Some children spend quite a bit of time in a stroller: it may serve not only as a transport, but also provide a soothing motion that helps a child go to sleep. In addition, some research has suggested that strollers are more frequently connected to injury than other infant products such as walkers, high chairs, changing tables, beds, and exercisers. So of course it is important that the parent consider stroller safety when purchasing a new one.Ease
Ease as a stroller safety feature? Absolutely! If you’re holding a squirming child in a parking lot or driveway, safety requires that you be able to set up or take down the stroller quickly and with one hand.
Does the stroller move easily both forwards and backwards and turn left and right as you would wish? If you’re crossing the street in busy traffic, or trying to back out of a subway train or elevator before the doors close, maneuverability and safety are aligned.
Also, most parents sooner or later end up out in the world with a child in the stroller and an armful of groceries (or an armful of child and a stroller full of groceries): in either case, the stroller should be easily steered with one hand—you don’t want it trying to go in circles or veering to one side when you’re trying to cross a busy street or parking lot.
The desire for ease stops for parts of the stroller that the child has access to: the buckles on the safety belts should not be able to be released by the child.Lock Function
The locking method on the stroller should hold firmly, no matter what you do or which way you push, and you shouldn’t be able to unlock it accidentally. On the other hand, you should be able to lock and unlock it easily when you need to. Always lock the stroller before placing the baby in it, so it can’t begin to fold before the baby is secured, and put the brake on, so it cannot move around as you secure the child.Brakes
One of the most important factors in stroller safety is that stroller should come equipped with a brake that works well and is convenient to use. It’s just as important to be able to make sure the stroller is well-stopped as to make sure it moves ahead and back easily.Sturdiness
The stroller shouldn’t tip easily when you press on the handles. The base should be wide enough to keep it firmly planted, even when your child leans to the side. On the other hand, when you need to lift the front wheels to take the stroller up a curb, or tilt back to slide the back wheels down a curb, it shouldn’t be prohibitively difficult.
Any shopping basket should be towards the base of the stroller so its contents don’t increase tipping danger.Reclining
The warnings that an infant may slump in car seats, causing airway obstruction, and should therefore ride at a 45 degree angle, can be transferred to a smart approach to stroller safety. Make sure the seat angle of the stroller does not allow the baby to ride in a dangerous position, and that if the seat is fully reclined to “carriage” position, the infant cannot shift into a position that could be hazardous.
When your child is reclining to sleep, it may seem natural to provide a soft blanket or pillow. Be aware, however, that the same warnings about soft bedding that are given with regard to placing the child in a crib also apply to strollers.Restraint
Falls resulting in head injuries are the most common stroller-related injuries. In addition, a small baby who is not well-restrained and left unattended can slip through one of the leg openings with his or her head becoming trapped. There have been deaths reported of unattended infants left in a stroller in the “carriage” position. A good restraint system will both have safety belts that fasten securely. A lap belt with a crotch T-strap is typical, but there are also 5-point belts which adds a shoulder harness system. Many safe strollers feature a way to close off the leg holes if an infant is reclining in the carriage position. But no matter how good the restraint system and how sturdy the structure, never leave a child unattended in a strollerRecalls
Strollers have been recalled due to: handlebars breaking, the locking latch failing, attachments or wheels coming loose, being shipped with missing parts, brake failure, and other reasons. Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or Keeping Baby Safe web sites for details about stroller safety and recalls.
Written by Mary Elizabeth
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