Friday, October 5, 2018

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission vs. B.O.B. Strollers

I have pushed the same 2006 BOB Ironman Sport Utility Stroller thousands of miles on my solo running adventures across America, Germany, Alaska, the Mojave Desert, and elsewhere. The stroller hauled my gear, food and water (sometimes as much as 100 pounds) and has endured the most punishing of conditions. Today, it sits in my garage. I recently learned that earlier this year the company that makes the BOB jogging stroller had a complaint filed against it by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), after it refused to order a recall over what the government’s product safety regulator considers a "substantial product hazard."

According to the CPSC, the issue is that the front wheel can detach as the stroller is being pushed -- something I have NEVER experienced with my BOB stroller. The commission says that when the wheel detaches, the front fork on the stroller frame can dig into the terrain, stopping the stroller abruptly and potentially causing serious injury to a child and/or an adult pushing the stroller. The CPSC’s complaint says that almost 500,000 BOB strollers were made from December 2011 through September 2015, plus an unknown number were manufactured between 1997 and 2011. The lawsuit does not cover strollers made after September 2015.

The CPSC suit seeks to force Britax, which owns the BOB brand, to recall the strollers. In its press release, the agency didn’t advise consumers to stop using BOB jogging strollers built through September 2015, but the complaint does seek an order to stop the company from distributing affected models, and also requests that Britax alert the public and produce a remedy for what the agency deems a defect in design.

Britax does not believe there is any defect with the BOB strollers it manufactures.

In a press release, the CPSC says that approximately 200 complaints have been filed by consumers since January 2012 and that it has received at least 97 reports of injuries to children and adults. In response, Britax has said that with more than half a million products in the market for 20 years, the number of reported injuries is very low. Britax also said that front wheel detachments are not due to any defect in the product design; they involve an improperly secured quick release mechanism and/or jogging with the swivel wheel unlocked.

Britax states that detailed instructions and videos on securing the quick release and locking the front wheel are available on the BOB gear website and in the User Guide.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com