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Consumer Reports vs. Valco

Last week, Consumer Reports published a report calling the Valco Trimode stroller a “Safety Risk.” I have a history of skepticism with regards to similar claims Consumer Reports has made about other products, but in this case they appear to have done a little more homework.

The issue here is the bumper bar. There is an ASTM voluntary standard that asks manufacturers who include a bumper bar on their strollers to make sure that the space between the bar and the seat is wide enough that, if an unbuckled child started wriggling down under the bar, his or her head wouldn’t get stuck. This is called “submarining” in the industry. Obviously submarining is only possible if the child isn’t securely buckled into the harness, but the reality is, parents aren’t always diligent about using their harness, and a bumper bar can create a false sense of security.

When Consumer Reports tested the Valco Trimode to see if their bumper bar met this voluntary standard, they found that it did not. Then, they had their findings verified by an outside lab (good for them).

The bumper bar on the Valco is removable, and without it, there’s no safety risk. So for the time being, we’re told Valco will be removing those from the boxes of the Trimode stroller. For customers already using the Valco Trimode, either remove the bumper bar or be vigilant about using your harness (a good idea no matter which stroller you’re using). Valco is also working with their factory to design a new bumper bar that does meet this voluntary standard.

Valco is a family-owned and operated business. I know them, and I also know they have lots of kids of their own riding around in Valco strollers. They have a lot invested in the safety of their products, both personally and professionally. I expect they’ll get this figured out very quickly.

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