The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and manufacturer Baby Trend are warning consumers about an entrapment risk associated with the pivoting front canopy on certain models of Baby Trend’s Sit N’ Stand Double and Ultra strollers after one child died and another sustained neck bruises.
The warning, issued on February 9, 2023, states that the space directly in front of and behind the strollers’ pivoting front canopy can entrap a child’s head or neck if a non-occupant child climbs on the exterior of the stroller or when a child in the front seat of the stroller is not securely restrained in the seat using all five points of the harness.
A 14-month-old who was not sitting in the stroller was fatally asphyxiated when their neck became entrapped in the space between the front of the canopy and arm rest. The child’s father was nearby, but was not able to see the child. The other child, a 17-month-old, was partially secured in the stroller and became entrapped in the space between the back of the canopy and the seat back of the front seat.
The warning states that consumers can mitigate the hazard by removing and separately storing the canopy when not in use, not allowing children to play on the strollers, and always fully securing children in the strollers with the built-in five-point harness. Instructions on how to remove the detachable canopy are provided in the product manual and in images accompanying the warning notice.
The warning does not provide information as to when the two incidents happened. The strollers have been sold since 2009. It is unclear as to whether there have been other injuries or deaths because federal law allows manufacturers to control the CPSC’s ability to release critical information about product safety. If the CPSC wants to notify the public about a hazardous product, it usually must get the company’s permission first. If the company objects, which is a common occurrence, the CPSC may be forced to litigate the issue. Moreover, the CPSC cannot unilaterally recall unsafe products without a company’s cooperation. If a company refuses to cooperate, the CPSC must engage in protracted litigation or administrative proceedings to force a recall.
According to news reports, one day after the joint warning, Baby Trend issued a statement that the company and the CPSC were in agreement that the strollers were “completely safe when used as intended and in accordance with the company’s operating instructions.” The CPSC hit back with its own statement that it was “disappointed” that Baby Trend issued a “clearly inaccurate” statement. “CPSC does not make determinations that products are ‘safe,’” the agency said.
A statement presently on Baby Trend’s website indicates that it agreed to the joint warning “out of an abundance of caution” and callously blames the toddler’s death on lack of parental supervision. The statement reads, in part: “This tragic and exceedingly rare accident could have been altogether avoided if the young toddler had not been permitted to climb and play on the stroller, which was not being used as intended at the time.”
The impacted Sit N’ Stand Double and Ultra strollers have model numbers beginning SS76 or SS66, a black or silver frame, and a black tray at the front with oval cutouts on the sides. “Sit N’ Stand” is printed in white on the sides of the frame. “Baby Trend” is printed on the side of the mesh basket under the seat. The model number is printed on a sticker located on the left inside rear of the frame, near the left rear axle. The strollers were sold nationwide at stores including Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and buybuy BABY and at online retailers including Amazon, babytrend.com and bedbathandbeyond.com.
The warning marks the second time in less than two months that a stroller has grabbed headlines for injuring children. On November 10, 2022, stroller manufacturer Mockingbird recalled 149,000 of its Single-to-Double Strollers amidst public anger that the strollers were suddenly breaking in half with kids onboard, causing some to land face-first on the pavement. Mockingbird offered its customers a repair kit to reinforce the stroller frame rather than a financial refund.
Alan M. Feldman, a co-founding shareholder and product liability attorney at Feldman Shepherd recommends contacting a product liability attorney as soon as possible if your child has been injured by a Baby Trend Sit N’ Stand Double or Ultra stroller.
Feldman said that product liability law requires that all products be safe for their intended as well as expected use. “In the real world, children explore and do not always sit neatly in a stroller in accordance with the instruction manual,” said Feldman. “It is simply unacceptable that a stroller could asphyxiate a toddler when used in a manner that should be completely foreseeable to the manufacturer.”
Feldman’s team at Feldman Shepherd, which includes shareholder Daniel J. Mann and partner Edward S. Goldis, has secured substantial recoveries on behalf of infants and young children who have been seriously injured or killed by children’s products, including baby slings, unstable furniture and magnetic toys.
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