What parents need to know about stroller safety

More than 17,000 babies injured in strollers each year

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Nearly 4 million strollers are sold in the U.S. every year, and while they are intended to keep infants safe and secure, they can also cause injury.

A recent survey found that more than 17,000 babies are hurt in strollers every year.

While sometimes the injury is the result of poor handling by a parent, a defective device can also cause harm.

"I actually did very thorough research on strollers, car seats, everything, because I'm a detailed person and I wanted to make sure it's the safest," new mother, Nikki Winchester, said.

When Winchester went stroller shopping, the first-time mother from Fort Lauderdale picked the Uppa-Baby Vista model.

"It's kind of known as the Cadillac of strollers. It's comfortable (and) it's supposed to be safe," she said.

After a walk a few weeks ago, Winchester moved her daughter, London, straight from the stroller into her high chair for breakfast.

"She choked a little bit," Winchester said. "I said, 'You're OK, you're OK,' just to calm her down, but then she coughed again and started turning red, so clearly she was choking on something."

London threw up a small dark object, which turned out to be a piece of rubber from the front bar of the stroller.

Winchester said she immediately called the manufacturer.

"I was informed that my stroller was manufactured in March of 2015 and was told there was a voluntary recall for the handle bar, but I purchased the stroller in 2016 and, with all of the research I had done, nothing had come up on it," she said.

Danielle Docobo said she stumbled across a potentially dangerous defect with a combo stroller-carseat that she purchased second-hand.

"The side clips here -- these pieces would break if they're put down on the sidewalk too heavily, and they could just break off, or if I'm in an accident they could break," she said. 

Docobo also found out about a recall on the clips while surfing the web and called the company.

"They sent it, I'd say, within two weeks we had the two side clips that we needed," she said. "It's definitely peace of mind knowing he's safe."

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said cases like these and many others underscore the importance of registering any major products you purchase. That registration gives the company a way to contact you in the event of recall or safety concern.

"I don't register my appliances, so it didn't dawn on me the importance of registering because of safety issues, so that was a hard lesson I had to learn here," Winchester said.

But Winchester, who bought her stroller new, believes the manufacturer and retailer also bear some responsibility.

"Either they should have pulled all the strollers, and if they weren't going to pull the strollers maybe the retailer at the time of purchase should say, 'Hey, by the way, there's a safety issue with this one here,'" Winchester said.

Winchester hopes her case serves as a caution to others.

"I mean, this could have a severely different outcome for someone else, and God forbid that happens," she said. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said car seats, strollers and cribs are among the key baby products that should be purchased new.

Those who are determined to purchase pre-owned should contact the manufacturer to see whether there are any product recalls and register themselves as the current owner.