Following the issue of infringement notices by the ACCC, Target Australia Pty Ltd and Baby Bunting Pty Ltd have paid penalties totalling $37,800 and $25,200 respectively for selling and marketing unsafe convertible strollers, and have each entered into court enforceable undertakings.
The convertible strollers were marketed as safe to be used as strollers for transporting babies and young children, but did not comply with the mandatory safety standard for prams and strollers.
“The design of these products and the way they were marketed by Target and Baby Bunting gave consumers the misleading impression they could be safely used as strollers, including to transport babies,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“It is vital all prams and strollers, including products that can convert into something else, comply with the relevant safety standards.”
“Mandatory safety standards for prams and strollers exist to keep babies and toddlers safe. Businesses need to take their responsibilities under these standards very seriously and ensure every product they sell complies. If they don’t, they should expect strong ACCC action,” Ms Rickard said.
Between at least May 2015 and June 2018, Baby Bunting and Target sold a range of convertible strollers. Both retailers have provided court enforceable undertakings to the ACCC acknowledging that they are likely to have contravened the Australian Consumer Law by selling products that did not comply with a mandatory safety standard and by marketing the products in a manner which the ACCC considers was misleading.
The retailers have agreed to stop selling the products unless they meet all relevant mandatory safety standards and have each undertaken to strengthen their consumer law compliance programs.
The ACCC’s enforcement action follows a market-wide review of convertible tricycle/stroller products that found many were designed and marketed to be used as strollers but did not have key safety features including parking brakes, tether straps and suitable harnesses. After engagement with industry, these products were withdrawn from sale at major retailers.
Target’s court enforceable undertaking can be found at Target Australia Pty Ltd.
Baby Bunting’s court enforceable undertaking can be found at Baby Bunting Pty Ltd.
- Convertible tricycle/stroller products are wheeled devices that can be modified with different features and functionality to operate in different age modes either as ride on toys or to transport children.
- There has been a wide range of convertible tricycle/stroller products in the market. The products pictured below are among a range of products sold by Baby Bunting and Target impacted by voluntary recalls.
- Some of these products resemble simple traditional tricycles with the addition of parent push handles. Other products, such as the products pictured in the image above, have been designed and marketed to function (in some modes of operation), as traditional strollers for young babies and children. All products ultimately transform, through the removal or addition of features, into traditional tricycles for older children.
- These products have evolved significantly in the market over the last 10 years introducing features such as high back rests, reclining seats, removable pedals, the ability to disengage steering and lowering the age grading for babies as young as six to nine months.
- The ACCC’s position, as set out in consumer and industry guidance, is that convertible tricycles may be considered strollers for the purposes of the mandatory safety standard if they are designed for children younger than 24 months and include some combination of one or more of the below key features not typically found in traditional tricycles. Key features include:
- a high backrest for the child;
- a harness for the child;
- ability to disengage child steering;
- ability to disengage or remove the pedals; and
- ability to semi-recline or recline the child’s seat.
- These additional features enable the product to be used as a stroller to transport a child, including for young babies and children who are not developmentally capable of operating the products as tricycles.
- The mandatory safety standard has been revised through the addition of an explanatory note following ACCC consultation with industry stakeholders. The note clarifies the application of the mandatory safety standard to convertible wheeled products, which may include convertible tricycles and other wheeled vehicles. The amendment commenced on 14 February 2019.