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On Parenting
Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 03/06/2012

Maclaren files for bankruptcy and a stereotype goes down with it

A symbol of pampered American parenting will soon cease to exist as Maclaren has filed for bankruptcy.

The U.S. division of the company best known for its once-ubiquitous-in-certain-neighborhoods stroller has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to several news reports.

Chapter 7 suggests officials intend to liquidate the company. The news comes after a tumultuous few years that include high-profile recalls.

The lightweight compact Maclaren sold in subdued and urbane colors became a fixture among certain parenting sets in recent years. The British company had a strong base in this region, where dual-earning families snapped up the $100-$500 models, considered more attractive than the cheaper plastic-heavy traditional strollers and an economical alternative to the haute couture brands.

In a piece that skewered D.C. parents last year, Washington City Paper quoted a DC Urban Moms and Dads posting that described how parents in the region classified the status of each stroller owner. Those pushing Maclarens were considered “highly-educated upper-middle class.”

The Maclaren image was damaged in 2009 when the company issued a voluntary recall of about a million strollers after parents reported that their toddlers were getting their fingers caught in the hinges. The flaw resulted in a dozen finger amputations. The company was forced to later re-issue the recall after the accidents kept happening.

The U.S. division quietly filed for bankruptcy late last year, an event that was not noticed until the Washington- and New York-based-blogger Greg Allen of Daddytypes wrote about it late last month. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal then published stories about the filing this past weekend.

Word is still out on what stroller might take Maclaren’s place among the parenting chattering classes. There are plenty of candidates as a 2011 Consumer Reports rating of strollers included more than two dozen other brands.

Or maybe the end of Maclaren might signal the end of stroller sterotyping? Nah.

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By  |  07:00 AM ET, 03/06/2012

Tags:  Products, Recalls

 
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