Wednesday, 9 December 2009

UK Maclaren owners sue

Once again, Maclaren are in the news this morning, with the BBC covering how a group of UK customers are to sue the company.

UK parents to sue Maclaren

For me I just don't get this, they say that they are not after compensation, just recognition that the problem is not caused by themselves operating the product?

But the only way that this can happen is if they allow the child to put their fingers into the side moulding when they are unfolding the product, surely any responsible parent ensures that their child isn't near a product when unfolded? Surely if they read the instructions on the product? As they would find within most instructions that children should be kept clear of any moving parts, and I'd say the whole product is moving during the unfolding process.

This line gets me:

Dr Tomlinson said: "Mother's back was turned at the time and she didn't see it was quite clearly happening when he was playing with the buggy, and when we examined the buggy the tip of the finger fell out so we were in no doubt that the tip had been amputated in the mechanism of the hinge.
How does a mother have her back to a child that is sitting their with its finger in the moulding? Was she stood there behind the stroller, about to unfold it with her head turned the opposite way to her body, in an un-natural stance, not watching the stroller that she was holding onto about to unfold? As the stroller cannot lacerate or remove the tip of a finger unless it is being operated in the unfolding motion.

I guess from my personal view I just can't see why they think they can lay blame on the product, a product that has been in our UK market place for decades, a product which on its own cannot cause this problem, a product that needs someone to operate it to cause this issue, and only causes the issue if the person operating is not paying attention or has not paid attention to the instruction manual, I guess that times have changed since the stroller was launched, a time when we took responsibility for our actions.

I really feel for Maclaren UK today, as I had put in my previous post about this subject, I guess Maclaren USA really didn't see how their reaction to this would effect the UK market place, and its not just Maclaren UK that could see the shockwaves of this, as I for one have defended cases of this happening in some of my previous employers. As many of the other strollers on the UK market place that are essentially Maclaren copies, many carrying the best known brands, all can cause the same issue if used incorrectly.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The official response from the BPA

For those that read my previous comments regarding the US Maclaren recall, this is the official statement from the BPA:

General Notification
Please see below the press release sent from the BPA following the recent Maclaren recall in the US:

'BPA Response to recent safety concerns about folding pushchair mechanisms

11 November, UK:

Following recent reports in the national media, The Baby Products Association (BPA) would like to reassure the public about the safety of folding pushchairs together with issuing advice on the safe use of such products

Umbrella buggies are widely used in the UK and across Europe and have to comply with rigorous European safety standards for Nursery Products. All BPA members, comprising of the major brands in the nursery market, which offer such products, are compliant with these safety standards.

These standards take into account the actual use of the pushchair but as with all children’s products, whether household, nursery or toy, the BPA and its members emphasise the need for parents to take extra care when operating any item that has a folding mechanism; similarly to how we take care when closing car doors and securing childrens’ seatbelts.

Michele Bates, Public Relations Officer for the BPA, commented: “The BPA strongly believes there is a dual responsibility between manufacturers and their customers to take the greatest care possible of children. Our members strive to produce high quality, safe products that comply with all relevant industry standards whilst our customers accept the responsibility to safely operate and use those products according to the instructions and guidance. When we both do this successfully we create a safer environment for our children.

The BPA would like to reiterate its full support for Maclaren following the recent media coverage. This support is alongside that of UK Trading standards who have endorsed Maclaren’s excellent safety record. “

The BPA and its members continue to work with all of the industry and standard’s bodies to improve quality and safety of our products to ensure British nursery brands remain the best in the world.'

If you have any queries at all, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0845 456 9570 or email

Kind regards

Julie James

11th November 2009

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Maclaren US - 1 million strollers recalled.

