Strollers are a must-have for new parents, but they can be dangerous. Over the years Consumer Reports and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have found several strollers that could pose a risk of strangulation. The latest figures from the CPSC include reports of five deaths between 2006 and 2009. So it is very important to be careful which stroller you buy and to use it properly.
The problem with some strollers is the size of the space between the tray and the seat. The opening is large enough to allow a child's unharnessed torso to slide through but not big enough for the head. So the head can get caught, and a child can be strangled.
To stay safe, all children should be harnessed in their strollers. But Consumer Reports says strollers should be safe even if the child is unharnessed.
Consumer Reports' tests have found several strollers in the past few years that pose a strangulation risk. Many have been recalled. But a recall doesn't mean the strollers are completely off the market. Consumer Reports recently went on Craigslist and easily bought two used strollers that had been recalled because of a strangulation hazard.
When shopping for a stroller, check Consumer Reports' buying advice and recommendations. Recommended strollers perform well in Consumer Reports' safety tests. One good choice is the $180 Chicco Cortina.
Whichever stroller you use, Consumer Reports says be sure to always use the harness to strap in your child.
If you already have a stroller and want to check the recall list, go to the website www.recalls.gov.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.