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.