1 Million Maclaren strollers recalled

Well where to start with this? Maclaren are recalling to repair, lets get that straight first of all, as the term recall here in Europe means you are taking the item back, but in the US they of course like to dramatise things a bit more, and there idea of sending customers a kit out to fit onto their product to improve or change it is called a RECALL. I'm surprised that they haven't actually made it a requirement to put RECALL in capitals to make even more drama out of it. I thought I'd make that clear so that I am not seen to be over selling this news story.

What is the problem?

Some users have reported their child getting their finger trapped in the hinge/elbow joint of the product. Now the only time that this part could be a hazzard is when the product isn't in its errected position, and the pinch that can trap childrens fingers is only caused as the final stage of unfolding the product is completed, as the user pushes down on the main lock at the back. A time when the child isn't in the product, and when a child should be kept away from the product.

Why now?

All of Maclarens products are pretty much based on the original design that was made in 1965, this part has always been present on the product, with a possible pinch area at this point in unfolding it. So why has this suddenly become such a lethal threat to childrens fingers? Have they put some kind of statement in the instructions saying put your child in the product before you've finished unfolding it? Or has common sense become a commodity that is no longer available? Or is it the mind set of the new users of this product that if something goes wrong that its not their fault, and that they should blame the company and sue them?

Are the press building this out to be something more than it actually is? There is a part of this, as at no point have they explained that there is a difference in terms of how recall is used. Do they understand the point at when there is a possible pinch point? No, of course not, where would be the story in that? When you compare the article on the BBC site, and then the notice on the Maclaren website statement you can see facts verses a news story. Although I do have to say that Sky News has a more factual article on the story rather than a drama.

I guess there is a bit of all the things that I have pointed at that cause this to be a news story, the reaction of the US market place compared to the European market, the press, and the users of the product who now take no responsibility for the safety of their child, and the demise of common sense.

Maclaren say that the UK products are not effected, now yes the products are different from each country to comply with ASTM standards in the US and EN1888 for Europe, but this part that is the pinch point that removes fingers is the same around the world, and there are even parts of plenty of other products in the market under other brands that have a similar point, from Mothercare, Mamas and Papas, and Silver Cross that could do the same as the Maclaren product.

So this is where my concerns come in, as surely if Maclaren are reacting to this in one market then surely they should do this world wide? And if Maclaren do, then when do the other companies follow? As I know that at least a couple of other brands have also had similar instances of fingers getting pinched in this point, but they have not accepted it as their fault, as to be fair it isn't their fault if the product isn't used correctly. Do Maclaren understand the implications that their actions could have on the whole world wide stroller market? No they don't, as this could effect everyone, everywhere, in terms of how products are designed, how easy they are to use, and even the cost of products.

What is the magic fix they have come up with? My guess a piece of fabric that fits over the hinge point with velcro, and the implications of this? Well it makes the product harder to fold, all because of some users not taking responsibilty for how they use the product, and the product can obviously still be used without it, but once Maclaren has issued it and included it in their product the end user doesn't have to use it, its just a cover, a cover to ensure that Maclaren don't get any more legal cases brought against them in a market that doesn't accept that if they use something the wrong way that it is their fault.


A new article on the BBC site which is a bit more realistic, and the report on the 1pm news was also more true to real life with interviews with Maclaren users. Just a shame that the demonstration on the BBC is poor, as you don't need to and can't really put the brake on before folding a Maclaren or any other 3D folding stroller like this.

And the BBC thought that the pinch happens when folding the product, which isn't the risk point, its on erecting the product and that final last movement of pushing the main lock down. Which is the only way I can see fingers getting caught if the child trys to climb in too soon or if the parent doesn't realise that they haven't got the main lock engaged, just as I see many stroller users using their strollers on the high street everyday.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Bug-a-like seller seems to be taking note

Well I do have to say that it is a bit a shock, well considering the initial response I had from the eBay seller of the illegal Bug-a-like product, but they've been back in contact since my last message to them tell them about test houses and testing that they need to do, and they say they are going to look into it.

