Strollers and pushchairs come in all shapes and sizes from lightweight to full-size feature-packed strollers and jogging strollers, and at SafeKids we’re pretty sure that almost every parent has one (or maybe 5) of them.
Around 1,000 children in the UK are taken to hospital each year with injuries caused by falls, pinches and tipovers from strollers. In fact, carriers and car seats are the only baby and child products that are responsible for more injuries.
Whether you are buying a stroller or already have one, the tips below are worth considering to help ensure your baby or child’s safety.
Buying a Stroller
Stability – a stroller with a wide base and rear wheels well behind the weight of the baby will prevent the stroller tipping when your baby leans over to the side or rocks backward.
Load – if you intend to carry extra items such as shopping, changing bag, snacks etc, you should chose a stroller with an under seat basket. On many strollers hanging anything on the handle or the back could cause it to tip over backwards. Check this by hanging a heavy bag on the back of the strollers to see which ones tip over most easily.
Brakes – most strollers have brakes but remember that, in general, brakes on two wheels are safer than brakes on only one wheel.
Latches – ensure that latching devices fasten securely as they can be accidentally tripped, causing the stroller to collapse. Strollers with two latching devices are safer than those with only one.
And finally, although it’s not really a safety issue, if are going to keep the stroller in your car, check to see how well it will fit and how much space is left over. If you prefer a larger stroller, consider where you will use it and whether it will be hard to navigate cramped spaces. Jogging strollers handle any terrain, but don’t always fold as easily for boot storage.
Using your Stroller
In general, common sense prevails when using a stroller as the tips below confirm:
Opening/Collapsing – when collapsing or opening a stroller, be careful of fingers (yours and baby’s) and make sure the frame locking mechanism is properly engaged to avoid collapse.
Seatbelts – using a seatbelt or harness actually prevents many types of injuries. Make sure you always Buckle Up Your Child.
Sit Properly – not sitting properly is an accident waiting to happen, as leaning over the sides can cause the stroller to tip. Try to get your child to sit as still as possible when riding in the stroller.
Safety Strap – most jogging strollers come equipped with a safety strap that you can slip around your wrist to prevent the stroller running away without you.
Parking Up – whenever you park up (especially on a slope) don’t forget to set your brakes, even if you’re just stopping for a moment.
Car Parks – for obvious reasons never leave your child in the stroller behind a parked car. Instead, keep your child’s stroller next to you while you buckle them into their car seat, before dealing with the shopping.
Overload – don’t overload the stroller by loading it with shopping, having a child heavier than the manufacturer’s weight limit, or putting more children in the stroller than its design allows.
Finally, you should periodically check for loose nuts and bolts and look for any sharp edges. Check the wheels to make sure that they are not wobbling and check tyre pressure. Low tyre pressure makes it a lot harder to push a stroller, especially on soft ground.
When you purchase the stroller you should return the stroller warranty card to the manufacturers so that they can inform you of a product recall should the need arise.