Guest blogger Lissa Hurchalla: Heard about Fisher-Price recalling over 10 million toys? Me too. But fortunately, we don't own any of the offending playthings, so I can file that one under "no problemo." Not so our stroller. Yes, my husband and I are the once-proud owners of a Maclaren Volo, that stroller that got recalled last year for chopping off little kids' fingers. My baby was a month old, and I was still in a postpartum sleepless hormonal haze when I went to the website to fill out the recall form. Then I got to the part that asked me to fill out the VIN, with the helpful little diagram explaining how to locate it on your stroller. (Really? A stroller needs a vehicle identification number?!)
Doesn't seem like such a big deal now, but this was at a time when I could barely pour myself a bowl of cold cereal, never mind track down the stroller still packed away in the garage somewhere (our newborn being still too small for it) and then transcribe a long series of numbers from its underside to my laptop. I never finished filling it out.
I meant to. But life has a way of getting postponed when you have a baby. Besides, the only way anything bad would happen is if you tried to open or close the stroller with the kid in it. So duh, we wouldn't do that. I even heard that the stroller had gotten recalled in the U.S., litigious nation that we are, but not in the U.K., where Maclaren is headquartered, since they apparently didn't consider it a safety hazard for non-Americans. I became almost smug about my procrastination. I wasn't an alarmist mom! I was as rational as a European!
And then I found out that my husband's sister's daughter had, uh, gotten her finger chopped off by, um, this very same stroller model. Turns out the kid, then 2, had wanted to help Mommy open the stroller, put her finger in the hinge, and next thing you know (as my sister-in-law puts it), "a huge hunk of her finger was missing." One trip to the ER to get it sewn back on, followed by three weeks in a cast, and the little girl's fine now. But it never occurred to my sister-in-law to report the incident to Maclaren, and this was a full year before the recall. Who knows how many kids have been hurt the same way, but their parents just never came forward? (Maclaren claims there have only been 15 cases ....)
I still haven't ordered the part, but after hearing this story from my sister-in-law, I vowed to do so pronto -- till she told me she hasn't done it, either! "Now we know what to watch for," she says, with the trademark calm of a surgeon (her profession). "Just don't ever let the kid try to help you with the stroller." I like to think I'll still fill out the form. As soon as I get time.
Moms, what about you? Ever knowingly ignored a recall?