Hi ok thankyou i did get in touch today with a few companys bsi standards just got your mail now so will search for the information you have provided in the morning its best to test them for me also then may be i can sell them for more money Thankyou Ian

- miwheels2010
Although I really don't think it is worth their while, as I can't see it passing all the things that it needs to pass, but then on top of this it really won't be long until Bugaboo shut the company down in Germany, and the factory in China for making a product that infringes on patents and design registrations and IP right that Bugaboo hold for their design.

But this still for me doesn't address the car seat that is not a car seat issue that is still supplied with this item, if that was taken out of the package then I would feel much more happier about the safety issue of this item that is being sold to people.

And thats without me even getting started on the state of the factory where this is put together, if there are no thoughts towards copying a protected design, then I doubt there are any regards for workers health and safety, or the age of their workers to produce the product.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Update from eBay seller

Well it took them a few days to get back to me, but maybe they have thought a bit more about what I said to them and how they have a responsibilty to their buyers. But I'm still taking anything that they say to me with a pinch of salt.

Oh and amazing how their spelling has improved, its almost like that are reading this blog.

Hi ok i understand i have bought 20pcs of this stock direct from germany i know they have en1888 cert because they have emailed that to me i bought one pc for £300.00 plus vat i am selling already at a lost no problam if you can direct me in were i can get the remaining stock certifyed from in uk so i can get the uk cert then i would be able to do that i have 12 pcs left if you can help let me know i will get them certified here Thankyou

- miwheels2010

Now I know I would normally get paid for the kind of advice that they want, but for the sake of trying to get these products off the market, or to get some  kind of testing done on them, I thought I'd give them the advantage of my experiences.

Dear miwheels2010,

To be honest its going to cost you more than you are going to make on the products to test them if that is what you were charged.

As for a copy item like that you should not have paid more than £200 per piece.

The two test houses I would use in the UK are SGS in Bradford, or STR near Reading. It will cost you roughly around £300-£500 for testing to BS74509 and confirmation of conformity to EN1888. But on top of this you will need to test that the products fabrics comply to the home furnishing FR regulations, and that the entire product is pthalate free which could cost you roughly another £500 to do.

That is hoping that it passes, as retesting will cost you even more, and disposal of the existing stock that you are holding that doesn't comply.

A fast profit is not easy in baby products, especially not pushchairs. As you also need to offer a 2 year warranty on the goods for repairs.

And also expect to hear from Bugaboo too, as your product infringes their patents and design
 I would love to get to see the certificate that they were given by the German company, to know if I have heard of the test house that they have used.

But it shows to me that there is so much to consider when trying to sell pushchairs, and so many fly by night sellers really don't know what they are doing or have to do to ensure they are legal.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Irresponsible sellers of lethal products

Well there was me saying I hadn't had chance to see any new products, but then someone sent me a link to this item currently been sold on eBay in the UK.

Ok, so its not new, its another Bug-a-like I hear you say, well its more than that just that.

Been sold by an irresponsible seller for a start, who is only out to make money, has no idea of regulations, standards, safety or any will to think about the fact that what they are selling is been used by babies and children. Never mind the fact that it infringes on Bugaboo's patents and design registrations, as they are a company that can fight to protect their own product. My fear is with the nieve shoppers that don't know the potential risks that such a product can be to their child for the sake of saving a few pounds.

Well I couldn't just sit back, so I thought I would raise a few questions with the seller/company on eBay:

Dear miwheels2010,

You state that this item conforms to British standards, which standard? Do you have a test certificate? And which test house was it tested in?

In relation to the car seat, which test have you tested this to? And again with which test house?

Also have the fabrics been tested to conform to FR regulations?

