Some baby strollers on sale in Hong Kong risk folding up suddenly or trapping tiny fingers or toes, safety tests by the consumer watchdog have shown.
The Consumer Council tested 19 models, priced at between HK$1,490 and HK$14,860. It found that seven - including one selling for almost HK$12,000 - did not meet European Union safety standards, and some also failed to meet US standards. Yet the cheapest model passed the tests and won a recommendation from the council.
"Parents usually buy the most expensive ones for their children, but expensive ones may not be the best," Professor Michael Hui King-man, chairman of the council's publicity and community relations committee, said yesterday.
Some strollers had gaps or holes in which babies' extremities could be caught.
Others had faulty safety locks leaving the stroller at risk of folding suddenly and trapping the infant inside, according to the report, which is published in the latest issue of the council's Choice magazine.
Baby strollers sold in Hong Kong must meet safety standards set by either the EU, the US or the Australian and New Zealand governments. Hui said it would be better if Hong Kong could set up its own regulations taking reference from the three standards.
Capella's S-706 model, sold for HK$2,150 and made in Korea, had gaps or holes of sizes that did not meet the EU standard. It also failed the "bite test", as parts of the stroller were flimsily attached and could be easily bitten off by babies, creating a choking risk.
Its rear-wheel brakes had to be individually activated rather than having one control to activate brakes on both sides. Aprica's Karoon Plus and Combi's Urban Walker Classic also shared this problem.
Aprica and Peg-Perego's Book Plus Sportivo had a faulty safety lock, while Britax's B-Smart and Britax's Affinity failed the bite test.
Chicco's Trio Living Smart, sold for HK$11,998, had gaps or holes that might trap fingers or toes, according to the council's tests, conducted in collaboration with International Consumer Research and Testing.
The Customs and Excise Department said that after receiving the council's report, it had taken samples of six of the seven problematic models for testing.
If any of them breached the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance, the importers, manufacturers or suppliers could face a maximum penalty of a HK$100,000 fine and one year imprisonment.
Capella's agent told the council that the sample used in its test was an old model and that models now for sale complied with US standards.
Chicco's agent said its product complied with European standards and it had submitted reports from three laboratories.
The cheapest model, California Bear's Ellipsa Denim First, was among five recommended by the council, as its performance on the pavement was good and it folded to a small size.