Eight of the 10 strollers examined by federal safety officials failed to meet the minimum requirements that are part of a proposed voluntary safety standard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was told yesterday.
The stroller restraints are similar to car safety belts and are intended to keep small children from wriggling out of the stroller seats, falling on their heads and suffering injuries.
Statistics collected by the commission show that 13 children died in accidents associated with strollers and carriages between 1973 and 1979. Four of those deaths resulted from head injuries suffered in falls. The commission staff said that hospital emergency rooms each year treat an estimated 7,900 children for injuries related to the use of strollers and carriages. Another 20,000 injuries require medical treatment.
To reduce those accidents, a voluntary standard for strollers and carriages has been developed by the commission in cooperation with industry and consumer groups. The standard, with some modifications sought by representatives of Consumers Union, could be ready for adoption by August or September, according to John Preston, a mechanical engineer who worked to develop the standard.
Preston was among the CPSC staff members who tested the strollers.
"The stroller is supposed to restrain a six-month infant," Preston said. "But if the restraints are too loose, he could get out and fall. Under the proposed standard, the restraints on the eight we tested would have to be tighter. The restraints would have to be snug."