I thought these were some simple questions to test the water with the seller, and this was their reply:

Hi yes its the en1888 cert tested in china also have the cert supplied by the german company the car seat has not been tested an it states in the intrction booklet that the car seat is not for use in car. only on the main frame of the stroller can the car seat be used the fabric is fr regulated and also it is fire protected fabric Thankyou

- miwheels2010

So mudling my way through the poor spelling, it wasn't hard to realise that this seller has no morals orconcern for their potential customers. How can they list part of the item as a car seat if it can't be used in a car? I had to write back for more information:

Dear miwheels2010,

A en1888 cert is not a British Standard, its a European standard that it has been tested to, so your listing is misleading, and you have not tested to British Standards.

Which test house has certified this in China?

What is the regulation/standard that you have tested the fabrics to? As the German company will not have done this as its not a European requirement, its only a UK requirement, so I do not believe you.

Why do you call the car seat, a car seat, if it cannot be used in a car? Again very misleading, and potentially dangerous to any child that might be put in a car with your unsafe item.

Everyone wants to make money, but you are making money by putting childrens lives at risk by selling an unsafe item, never mind the fact that it is bound to break any number of patents and design registrations relating to the Bugaboo.

And this was their response to this reply, not even covering all of the questions I raised with them:

ok we will changeit to european standards car seat is listed in its instruction pack an what do you mean i am lieing about the fabric? an if you are so clever why dont you take it up with the company miwheels in germany tnx

- miwheels2010

Can you sense me getting more and more annoyed with them? How dare they not use a spell checker, its no wonder they haven't a clue about pushchair standards and regulations, when they can't even type, how could I have set my bar so high hoping that they might actually care?

Dear miwheels2010,

There is no point taking it up with the German company, as its not a regulation that they need to conform to. It is a regulation that YOU need to conform to as you are the seller in the UK, all responsibility for conformity to UK standards is yours, so if a child is injured by this item or how it is used then it is you that will be prosecuted, not the company in Germany.

Just as the EN1888 certificate is issued to the German company this will not cover you to sell it in the UK, you need to have a certificate with your company name and address on it.

Just because you state in the instructions that it is not to be used in the car is not enough in my opinion, as you are clearly listing it as a car seat. And you can't call something a car seat if it can't be used in a car. You should call it the pointless seat.

You obviously have no idea of the regulations, standards or any desire to protect those that you sell to, or use your product, but I am sure trading standards will be interested.

I've just read the questions at the bottom of his eBay page, yeah ok, I was hoping maybe just a bit too much to see that mine were put up, but the question about if its compatible with the Maxi-Cosi car seat has got to me even more, where they state yes, but it also comes with a car seat!!!

How can people sell products for children and have no concern over the safety?

I hope we can get rid of sellers like this before someone does get hurt.

I'm not expecting another reply from the seller, but I have reported it to eBay, and also asked a friend at a big brand to help get Trading Standards straight onto them as he gets on well with his local officer and can stress how dangerous this is.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

No news is good news

Well I've been quiet I guess updating the blog, but I guess its a bit of the lull before the storm.

All the new products will be hitting the stores soon, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on them in person without a heavy sales patter on why they are so good.

Also been busy with 'real life' too, which has kind of got in the way of thinking about strollers.

But what I have heard from the UK show in London is that there was an uplift in sales for those that attended the show, and the first day of exhibiting beat the sales for the entire show in Birmingham for some exhibitors. So maybe this will be staying in London from now on. But I think it would be better to be in a personal venue, say Islington where there could be a social side, which is what the industry loves!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

new from Maxi Cosi

A quick look at the two new products from Maxi Cosi.

Then the new Quinny Senzz, a fixed seat 4 wheel stroller, but only with 2D folding, price I hope is going to sell this, otherwise we have another Halo on our shelves, offering nothing different, but trying to sell purely on brand alone.

The Mila which was previewed last year in Germany but not fully rolled out.

Based on the Loola, but with a fixed seat, and a more light weight chassis, to compete perhaps with Maclaren or premium stroller such as Dazzle.

M&P - Peg

It also seems that Peg is late on the uptake too, with a new three wheeler based on their successful Aria platform, although at least if its not a great seller the tooling investment won't be all that high compare to other companies.

