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Britax sued by feds after after jogging stroller injuries

The U.S. government is suing a South Carolina company in an effort to stop it from continuing to sell jogging strollers blamed for at least 97 injuries, including 50 children.

Consumers have filed at least 200 complaints since January 2012 charging the wheels detach from certain models of Britax Child Safety's B.O.B. jogging strollers, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC.

Injuries to children include "a concussion, injuries to the head and face requiring stitches, dental injuries, contusions and abrasions," the agency said Friday in a news release. Adult injuries include bone fractures, torn ligaments, contusions and abrasions. 

The CPSC voted 3-1 to proceed with its complaint after Britax refused to recall or repair the strollers, which the agency said pose "a substantial risk of injury to children and adults." The complaint seeks to make the company halt sales of strollers, and to notify the public and offer to repair, replace or refund the product.

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Britax defended its actions and products in a statement, saying the strollers are safe "when used as instructed." Asked about the reports of injuries from the strollers, a spokesperson called them "rare."

"We never want anyone to get injured while using one of our products, which is why we design, engineer, and test them for safety, and provide detailed instructions and warnings in our User Guides and on our website," Sarah Tilton, the company's director of consumer advocacy, said in an emailed statement.

The front wheel detachments are not due to a defect in the product or design, but involve the quick release mechanism being improperly secured, the company said. It added that getting rid of the quick release would eliminate the feature that makes the product useful.

The design of the strollers allows them to be rolled even if the front wheel is not properly secured. The front wheel can suddenly detach, causing the stroller to tip over, possibly injuring the children riding in the device as well as its adult operator, according to the CPSC.

Britax imported and distributed about 493,000 single and double occupant B.O.B. jogging strollers from December 2011 through September 2015, with an undetermined number imported and distributed by B.O.B. Trailers between 1997 and when it was acquired by Britax in December 2011, the commission said.

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The three-wheel strollers include 17 models: Ironman, Ironman Duallie, Revolution, Revolution CE, Revolution Flex, Revolution Flex Duallie, Revolution Pro, Revolution Pro Duallie, Revolution SE, Revolution SE Demo, Revolution SE Duallie, Revolution SE Duallie Plus, Revolution SE Plus, Sport Utility Stroller, Stroller Strides, Stroller Strides Duallie and SUS Duallie. 

The strollers were sold at mass retailers and independent stores across the U.S. for $400 to $650, and many are believed to now be available in second-hand stores, the CPSC said in its legal filing.

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