Local sellers watching inventory after baby deaths prompt stroller recall


by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News & Associated Press reports


Posted on October 20, 2010 at 7:11 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 20 at 5:43 PM

TACOMA, Wash. --  It's one of the most popular brand of strollers around, and news of a nationwide recall has many local parents and retailers concerned.

Allison Stephens owns Just Between Friends in Tacoma, a consignment seller of kid's clothes, toys and baby accessories.

She's also the mother of a 3-year old, Maya.

"Even though she's my first child, I was really committed to using things that had a lot of life left in them," said Stephens.

But Stephens said the lifespan of things like a stroller or a car seat often change in an instant.

Case in point -- baby gear maker Graco Children's Products Inc. announced Wednesday it was recalling about two million strollers after receiving reports that four infants died in the strollers.

Stephens is hosting JBF's annual fall sale starting this Friday at the Puyallup Fair & Events Center, and said she has to add Graco's Quattro Tour and MetroLite strollers and travel systems to their list of items they can't sell.

"We've got all the numbers that we'll be looking for," she said.

While all retailers are affected by these recalls, it's especially concerning to Stephens because these are older Graco models made before 2007.

"The 2007 strollers would probably be the ones that our consigners would be bringing because their child is finished with that," she said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the four infant victims became trapped inside the strollers and were strangled. The deaths occurred between 2003 and 2005.

CPSC says if babies aren't strapped into the strollers properly, they can slide through the opening between the stroller tray and bottom of the seat -- where they can get stuck and be strangled. The commission also said it was aware of five reports of infants becoming trapped, resulting in cuts and bruises, and one report of an infant having difficulty breathing.

The recalled strollers were made before the development in 2008 of a voluntary standard that requires a larger stroller opening between the stroller's tray and seat bottom in order to prevent entrapment and strangulation.

The recalled strollers were sold at retailers nationwide between November 2000 and December 2007.

Stephens showed KING-5 a thick book of printouts, updated monthly, of all the recalls JBF looks out for. She said consigners are required to a sign a form indicating their inventory does not include recalled items. She also has volunteer "recall experts" who double-check everything they put on the sales floor.

"It's not okay for us to sell items that are unsafe," said said. "The liability and the reputation to our consigners and shoppers is too important."

And she said she understands, ultimately, it's not about the items they sell, but the children who use them.

More information on the model numbers involved in the recall can be found at the company's website, www.gracobaby.com.