:

“I’m not trying to pooh-pooh it,” he says of the stroller recall, “but it’s not something you need to cease using your Maclaren over. These things are opened millions of times a day, all over the world, and most kids are fine.

And:

“These incidents are called ‘accidents’ for a reason. To me, the logistics of what kids would have to be doing to get injured is not very likely. Granted, we all want to make sure that our children are as safe as can be, and we want to protect them as much as possible, but we all know that nothing and no one is perfect. A kid could choke on a penny, but are we going to recall money? No.”

And finally:

“It just goes to show that buying the trendiest baby gear isn’t always the way to go.”

This is a great, rare piece because it presents the other side of a YOUR BABY IS IN TERRIBLE RISK! story  — the side that is not going nuts with worry (to coin a phrase). The side that says it’s true that nothing is perfectly safe and it’s time adults realized that.

Oh wait. I’m veering off into tort reform. Let’s just stick with a kudos and call it a day. — Lenore

41 Responses

  1. Yup. A friend of mine with twins is still using hers. She just doesn’t collapse it with the children in it. Which, you know, she wasn’t doing before either.

  2. That doesn’t surprise me. It’s one of those recalls where a little awareness makes more sense than giving up the stroller, I suspect.

  3. Imagine if products gave no guarantee that it will work and the company wasn’t responsible for any damages caused from it like what is in most computer software licenses. iTunes warns against use in nuclear facilities or aircraft navigation. How about a label on products saying that they are not responsible for a lack of common sense while using the product?

    To keep children safe we can bubblewrap our kids like in the Time Magazine photos but they may suffocate from the plastic.
    Oh wait, overprotecting our kids is suffocating them.

  4. My friend has a Maclaren stroller, and they are not planning on returning it. They like the stroller and as the father said to me “what do you have to do to sever a finger?” You have to really be asking for it.

  5. We’re still using ours. We just told our toddler not to put his finger there🙂

    Seriously, though, it would never have occurred to us to open/close the stroller with the kid actually IN it.

  6. I actually have one of those stupid strollers ( it was a gift) I pretty much ignored the recall. Yes, I will be aware, and make sure my kids don’t chop their fingers off, but beyond that I think this big deal they are making out of it is ridiculous.

  7. I was one of four kids carted around in one of these by our parents through the late 70s and early 80s, and I don’t think ANY of us ever injured ourselves by opening and closing the buggy. Well, not seriously, anyway. I think I used to push my little sister down hills and into walls and over jumps in the garden in it, though, but I’m guessing such behaviour would have counted as ‘improper use’ by any lawyers present anyway…

    Of course, my parents tripped over the stroller all the time, and I’m pretty sure one of my sisters picked the whole thing up (when folded) and attempted to throw it at me once. But hey, that’s what childhood’s all about, right? She teaches at an elementary school in the States now – I wonder if any of her class has thrown a stroller at her yet…

  8. Hey, Lenore. Don’t know how to mail you, so I’m posting this link here.

    If you thought Baby Knee Pads were wrong, try this one on for size… Baby Helmets For Headinjuries When Starting to Walk (Baby Might Fall Over And Go Boom)

    http://www.safetots.co.uk/209.htm?gclid=CP6gvvPmzJoCFYiD3gode3tbSA

  9. We have had 3 Maclarens in the last 5 years and have never had a problem. When we saw the recall and what it was for my husband and I cracked up. We call recalls like that stupid parent recalls. The area where they are talking about is in such a odd place for a child to put their hand while you are closing the stroller. In fact, my kids are usually strapped in their seats, or in the house long before I close up my stroller, not for any safety reasons, but because that is just the way it ends up.

    We did get the fix for the recall, but only so that we can eventually sell the stroller that we currently have since my daughter is fast outgrowing a stroller. We haven’t put the fix on the stroller.

  10. This reminds me of the EZ Bake Oven recall a few years ago. I had just bought one for my twins when there was a recall because kids were sticking their fingers in it and getting burned. Even though there was a WARNING on the thing saying, basically, “Hey, don’t let your kids stick your fingers in here, they’ll get burned.” Needless to say, we kept using it and neither one of my kids were harmed.

