A Guide to Pushchair Safety
Every year there are thousands of accidents involving pushchairs, many resulting in serious injury. The welfare of your child is paramount but it is so easy to overlook the dangers of everyday activities and using a pushchair is no exception. Don't let the fact that you use the buggy day in and day out distract you from a few sensible precautions that can avert accidents. Here is a guide to pushchair safety.
Buying Your Buggy
Choose a model that fits your lifestyle. If you use public transport or have to negotiate a lot of steps make sure it is light enough for you to lift and easy to fold. Struggling and getting frustrated can make you tired and lose concentration. If you cover a lot of rough ground, find a style that can cope with the terrain as you don't want your chair to tip over.
If you are considering a second hand model check it thoroughly for damage. Make sure all the locking systems and brakes are fully functioning and avoid models with car seats as their safety can be compromised by being involved in even a minor collision. You do not know their history!
Whichever pushchair you choose, read the instructions carefully before attempting to use it. It is imperative that you are fully competent in the operation of all locking and brake mechanisms and can safely fold the chair.
Check your pushchair regularly for damage and defects. Even small elements breaking off can leave sharp edges or cause a malfunction. Check the locks and brakes; it is essential that these continue to function properly and always follow the recommended maintenance programme. If you are concerned about anything at all, get the buggy looked at and repaired before you attempt to use it again.
Folding and Locking
Always ensure that any locks are engaged before starting out, particularly if you have removed a car seat or changed the configuration of the pushchair. Many accidents are caused by the chair detaching from the chassis or the frame folding with the child still seated. Take great care when folding the pushchair, fingers can get caught in the frame and so keep your child at a safe distance from the buggy before you fold it.
You should only use a pushchair with a five point harness and this should always be fully secured, especially at the waist. Ensure that your child's legs are either side of the crotch strap, otherwise they can slide forward and out of the chair.
Brakes & Parking
Always engage the breaks when stationery. It is all too easy to get distracted and find your pushchair has rolled away. Don't trust the brakes entirely! If you are on a hill keep hold of the buggy just in case they fail. Hold on to your pushchair firmly in high winds whether parked or stationery as it can easily be blown over, especially if it is a lightweight style like a Micralite. Be careful not to park the chair in front of or behind motor vehicles. They can move without warning and it is difficult for drivers to see that the pushchair is there. Drivers can also accidently engage the wrong gear and move in an unexpected direction.
When walking in the dark, make sure you are visible! Attach reflective stickers to the pushchair and consider wearing a high visibility jacket yourself. Take extra care near roads and observe the Highway Code.
If you follow these simple guidelines you can minimise the risk of an accident with your pushchair. Keep vigilant and happy strolling!