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Consumer Report issues stroller safety alert

Consumer Reports tested 12 double strollers to see how they handle real-life challenges and if they meet voluntary safety standards.  

The Bumbleride Indie Twin costs almost $700 and can be used with an infant car seat. When children sit in the stroller, you're supposed to raise this bumper bar.   With the bar in the upper position, the stroller passed an important safety test. A ball -- the dimensions of a young child's head - slides easily under the bar -- as it should. But when the bar is in the lower position the child's head can get trapped.   

The instruction manual for the Bumbleride has the warning: "When child is seated in stroller, only use bumper bar in upright position. Child can slide forward and strangle."  But Consumer Reports is afraid parents won't necessarily read the instructions and may miss the small warning tag on a cover that zips over the bar with the same caution. 

Consumer Reports does not know of any deaths or injuries associated with this stroller. Still, it is rating the Bumbleride Indie Twin a "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" because of the potential danger.

Bumbleride CEO Matthew Reichardt told Consumer Reports the company is working with the CPSC on the recall and believes it has removed the affected models from the market. He added that, since being contacted by Consumer Reports about the multi-use bar, the company has been removing the bar from all new strollers and is advising customers who order a front-wheel retrofit kit to also be careful to position the bar correctly.

Reichardt said Bumbleride will offer a new multi-use bar and infant car seat adapter as optional accessories starting in March. Consumer Reports says it will test the modified stroller as well as the accessories when they become available and report those findings to you.

None of the other double strollers Consumer Reports tested had serious safety issues. But some proved tough to maneuver,, including the Safety 1st Two Ways Tandem Stroller.   Far better was this Maclaren Twin Triumph stroller for $265, which proved very easy to use and maneuver.  

Consumer Reports also rates the single stroller version of the Bumbleride Indie a "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" due to the same problem. The manufacturer has issued an alert regarding the bumper bar. And Friday afternoon the manufacturer and the CPSC recalled both strollers because of an unrelated problem with the front wheel. 

If you own ones of these strollers, Consumer Reports says stop using the bumper bar altogether. To address the front wheel problem, go to support.bumbleride.com to get a free retrofit kit.