  11. I agree the ‘hot water’ ducks are dumb, but we like our Maclaren. It’s not a recalled model. Maybe a bit pricey, but it’s very light, maneuverable and easy to fold. At least it’s not a Bugaboo…

    The time and energy saved with a high quality high use product is worth it IMO. Just stay away from the top end for suckers who will pay anything.

  12. Marion, I don’t know why people think those are new. They’re quite old, also known as “pudding caps”. People put them on their toddlers centuries ago.

  13. Thanks a lot, Lenore, for mentioning tort reform. My brain will be spinning all night, probably thinking the same things you are!😉

  14. I would have assumed that any stroller had the potential to sever a tiny little finger if the tiny little finger was at the wrong place inside the mechanism when the stroller was being opened or closed. That’s why you implement the high-level modern safety technique of “being careful around small children” when you are opening or closing the stroller.

    This, from the woman who closed the dishwasher on her toddler’s finger and grew annoyed at the child’s fussing until she realized the relationship of finger to dishwasher. Thankfully, dishwasher gaskets are relatively soft so she didn’t get worse than a pinch.

  15. I’ve been perplexed about this recall since it was announced. I went ahead and ordered the hinge covers, but they’ve been sitting on the counter for three weeks because I haven’t had the time to put them all.

  16. Don’t be so sure that money won’t be recalled…

  17. I once accidentally slammed the trunk door of my 1986 Chevy Citation on my then 3 year old’s hand. It was 2000. He survived with nary a bruise. I felt awful but didn’t bother to sell the car.

    Perhaps it should have been recalled in 1986 to prevent such an incident in 2000 lol

    Serious. “tish” happens. I am glad parents can wake up and realize this.

  18. I don’t know if I can get too excited about parents who get excited about their overpriced strollers. But then again, we never used a stroller at all.

  19. I thought I’d mention that I am planning on continuing to use my Stork Craft crib as well. There was recently 2 recalls done on my crib…one was for the mattress supports and the other was for the drop side.

    I thought it was hilarious that when I saw the news video it was around 11pm and it said “take your child out of the crib immediately!” I thought…yeah sure, then what will I do with her? She’s sleeping soundly! And your actually saying that she’s less safe tonight than she was a week ago?

    So I looked into it further. As it turns out there have been 4 incidents of death in the last 16 years and 2.1 million cribs sold! 2.1 MILLION! On top of that there have been a hundred or so other incidents that have occurred that may have resulted in injury. But still, even if we over estimate here and say 200 out of 2.1 MILLION!

    And yet I looked further. The incidents that have happened have occurred in cribs with missing or modified parts or cribs that were installed incorrectly.

    So what did I do? I went in and checked that the drop side is the right way up, and that the plastic is not in rough shape, and that all the nuts and bolts are tight. Then I read online that Tony Merchant (a lawyer from Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada) was setting up a huge class action lawsuit because people don’t want the free repair kit, they want their money back. He said that he hadn’t spoken to a single person who was planning on continuing the use of their crib. Ha! I called him up and left a message with his receptionist (that may or may not have gotten to him) that I was going to keep using my crib and that I think people suing are silly. Needless to say, I never heard back.

    I feel very confident about my crib and decided to let others know that they too didn’t have to freak out. But even on facebook people felt the need to let me know that I would feel so bad if my daughter died in her crib. As though I wouldn’t feel bad if she died in some other type of crib. (I also found it funny that the person who was so concerned mentioned that she had modified her crib herself with a screw…which is part of the problem with all these cribs because people just “fix” them however they want).

    Wow! Long post just to say that people can be so crazy, and I’m sure if you keep an eye on all of your products you’ll be able to spot problems before they have disastrous outcomes.

  20. My kids have had second hand everything, car seats, strollers, cribs… all of it. None of them are dead, damaged or even pinched… well, by their siblings anyway.

    I’m so glad we are preaching to such a big choir. Hopefully more parents will start singing too.

  21. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/health/research/08haza.html?ref=todayspaper

    Here’s one. Apparently, sometime in the past aluminum cans were altered to make the tabs harder to pull off because children would pull them off, drop them in their cans, and then sillily swallow the tabs because they didn’t have the sense to pay attention.

    And what do you know – they’re still doing that, even with the harder tabs! “Gosh, I don’t know how this happens, those tabs are hard to pull off!” I know how – before, they just came off. NOW? They’re a challenge and kids do it because what else are you gonna do?