Silver Cross Surf

Out in Germany Silver Cross finally showed their new Surf to the trade.

Although previewed the year before in a closed room, but held off from launch due to it not being travel system compatible, they have finally said that its going to be on sale.

Details are sketchy at the moment, but as far as we can see from the samples on the right of the image its very similar to the new Graco Symbio or the Recarro model that has been on sale for a number of years.

So what is different? What is unique?

Nothing that we can see, it seems another step in the direction of 'we are Silver Cross' and the hope that the brand and advertising will sell the product just as with the Halo.

When will they learn that people want innovation, not just design and attention to detail? Where are the products that are unique like the Sleepover?

And if rumours are true that the product will retail at around £600 for the pushchair, then what does it offer that the Symbio doesn't other than a brand thats a little bit older?

New from Recarro

Well I've not managed to find out the name or price indications yet, but this product really got me interested.

A sleek smooth design, from the Recarro design studios gives us another product to consider purchasing and combining with their infant carrier.

But are they too late?

As sales are steadily moving from 3 wheelers to 4 wheeler in Europe, just as they have done in Australia over the last few years. And as the UK market place is heading slowly towards following.

But with introductions of new wheels from Recarro this makes them a real competitor for Britax and Maxi Cosi, as well all know that the choice of infant carrier we purchase is related to the wheels that we can fit it on.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

oooh thats nice


And a great video to help you see all the things that it does.

I'm getting more and more interested in the Symbio from Graco!

Baby Gear, Toys, Strollers, Nursery Furniture | Spilling The Beans Blog

Baby Gear, Toys, Strollers, Nursery Furniture | Spilling The Beans Blog

Shared via AddThis

Another product to watch out for in Europe this Autumn is from Baby Jogger.

First seen over on Spilling the Beans, I've managed to track down a more clear image.

Also a winner in the ABC show products.

If this combines the great patented folding system from Baby Jogger with the tandem options of Phil and Teds, then prepare to see the market taken by this new player.

I'm also aware that Britax are also preparing to launch a tandem system like this, but even before its launched they're on a back foot with this new product coming out at the same time.

new Graco Symbio

Sorry its a bit blurred, but managed to get a photo of the new Graco Symbio stroller which is going to be seen at the show in Germany in the next couple of days.

No details on pricing yet, but its a modular travel system, from birth, one hand fold, reversible seat unit, and a reversible handle.

Its much more modern and European looking than anything from Graco over the last few years, and in my opinion is very exciting to see coming from the company that lead the travel system revolution.

Vegas has begun

Well first reports are being posted online from various sources from the Vegas show.

Not heard anything yet about the couple of new things that I was hoping to see first, the new offering from Graco and Silver Cross, will be interesting to see how they are perceived, when both look very similar chassis wise.

But have heard that there is a new updated Bugaboo Bee.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Trade shows around the corner

Vegas in the US, and Kind und Junger in Cologne Germany.

This means we'll see plenty of new products from those companies that have continued to invest in product development over the last tough year, and we'll also see who has been making cut backs and struggling in the current economic climate.

Its certainly going to be an interesting time to watch for products.

Will companies continue to drive innovation, lead the market with product that will make a difference to parents lives? Or are they going to be trying to aim to please the pocket of parents?

My view is that those that drive innovation are the ones that are going to be here in the future, not those that survive only trying to please the pocket.

Fighting to be the cheapest is never going to make a company profitable, its never going to bring in money to invest in new product and innovations. Its a bit like just treading water rather than swimming.

There is always something going on

Well with the experiences I have from this industry, I thought it might prove of interest to some others.

Things I hear, new products I see, movements in companies etc...

Information comes from various sources, from other people in the trade, customers and users of products, from retailers.

I'm always happy to talk about it or listen to talk about it, so thats why I thought others might have the same interest as me.

And so begins the blog.