Two pushchair manufacturers have issued safety alerts after their prams trapped the fingers of some children and adults who used them.
Phil&Teds, a New Zealand-based manufacturer, and Silver Cross, the prestigious Yorkshire pram maker favoured by celebrities such as Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears, have sent out recall notices after toddlers and parents were injured. At least three youngsters have lost fingernails and fingertips in the past year on a faulty batch of Halo prams by Silver Cross, although parent groups claim the number may actually be eight.
According to Health Canada, Phil&Teds has received three reports in the United States of parents catching their fingers in the main hinge of their Sport V2 and Classic V1 strollers that were manufactured between April 2008 and June 2010. The Wellington-based company has promised to send a plastic hinge cover to anyone who owns faulty models. For its part, Silver Cross first issued a safety alert in April 2010 offering to replace any Halo buggies which had the batch numbers 150209, 150409 and 150509.
The company – whose traditional prams have been favoured by royals since 1877 and, more lately, by mums including Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow – blamed "premature wear" on one of the prams' components for the injuries. It put up posters in Mothercare stores and issued alerts through social-networking sites. But a number of parents whose children were injured by Halo prams say the prestigious manufacturer should have done more to alert people to the faults.
Initially the parents tried to lobby the firm quietly and use online forums to alert fellow parents. But the group decided to go public after it was contacted by a parent whose child had to have the top of his finger amputated during a holiday in South Africa two weeks ago.
Colin Thompson, a 44-year-old businessman from Belfast, says his son Sam lost a fingernail last summer after his hand was caught in a Silver Cross pram as it went over a curb. "My ex-partner was running about screaming hysterically trying to get his finger out," he said. "She spent three minutes trying to work out how to release it and in the end had to just pull it out by force – it was horrible." Mr Thompson is considering taking legal action against Silver Cross unless it does more to alert parents. A spokeswoman for Silver Cross said the company was continuing to replace any faulty buggies, even if bought second hand. "Silver Cross has been totally transparent, working closely, openly and voluntarily with Trading Standards to notify as many consumers as possible," she said.
Case study: 'Silver Cross must say more about recall'
The 27-year-old hotel manager from Amersham, Buckinghamshire, was taking her daughter Safiya with her to the shops to buy presents for her first birthday last May when the child's little finger became caught in the mechanism of a Silver Cross buggy. She complained and received a replacement pushchair, but she is concerned other parents may not be aware of the faulty prams and believes Silver Cross should do more to publicise its recall.
"It's not about damaging Silver Cross," she says. "I was upset after the accident but Silver Cross were good in sending us a replacement. What angers me is children are still getting injured by these prams and I don't believe enough has been done to tell people about the recall notices."