Maclaren to issue UK buggy safety kits

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The Independent Online

UK-based baby buggy manufacturer Maclaren said today it will issue "safety kits" for parents who are concerned over reports that some children's fingertips have been cut off.

The company, which made the same move in the US earlier this week, previously said the move was not necessary in the UK.

But today a spokeswoman said concerned customers could obtain the hinge covers, which can be used to protect the folding mechanism, free of charge through the company's customer services department.



Safety concerns were sparked when the company, whose UK base is in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire, announced a "recall" of a million buggies in America after reports of 12 children having their fingers cut off.

The recall involved supplying parents with extra hinge covers to stop children getting their hands caught.



But Maclaren and trading standards experts in Northamptonshire said the measure was not necessary in the UK as there had only been one complaint of an injury, and it seemed the US injuries had occurred when the buggies were not completely put up.



Today, Dylan Johnson, general manager of Maclaren UK, said: "Most of the people at Maclaren are parents themselves and understand that our children come first.



"That's why we ensure that our products meet and often exceed the EU and US product safety and quality standards.



"In the last few days, we have heard from hundreds of customers at our call centre and we have been able to reassure them about the quality and safety of our products.



"Most parents understand that they have to be vigilant when operating mechanical products around children, similar to the care they show when securing children in cars or protecting them around the home.



"We stress that our buggies are completely safe and fully compliant but, if parents remain concerned or worried, we urge them to talk to us.



"I appreciate completely the concerns this issue has raised with the UK public and our objective is and has always been to reassure parents."



He said customers who wanted further reassurance could contact customer services on 01327 841320, which could also supply free hinge covers.



He said customers could also email on advicemaclaren.co.uk and could download user instructions for all models online from http://www.maclarenbaby.com.



The company said the decision to issue the hinge covers was made earlier today.



It coincided with calls from the Department for Business for Maclaren to take a "fresh look" at the issue, but a Maclaren spokeswoman said they had not been contacted personally by the department.



Earlier, a spokesman for the Business Department said: "Given the number of UK consumers that have now come forward giving details of injuries allegedly caused by these buggies, Maclaren should take a fresh look at this issue.

"A modification kit has been made available in the US and UK consumers will expect the same treatment."



The spokesman said the department had not received any complaints itself, but said it was aware people had come forward.



Today, a spokeswoman for Northamptonshire County Council - whose trading standards team have looked into the case - said they had only received one more complaint than the one already reported to them by Maclaren itself.



Maclaren said the safety of consumers - parents and children - was its "primary objective".



Its statement said: "We would never compromise this and we take all consumer feedback very seriously, both in the design of our products and in supplying clear and unequivocal user instructions.



"To this end, all of our products are extensively tested prior to launch, including user testing. They also comply with the highest quality and regulatory standards.



"We are therefore confident that, used according to instructions, as with any mechanical products, all of our buggies are safe, and mums should continue to use them with confidence."

A Northamptonshire County Council trading standards spokeswoman said: "We welcome any measures that reduce the risk of injury to children and have been liaising with Maclaren over the past few days around this issue.

"We also hope that this acts as an important reminder to all parents and carers to take extra care when putting up any children's equipment that has a folding mechanism."



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