Britax, a popular manufacturer of childcare products such as strollers, car seats, and highchairs, is being sued by the federal government in an attempt to stop the company from continuing its sale of allegedly dangerous jogging strollers.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), consumers have filed at least 200 complaints since January 2012 alleging defects in certain models of Britax Child Safety’s B.O.B. jogging strollers.
Injuries to children and adults include concussions, head and face injuries, dental injuries, bone fractures, torn ligaments, and cuts and bruises. Despite these incidents, Britax has refused to recall or repair the strollers. As a result, the CPSC filed a complaint last week in an attempt to make Britax halt sales of the product, notify the public, and offer to repair, replace, or refund the product.
Britax “Quick Release” doesn’t reliably secure front wheel
In its complaint, the CPSC alleges defective design of the B.O.B. jogging strollers (specifically those in the US made before September 2015), as they can allow a consumer to operate the stroller without the front wheel being secured correctly. When assembling the stroller or reattaching the front wheel, a consumer must attach the front wheel to the front fork of the stroller through the engagement of a quick release (QR) lever. If this QR lever is not properly engaged, the front wheel can suddenly detach during use of the stroller. Consumers cannot determine if the QR lever has been properly engaged and the front wheel safely secured just by looking, and they may only discover the failure once the wheel detaches during use of the stroller. When the front wheel does detach, the front fork can dig into the ground, causing the stroller to come to an abrupt stop and tip over. This can result in serious injuries to child occupants and/or adult operators of the strollers. The CPSC also claims that the instructions accompanying the strollers do not mitigate this risk in many instances.
In response, Britax issued a statement announcing that they have declined the CPSC’s request to recall the B.O.B. jogging strollers, as they believe there is no defect in these products and they are safe when used as instructed. The company states that the front wheel detachment and quick release mechanism are central to the functionality and convenience of the product.
What strollers are known to be affected?
The CPSC has named 17 Britax models of three-wheel jogging strollers. Other strollers may be affected. Affected models include: Ironman, Ironman Duallie, Revolution, Revolution CE, Revolution Flex, Revolution Flex Duallie, Revolution Pro, Revolution Pro Duallie, Revolution SE, Revolution SE Demo, Revolution SE Duallie, Revolution SE Duallie Plus, Revolution SE Plus, Sport Utility Stroller, Stroller Strides, Stroller Strides Duallie and SUS Duallie.
Past Britax safety issues
In late 2014, Consumer Reports found safety problems with two Britax car seats. The harness straps had not been properly secured to anchor points. Several months later, Britax told Consumer Reports that it had shared test data with NHTSA and said they “confirmed the performance” of the seats.
At NHTSA’s recommendation, Britax notified registered buyers who had supplied their email addresses, but did Britax not notify buyers who had registered only a postal mailing address. This kind of parsimony is not a good sign in a company that makes child safety products. Consumer Reports, in its follow-up, noted that Britax did not include information about the harness anchor mount issue in the “Safety Notices” section of the company’s website.
Unreported injuries from Britax strollers?
While only 200 injuries were reported to CPSC, some 700,000 strollers with this issue were sold in the US. With so many affected strollers in use, there may be unreported injuries caused by Britax’s problematic design. Britax strollers are sold by Target, Walmart, Babies R Us, Amazon and others.
SUGARMAN’s team of personal injury attorneys has extensive experience representing clients who have been harmed by unsafe consumer products. If you or a loved one has been harmed by use of the B.O.B. jogging stroller or any dangerous product, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at 617-542-1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.