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Stroller exporter sends repair kit for discontinued model

Tuesday 25th January 2011

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A Wellington-based company exporting baby pushers around the world is sending owners of two discontinued models a repair kit after consumer safety bodies in North America warned that a hinge on those models could cause a fingertip amputation, or lacerations.

Around 30,000 strollers in the US and Canada were being "recalled" for repair over the potential amputation and laceration hazards, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada said.

The single-seat sport v2 and classic v1 jogging strollers imported by phil&teds USA had been reported to cause a finger-tip amputation and two lacerations during the folding and unfolding of the strollers, they said in a joint statement. They were sold in the United States and Canada from May 2008 through July 2010.

"Those who purchased the strollers should stop use immediately and contact the manufacturer to receive a free repair kit," they said.

The Phil and Teds Most Excellent Buggy Company said the repair kit was a set of covers for the frame-fold hinges: "We believe that in each case either the frame lock was not engaged and the buggy unexpectedly unfolded, or the customer had a finger inserted in the hinge during unfolding".

"It's clear that the buggies were being used in a way that we hadn't anticipated."

Marketing executive Richard Shirtcliffe told NZPA that the Sport inline model was popular for about three years, but it had "done its dash" and it was dropped last year and replaced with the company's Explorer and Vibe lines. He said the model was not dropped because of the hinge problem, but that hinge design was no longer being used. The close timing of the hinge problem and the dropping of the model were "coincidence only".

The company's designs were made to pass all relevant product safety standards.

Separately, Shirtcliffe said that the company was continuing to sell a range of baby buggies developed by its former Wellington rival, Mountain Buggy.

Two years ago, phil&teds, which designs it buggies in Wellington and has them made in China to be sold around the world, announced today it had paid an undisclosed price for the smaller Lower Hutt-based business Tritec, which made Mountain Buggies, but went into receivership with debts of about $22 million.

At the time, phil&teds had more than $US150 million ($NZ270m) in retail sales around the world while Tritec had a turnover of about $30 million.



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