Faced with a spate of complaints on the internet of strollers suddenly breaking in half with kids onboard — hurling some kids to the pavement face-first — stroller company Mockingbird has recalled 149,000 of its Single-to-Double Strollers. But the company’s remedy — a repair kit — is woefully inadequate for customers who are no longer comfortable placing their children in these strollers.
Mockingbird announced the joint recall with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on November 10, 2022, stating that the lower side of the frame of its Single-to-Double Strollers can crack, posing a fall risk to the young occupants. Astoundingly, the company received 138 reports of cracks in the frame, including eight injuries involving cuts, scratches or bruising to children in the strollers, before it recalled the strollers amidst a storm of negative publicity.
The recalled strollers were sold at Target stores nationwide and online at hellomockingbird.com, babylist.com, goodbuygear.com and target.com from March 2020 to September 2022 for between $395 and $450. They are made of aluminum and are black or silver in color. The seats are black, and the canopies are black, light blue, dark blue, pink or light green. The recall includes strollers with a lot number between 20091 and 22602. The lot number is a five-digit number that can be found on the white product label located on the inner left side of the stroller frame near the top of the basket.
The recall notice instructs customers to immediately stop using the strollers and contact Mockingbird to receive a free frame reinforcement kit, which includes two frame clamps that attach to the sides of the stroller to reinforce the frame. A financial refund is not being offered, even though some parents have publicly stated that they have lost confidence in the safety of the strollers.
One mom who has had three Mockingbird stroller frames break (first on her original stroller and then on two replacement strollers supplied by the company) told Consumer Reports: “As a parent, I want a product that is strong enough to start, not one I have to add extra material to make safe. It’s putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone.”
Contrary to popular belief, the CPSC does not have the authority to 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. Moreover, 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 it most likely will do, the CPSC, again, may be forced to litigate the issue.
In this case, the extent to which the Mockingbird strollers were on the CPSC’s radar before the company agreed to a voluntary recall is unknown due to the legal restrictions on what information the CPSC can publicly share without a product manufacturer’s permission.
What is known is that Mockingbird recalled its strollers as negative publicity piled on from parents who took to social media and the CPSC’s SaferProducts.gov public database to report scary incidents of their strollers collapsing with their kids in them. Their stories include:
Many of the stories included photos of broken strollers. The social media posts prompted other parents to reach out that their Mockingbird stroller had broken too.
Yet even in the wake of so much bad publicity, Mockingbird did not immediately fast-track to a recall. Instead, in late October 2022, the company sent emails to customers and issued a statement on social media acknowledging some “isolated incidents” and advising its customers to “please inspect the sides of your stroller frame for any visible cracks.” It took about another two weeks before Mockingbird finally recalled the strollers. By then it had been subjected to more harsh public criticism from parents who were not happy about being asked to find the defects in the stroller frames themselves.
“As someone who has been personally impacted by a defective stroller (sending the front seat face first into the cement), this message comes far too late,” one mom wrote in a comment to Mockingbird’s Instagram post. Some parents, not knowing what to look for or where to look, asked for photos or diagrams, which the company did not provide. “Who’s to say it will show cracks before breaking?” one parent wrote.
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 Mockingbird Single-to-Double Stroller.
Feldman said that product liability law requires that all products be safe for their intended as well as expected use. “It never should take 138 complaints of a product defect that can cause grave injury to children and a public shaming to get a company to do the right thing and recall a dangerous product,” said Feldman. Feldman also takes issue with Mockingbird’s refusal to provide a full refund to customers who no longer trust the safety of their strollers.
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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