Heidi Klum stroller judged safety risk in Consumer Reports tests

Restraint buckle releases on three separate samples

Published: October 10, 2013 06:00 AM

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Falls are the biggest stroller risk by far: Roughly 75 percent of the estimated 46,200 stroller-related emergency-room visits between January 2008 and December 2011 happened because children tumbled out of their stroller, as reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A stroller’s harness is supposed to prevent falls by staying securely latched when in use, according to a voluntary industry safety standard. But on the Truly Scrumptious Travel System TR252BQR by Heidi Klum, $220, one side of the buckle released intermittently on three samples in Consumer Reports’ latest stroller tests.

The Truly Scrumptious Travel System TR252BQR by Heidi Klum is part of a line of strollers and other baby products marketed by the supermodel and TV star and sold exclusively at Babies "R" Us. Like other travel systems designed to accommodate children from birth up to four years, this one includes the stroller and a detachable infant car seat with its own restraint system and base.

The side of the buckle that released.

Consumer Reports tested the Truly Scrumptious Travel System TR252BQR by Heidi Klum as part of our regular travel system tests. The car seat and its restraint system performed well in our separate car-seat tests. For the stroller seat restraint, we applied 45 pounds of force at each harness attachment point, based on the voluntary safety standard for strollers. Our tests found no issues with the attachment points that don’t involve the buckle. But when we applied force where the harness attaches to the buckle itself, the buckle’s right side released 10 out of 15 times on three separate samples—three times during five tests with one sample, in two of five tests with a second sample, and in all five tests with a third sample.

The buckle also released in our impact test. Patterned after the voluntary standard, this test simulates a stroller hitting a curb and is designed to evaluate the stroller’s frame and its folding, locking, and latching mechanisms—not its restraint system. This time, the buckle’s right side released one out of five times on each of two samples, and five out of five times on a third sample.

Of the more than 100 strollers in Consumer Reports’ Ratings, the Truly Scrumptious Travel System is the only one with this problem. While we know of no injuries associated with this stroller, Consumer Reports believes it poses a safety concern, and as a result of our tests, we have designated the Truly Scrumptious Travel System TR252BQR by Heidi Klum a Don’t Buy: Safety Risk.

Consumer Reports contacted the Dorel Juvenile Group, which makes the Truly Scrumptious Travel System TR252BQR by Heidi Klum. Dorel told us it disagrees with Consumer Reports’ conclusions, based on its own internal and outside testing, and has had no reports or complaints about buckle releases. We also shared our test findings with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, though the agency was unable to respond in time for publication due to the government shutdown.

We didn’t find a problem with a similar buckle on other strollers we tested that were made by Dorel, including the Safety 1st SleekRide Premier Travel System, $245, Disney Saunter Luxe Travel System, $160, and Cosco Commuter Travel System, $135.

Consumer Reports believes mandatory safety standards for strollers can’t happen soon enough. The 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) calls for the CPSC to set mandatory standards for a long list of child products. Those with mandatory safety standards currently include infant bath seats, swings, and walkers, along with portable bed rails, cribs, play yards, and toddler beds. Strollers are the next child product slated to join that list.

Meanwhile, if you already own the Truly Scrumptious Travel System TR252BQR by Heidi Klum, you can continue using the car seat in the car and on the stroller, since it doesn’t rely on the stroller’s restraint system. (The car seat is also available by itself as the Safety 1st onBoard35 and is a CR Best Buy at $100.) But don’t use the stroller on its own. And do consider asking Babies "R" Us for a refund on the entire travel system.

If you’re in the market for a travel system, consider the Graco Stylus, $245, and Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30, $330, Consumer Reports’ top-rated travel systems.

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