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How do I know if my baby's push chair is safe?

The safety standard covers all aspects of the push chair from when it is manufactured. However, the way you use and care for the push chair after it has been bought, affects its safety too. You should always be aware of safety factors and check the chair regularly for possible problems.

The brakes should be in good working order. Always use them to bring the push chair to a halt and make sure that they stop smoothly and efficiently. The state of the wheels has an influence on the performance of the brakes. The wheels should not be damaged or running skew.

Check all locking devices on the push chair. If you have a collapsible buggy, there should be a main and a secondary lock. The secondary lock must be used to keep the chair up, once the main lock has been released. This will prevent the chair from collapsing immediately. Make sure that your child cannot operate the locks while sitting in the push chair. When you collapse the chair, ensure that your child's hands or fingers won't get caught in the frame. Some push chairs have wheels that are attached via a locking system. Make sure the wheels are secure before every journey.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions when collapsing, folding and storing the push chair. Do not let children play with it. If you are using a pram and your baby is old enough to sit upright, you need to use a harness to keep them secured inside the pram. Without it, they can climb out, or can fall out when you traverse kerbs or steep inclines. All-terrain push chairs usually have a five-point harness. Most buggies have a harness that crosses the shoulders and crotch. In both cases, the harnesses must be used every time you transport your child in the push chair. Harnesses can be retro-fitted if your push chair does not have a standard one fitted.

The push chair should always be stable. Rather pack your shopping on a bottom rack, than in a bag on the back of the push chair. Altering the push chair's centre of gravity to a higher point will make it more prone to falling over.

To make sure that your push chair complies with safety standards and is a genuine product, it should be clearly labelled to show its compliance. The name, identification and trademark of the manufacturer, retailer, or distributor should be present. The number and date of a recognised standard should also appear, e.g. for British Standards, and example is 'BS7409: 1996'.

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