The Consumer Product Safety Commission is the main federal agency that receives and compiles complaints about various consumer products. Recently, the agency sued Britax Child Safety Inc. after the company failed to take action to solve a potential design defect.
As one of the go-to jog strollers, the B.O.B. has a detachable front wheel for easier storage. An alleged design defect allows the stroller to be used even if the front wheel is not properly secured. If the wheel detaches during a run, the front fork can dig into the ground tipping the stroller.
Two hundred reports of wheel detachments since 2012
Some of the reported injuries were to children riding in the strollers. These included concussions, dental injuries and contusions. Adults running behind the strollers also reported a number of injuries ranging from fractures to torn ligaments.
After Britax did nothing to recall or repair these jog strollers, CPSC issued a complaint. In addition, the agency provided recommendations to the company on how to stop further incidents from occurring.
The company response: “It’s not a defect”
In a somewhat unusual response, the company stated, “We cannot agree to recall a product that is not defective.” They expressed concerns that the issue was user error. The company claims to provide adequate instructions and videos on securing the quick release. The company also cited rigorous testing and compliance with ASTM wheel retention performance requirements.
While a safety guide and online tutorial may be available, not everyone is going to review these prior to use. The B.O.B. has other safety features designed to be intuitive without reading an owner manual. For instance, the levers that fold the stroller are red indicating their important function. Could the design be updated to prevent use if the wheel is not reattached properly?
The CPSC requests an order that prevents the company from selling certain models and a broader public awareness campaign to inform consumers of the defect. The agency would like to see the company offer a repair, replacement or refund policy.
When a company is reticent to comply with a request from the CPSC, it might take more to prompt change. If a possible product defect caused you or a child to suffer a serious injury, speak with one of the experienced products liability attorneys at Weisfuse & Weisfuse.