Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

parents, kids and strollers

Parents push their children in baby strollers near the U.S. Capitol during a 'Strolling Thunder' event May 2, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

'Cartoonishly Evil': After Kids and Parents Injured, Trump Commissioners Stepped in to Thwart Stroller Recall

"This administration even sides in favor of corporations against babies in strollers."

Jessica Corbett

In a "cartoonishly evil" move that critics warned could set a worrying precedent for corporate regulation, the Washington Post reported Tuesday that Trump appointees at the Consumer Product Safety Commission blocked a recall of jogging strollers that agency staff believed had injured both adults and children.

"Beyond the TV headlines, this is the damage that the Trump administration is doing," tweeted Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) "It's simply heartless."

"The crashes were brutal," the Post reported, citing government documents about the investigation into Britax Child Safety's BOB strollers, as well as interviews with former and current commission employees. As the newspaper outlined:

With no warning, the front wheel on the three-wheeled BOB jogging strollers fell off, causing the carriages to careen and even flip over. Adults shattered bones. They tore ligaments. Children smashed their teeth. They gashed their faces. One child bled from his ear canal.

Commission staffers, according to the Post, "collected 200 consumer-submitted reports from 2012 to 2018 of spontaneous failure of the stroller wheel, which is secured to a front fork by a quick-release lever, like on a bicycle. Nearly 100 adults and children were injured."

In 2017, the agency requested that Britax voluntarily recall nearly 500,000 BOB strollers—but the company refused, prompting the commission to file a lawsuit to force a recall in February of 2018.

"As Republicans assumed day-to-day control of the agency, eventually earning a majority on the agency's oversight commission for the first time in more than a decade," the Post explained, "the agency's Republican chairwoman kept Democratic commissioners in the dark about the stroller investigation and then helped end the case in court."

In November, Britax and the commission reached a settlement "approved by a 3-to-2 commission vote reflecting the new Republican majority," under which the company would offer replacement parts or discounts to certain consumers, and launch an public safety information campaign, but not a recall.

Britax, in a statement announcing the lawsuit's resolution, reiterated that "BOB jogging strollers are safe when used as instructed and we stand behind the quality of our brand." The company put out a safety video in January.

In an unusual dissent (pdf), the agency's two Democratic commissioners, Robert Adler and Elliot Kaye, denounced the notice that Britax intended to share with consumers as "aggressively misleading." Kaye also told the Post, "Information campaigns are usually garbage."

Consumer advocacy groups Kids in Danger (KID) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) were also critical. In a joint statement after the announcement, they said the settlement "is vastly too weak and fails to protect consumers."

Warning that the deal set "a bad precedent," KID executive director Nancy Cowles explained that "time limits on safety campaigns and corrective actions that aren't called recalls will limit attention from consumers, and consumers with older products will be prevented from participating in the limited replacement program."

Critics worry this isn't just one "sickening" case of President Donald Trump's administration prioritizing corporate interests over those of the public. As the Post pointed out, both the Democratic commissioners and consumer advocates are concerned the process with Britax will "become a model for settling future product disputes."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden Urged to Fire Covid Response Chief Over 'Damning' Failures

"Zients has failed to provide the materials necessary to improve the U.S. response, or the guidance necessary to keep the pandemic under control," argued one critic.

Jake Johnson ·


As Sinema Defends Filibuster, Progressives Say 'Vote Her the Hell Out'

"The filibuster is a meaningless Senate rule. It's a remnant of slavery used to block civil rights for generations."

Jake Johnson ·


Poor People's Campaign Readies 'Massive, Nonviolent' Effort to Save Democracy

"We are not in this for a moment, but for a movement," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. "Our deadline is victory."

Jake Johnson ·


Tsunami Triggered by Huge Volcanic Eruption Hits Tonga

The undersea volcano's eruption also sparked tsunami warnings for Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, and the West Coast of the United States.

Common Dreams staff ·


Sanders Says Manchin and Sinema Are Imperiling US Democracy

"It is a sad day when two members of the Democratic Caucus are prepared to allow the Freedom to Vote Act to fail and undermine the future of American democracy."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo