Chicago, IL — Kids in Danger (KID) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) are extremely disappointed that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) settled an administrative lawsuit with Britax Child Safety, Inc. involving B.O.B. jogging strollers. The settlement is vastly too weak and fails to protect consumers. The quick release on the front wheel of the stroller can fail to secure the wheel to the fork, resulting in sudden detachment and injuries. At the time the original lawsuit was filed in 2018 at least 200 consumers had a front wheel unexpectedly detach resulting in at least 50 injuries to children and 47 to adults. The CPSC did not update that number for the settlement release but KID identified at least two new reports of front wheels failing on SaferProducts.gov.
The CPSC filed the lawsuit in February 2018 and had sought to force Britax to address safety hazards caused by the strollers’ wheel attachment. The CPSC argued that this problem presented a substantial product hazard. This settlement, however, adopted by a 3-2 vote, explicitly states that the remedy is not a recall but rather an ‘information campaign’ that cannot be called a recall, despite offering replacement parts to some consumers. In fact, Britax points this out in the notice to retailers, which seems to be telling retailers as well as consumers that this “information campaign” isn’t worth paying attention to. In addition, the settlement is time limited to one year, a limitation that does not exist for recalls which continue indefinitely.
While the CPSC includes the warning in their release that it is against federal law to sell a recalled product, this does not apply to this settlement since it is not a recall. Unfortunately, these strollers will continue to be bought and sold on the secondary market, without any requirement that information about the ‘information campaign’ be included.
“This is a bad deal for consumers and a bad precedent – time limits on safety campaigns and corrective actions that aren’t called recalls will limit attention from consumers, and consumers with older products will be prevented from participating in the limited replacement program,” said Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids in Danger.
“This settlement codifies practices known to be unsuccessful in terms of reaching consumers and urging them to take action to remove an unsafe product from their home. Calling an action anything but a “recall” undermines the chances that consumers will understand what the hazard is and how to fix it. Limiting the time of the remedy is designed to limit consumer access to a remedy if they can ever figure out what it is,” stated Rachel Weintraub, CFA Legislative Director and General Counsel. “This settlement does not serve consumers’ interests.”
CPSC Commissioners Elliot Kaye and Robert Adler issued a strong dissent stating that not only will B.O.B. consumers “come up short in terms of safety”, but it “sets dangerous precedents for future corrective actions – thereby lessening safety for far more consumers than are affected by this agreement.”
We urge anyone with one of these strollers to constantly check the quick release until the newer options are available in January 2019. If you have had an incident with a stroller or any product, report it at SaferProducts.gov.