12 tips for safer strolling

    Consumer Reports News: May 19, 2008 03:52 AM

    Each year more than 10,000 children under age 5 are seriously injured in accidents associated with strollers or carriages, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It seems difficult to imagine, but a handful of children even die from stroller-related injuries. The good news, though, is that stroller-related injuries are on the decline. Still, you want to do what you can to avoid accidents. When you're on a roll, here's how to keep your baby safe:

    --Never leave your baby unattended in a stroller, especially when she's asleep.

    --Use the safety belt or harness to restrain children from climbing out of the stroller and possibly causing it to tip.

    --To reduce the possibility of injuries, don't overload the stroller with a child heavier than the manufacturer's weight limit, and don't put more children in the stroller than its design allows.

    --Don't jog with a stroller that's not a jogging stroller. Don't run or jog with an all-terrain stroller that is not specifically recommended for jogging.

    --Don't run with an infant younger than 6 months old in a jogging stroller. Some manufacturers advise that you wait until your baby is a year old and can be properly fitted with a bicycle helmet. That's a good idea.

    --If you buy a combo stroller, which includes a bassinet and seat attachment, make sure you hear a "click" when installing these components to the stroller chassis, to ensure that each is installed properly. (Most combo strollers are designed this way.) Likewise, when installing an infant car seat to a stroller frame or to a travel system, make sure the seat is safely "locked" in by jiggling the seat to make sure it's secure, and listening for the click, if the seat is designed to provide one. Use the instructional manual as your guide for correct installation. If something in the manual is not clear, call the manufacturer's customer service line and make sure you're doing it correctly.

    --Don't hang bags on stroller handlebars. They can cause tipping.

    --Make sure the frame locking mechanism is properly engaged to avoid collapse, and use the parking brake when you're stopped, especially on an incline.

    --Keep your child away from the stroller when you're folding and unfolding it to avoid pinched fingers.

    --Never use a pillow, folded quilt, or blanket as a mattress in a stroller or baby carriage, and don't add an extra mattress or cushioning to a carriage/pram bassinet. They're a suffocation risk.

    --Don't use a stroller/pram bassinet as a car seat.

    --Return the stroller warranty card so you can be notified of a recall, or sign up for the Consumer Product Safety Commission's e-mail subscription list. Updated recall information will be sent directly to you via e-mail.

    See our stroller report and Ratings (for subscribers) for more information. And if you are shopping for a stroller, consider these five features to fret over.

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