  22. I actually don’t know anyone who IS returning or has stopped using their stroller. In fact, I would guess that a huge majority of stroller owners have either just ignored it (and vowed to use it logically) or they have ordered the cover and gone on using it. I tend to think that maybe it’s not the parents who are crazy and overprotective regarding recalls, but rather the media? I would be curious to have a survey done to find out exactly how many people are still using the stroller. I would buy another one. While I clearly don’t want my kid’s finger severed, injuries happen. Shrug.

  23. Way back in the early 70’s, I lost a fingernail when my finger got slammed in something. I think it was a walker, actually, so there was all kinds of danger.

    Nobody issued a recall on my behalf. I feel so undervalued.

  24. Our culture is “safety crazy,” which means rational thought has vanished. Since no matter what any manufacturer produces, or what any service provider does can sometimes lead to injury or death…I wonder what would happen if they all decided to use the same disclaimer that read like this:

    “Everyone who buys our products or uses our services does so at their own risk and the risk of anyone nearby. Our products or services might very well fail and cause serious life-threatening injury or death.”

    Isn’t this already the kind of statement you have to sign when you check into a hospital?

  25. I had to bite my tongue last week at my playgroup when one of our moms was talking about the crib recall. How all cribs with a side that went down where now, suddenly, a death trap! She went on to say that she never had used a crib like that and since her in-laws had one she would be bringing a pack and play over to their house for her baby to be sleeping in. The only thing I said was, “Really? The crib we used for both of our girls does that and I NEVER had a problem. Huh.” I really wanted to ask her how many kids had been hurt/killed by these cribs, but since I no longer need a crib, I just hmmmed alot.
    It’s really sad and scary when a child is killed by something as innocent-looking as a crib, but really, are they all dangerous? Heaven forbid the media give the actual stats on a situation.
    I do have to say, that in my playgroup (we’ve been together since our kids were 18 months and they are now 6) for the most part we are not overly paranoid. Our new adventure is letting our oldests (5-6 years old) take our youngests (3 years old) to the restroom in a store without us. It’s really quite freeing and makes the older kids feel useful. We usually stay close by the restrooms, but we let them handle it.

  26. Good luck on ParentDish, there are a lot of wackos over there. I stopped visiting when I realized it was making me angry every day. On the plus side, I found several bloggers I still follow, so maybe you’ll get some new (unwacko) converts.

  27. The fact that they are only recalling these strollers in the US and not in Europe says something. Mainly that are just afraid of huge lawsuits.

  28. You know, it never occurred to me until now that I may want to look into why things are recalled before going into a panic.

    Just goes to show you can learn a little bit about being rational every single day.😉

  29. i own a small baby product company and work regularly with the CPSC and know for a fact that their goal is zero deaths and that ‘common sense’ does not fly as an acceptable warning. just sayin’.

    it’s all very frustrating and scary to me since a frivolous lawsuit would ruin my life.

  30. Surprised that we can talk about Maclaren strollers and not hear from my neghbor Alison Fairfield. She’s had one for a decade and her three kids still have most of their fingers……

    Speaking of losing fingers, I’ve been looking for an excuse to bring this up for a while just to show that child safety silliness has been around for a while. How many remember the blasting caps scare of the mid 60s? I started grade school in ’64, so this would have been around ’66 or so. Apparently there was an incident or two (if that many) where a kid was exploring a construction site where some bedrock was being dynamited and was injured by a blasting cap someone had left laying around. (For those of you who aren’t into things that go “bang,” a blasting cap is a very small charge of very volitile, very high explosive that is used to detonate larger charges of much more stable explosives such as dynamite or C4.) I’m sure there was an isolated incident somewhere where this happened but for several years classrooms were filled with posters showing the various types of blasting caps (typically, they look like a colorful plastic thimble with a couple of plastic-coated wires coming off it) and Officer Friendly would show up several times a year to warn us to stay away from construction sites because the places were just littered with extra blasting caps the careless demo guys (and boy is that a description of a short career) had left laying around. The mania eventually died out, around the time Nixon got elected and we had much more serious things to worry about, but its eternal legacy was the greatest bar-band name in the history of Houston rock and roll – Little Junior One-Hand and the Blasting Caps!

