Britax Child Safety refused repeated requests by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to recall its popular BOB jogging stroller despite 200 consumer reports from 2012 to 2018 regarding spontaneous failure of the front wheel causing nearly 100 injuries to adults and children including shattered bones, torn ligaments, smashed-in teeth, face gashes, and an injury that caused one child to bleed from his ear canal, according to a Washington Post report.
Britax maintained that its strollers met industry safety standards and were safe when used as instructed, as it continued to refuse a recall of its near-half million strollers. The company’s stubbornness continued even after February 2018, when the CSPC sued Britax to force a recall.
What came out of the lawsuit was a settlement in November 2018, approved by the commission by a 3-to-2 vote. The two dissenters called the settlement “aggressively misleading.”
Under the terms of the agreement, in lieu of a recall, Britax agreed to launch a public safety campaign and offer consumers with a BOB stroller replacement parts or discounts on new strollers if they requested them. The offer was also limited to certain strollers made before October 2015, and the deal was only valid for a year.
“Their strategy worked,” Rachel Weintraub, general counsel at the advocacy group Consumer Federation of America, told the Post. “But the settlement is incredibly weak and fails to protect consumers.”
Britax’s campaign was launched in January and included a 9-minute safety video on YouTube. As of late March, the video had only been viewed 195 times. In other words, very few people even know that there are issues with the stroller, including those who reported problems.
It appears to be a sign of a growing trend. In the first few years that Ann Marie Buerkle served as the chairwoman of the CPSC, the number of companies that were fined for misconduct dropped from 12 in 2015-2016 to five in 2017-2018, and there were about 80 fewer public voluntary recalls, representing about 13 percent.