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Buggy manufacturer Maclaren has agreed to compensate over 40 children in the UK whose fingers were seriously injured in the hinges of its folding pushchairs. Children between one and eight years old experienced injuries including amputation of the finger-tip, broken bones, deep lacerations and disfigurement of the finger.
In November 2009 Maclaren recalled one million pushchairs in the U.S. after 12 cases of children slicing off their fingertips in the hinges of buggies. Although models with the same hinge construction are sold in the UK, Maclaren made the decision not to conduct a product recall saying they had consulted with Trading Standards and only one case had been recorded.
However, since then 40 parents have come forward reporting similar experiences.
So, how can you be sure your child is safe in their pushchair? And what should you do if your child is injured? Slater and Gordon Lawyers are representing the families in this case and have prepared the following advice FAQ for concerned parents.
Generally, buggies are designed to be used without risk to children if they are operated correctly. However, there are a number of pushchairs from popular brand Maclaren which have injured children’s fingers because of the construction of hinges. The following models were recalled in the US: Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno, Easy Traveller.
The design of the hinge in these pushchairs is such that if a child’s finger is in the hinge while the buggy is being put up, it can break, cut or even amputate the finger. The buggy is safe once it has been erected or when used with a hinge cover, available free of charge from Maclaren.
As ever, parents should exercise supervision when putting a buggy up or down to ensure their child’s safety. Parents can request a hinge cover from Maclaren by emailing email@example.com
If your child is injured by the pushchair, it is important that you seek medical help as soon as possible. You should also report the incident to the manufacturer, citing the make and model of pushchair. You may also wish to keep photographs of the injury and make a note of the date of the incident in case you wish to make a compensation claim.
It is arguable that you could seek to return your buggy for a refund or replacement on the basis that it is not of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose (Sale of Goods Act). However, Maclaren may well argue there is no defect. You must bear in mind that it is possible that the offer to supply free hinge covers would be treated by the court as an adequate "repair.” The courts might well be reluctant to require refunds, because of the potentially huge cost involved if large numbers of parents tried to replace old buggies with new ones. All concerned parents must get the hinge covers, because even if they are now aware of the danger themselves, other users such as friends, grandparents, older children etc may not be.
Busy parents cannot be expected to be constantly alert to the potential hazard posed, so the best approach is that of “injury avoidance”. As mentioned earlier, hinge covers can be requested from Maclaren by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
While compensation will not make up for the injuries or trauma caused, it is important for manufacturers to address the scale of the issue. Maclaren has not admitted liability on the cases to date, however, the firm has agreed to pay damages with the sums involved being dependent on the severity of the injuries. The money will be invested until the child reaches the age of 18.
If your child has been injured and required medical treatment in the last ten years, contact Slater and Gordon Lawyers for a free consultation on 0800 916 9046 or contact us online. All cases will be reported to UK Trading Standards.
We can provide immediate representation and rehabilitation support anywhere in the UK from our offices in Newcastle, London, Manchester, Ashton-Under Lyne, Liverpool, Chester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Preston, Wakefield and Wrexham.
Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers are members of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel & the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).