  31. @Uly,

    Yeah, but back in the day they put ‘puddingcaps’ on toddlers, they also thought the sun revolved around the moon, thought that dried frog pills kept the plague away and they burned witches. I mean, sheez!

  32. The “recall” just involves you calling Maclaren and then they send you a cloth cover to put over the hinge. And I’m sure almost ALL parents are continuing to use their Maclaren strollers, with or without the cloth cover.

    Perhaps, the word “recall” has too many strong connotations, but I actually don’t think this one was particularly over the top. It’s not as though they were insisting that the strollers be returned and destroyed. Other parts of the stroller are covered in cloth, now the hinge will be too.

    Let’s not “us” overreact about “them” overreacting.

  33. Seriously, had a woman STOP ME IN THE PARKING LOT to tell me my (Maclaren riding) daughter was in danger and I should take her out. I told her I’d heard the news, and strolled on. Am I the only one who thought it sort of obvious to keep those little fingers out of those crackerjack hinges?! Missed the original piece — thanks for pointing it out! *Molly

  34. 1. They didn’t think the sun went around the moon, ever.

    2. They also didn’t think the sun went around the Earth, not in the 1800s. And witch-burning was at all-new lows at that time too.

    I’m just saying, they’re not new.

  35. I’m not sure what to think about this recall. Here’s what the BBC is reporting on it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8402934.stm

  36. Casey–My two year old sleeps in a Stork Craft crib as well. His older brother and sister also slept in it–this crib has been in constant use for 6 years and no one has gotten hurt in it. I am more afraid of letting my 2 year sleep in a bed, and then not be in a cage at night than I am of him hurting himself in it!

    I like to think that my own common sense and good judgment are enough to keep my kids out of harms way and that I don’t need to go screaming out into the street whenever an accident happens to someone else with a toy or piece of equipment I own.

    (actually, I am not running outside at all today–there is a minus 40 windchill!!)

  37. I got the hinge covers for my Quest and put them on, but they are coming right off again if they impair the ability to keep the stroller locked in the “closed” position.

    Frankly, it’s a good stroller that is quite sturdy and I’m sorry the manufacturer had to do the recall in the first place.

    I was much more annoyed about the crib recall on my drop-side crib. The hardware was incredibly annoying to attach, and I wonder if I should have bothered as I have never used the drop-side function.

  38. I thought the saddest bit from the BBC News article that Jennifer posted above was: “They said it was not compensation they wanted but recognition that accidents they thought they had caused were not their fault. ” (This is re: UK parents suing Maclaren).

    Why do we play this blame game? If Maclaren aren’t at fault enough for compensation to be wanted why does anyone have to be at fault at all? Have we completely lost the concept of an accident?

  39. Talking about fingers, when I was about 5 or 6 years old, I decided to experiment with my grandmother’s stationary exercise bike. It was an old model with an uncovered chain, rubber wheel with spokes and a weighted cylinder for resistance. One day, I decided that find out what you happen if I put my finger between the chain and the gear while slowly turning the pedal. Crushed my nail, had some pain, but didn’t break a bone.

    Did my parents sue the company for failing to protect againts something they “should have known” about? No. Same idea with the stoller, anything that collapses and has parts that overlap each other has the same potention as the chain and gear. Maby we should set up lists for potential class-action suits such as one for oven makes because if a child puts his finger in the hinge slot, he may suffer an injury. Or maybe one for jeans’ manufacturers because ds’ penis can be caught. They outta known because it happens to adults you know!!! …..brutal nonsense.

  40. The closest my kid has ever come to losing a finger in the Maclaren was while I was trying to install the stupid hinge covers.

  41. As a mother of twins, I feel compelled to object to the term “trendy” as applied to Maclaren strollers. To my mind, Maclaren is more known for durability. My double Maclaren has weathered multiple plane trips, miles upon miles upon miles of use, a VERY large male stranger who (for reasons still unknown) decided to rest on it, and everything that 2 1/2 years old boys can throw at it. It still looks great and works like it just came out of the box. While I have ordered (and received) my protective hinge covers, I must confess that, once I realized exactly which hinges were supposed to be dangerous, I started laughing and promptly tossed the covers in a box.

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