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Prams and strollers: safety guide

0-3 years

Prams and strollers can be very convenient – they let you get out and about with your baby. Here are some tips to help you choose and use prams and strollers safely.

Buying safe prams and strollers: tips

If you’re buying a new pram or stroller, the first thing is to check that it meets the mandatory Australian Standard AS/NZS 2088. Look for the Australian Standards label and ask the retailer if you’re not sure.

Here are more tips to help you make sure you’re buying a safe pram or stroller for your baby:

  • Always look for a strong frame, with easy steering and a strong and secure footrest.
  • Ensure your pram or stroller has a five-point harness that goes around your baby’s waist, over her shoulders and between her legs.
  • Check that the pram or stroller has at least one or more parking brakes, with red parking brake levers.

Using prams and strollers safely: tips

When you’re out and about with your baby in a pram or stroller, a few simple precautions will help keep your little one safe:

  • Always use the safety harness – your child can fall out unless he’s strapped in securely. Let your toddler know that you won’t move off until he’s strapped in.
  • Put bags in the basket underneath the pram to avoid the pram tipping over – don’t hang them over the handles.
  • Carry as little as possible in the carriage. Pillows, for example, can cause instability and pose a suffocation risk.
  • Double-check that any folding mechanisms are securely locked into place to ensure your pram or stroller can’t collapse.
  • Put the wheel brakes on whenever you stop, even on a flat surface, so that a wriggling baby or toddler can’t get the wheels rolling again.

Getting around safely with prams and strollers

With these extra safety tips, you and your child will be good to go:

  • Avoid pushing prams or strollers on rough ground, over curbs and up and down stairs, because this increases the chance of injuries and can cause damage to a pram or stroller.
  • As your child grows and becomes more mobile, teach her not to stand up or lean out of the pram or stroller.
  • Watch for older siblings trying to climb on the pram or stroller, because this can make the pram tip over. Teach older children that it’s one person only in the pram.  
  • Ask someone to help if you’re lifting your pram or stroller onto buses, trains and trams. Hold the handles yourself, and ask the other person to hold the foot of the pram or stroller. Similarly, when you’re getting off, it’s safer if another person can go ahead of you and grab the wheelbase first.
If your baby falls asleep in the pram, either watch him or move him to a cot. It’s dangerous to leave a child unattended in a pram or stroller, even when he’s asleep. He could wriggle and make the pram tip over. This could lead to suffocation or strangulation in the pram’s folds or gaps.

Injuries from prams and strollers

Many children need hospital treatment every year for an injury related to a pram or stroller.

Tipping over is the most common cause of pram-related injuries. Even the sturdiest pram can be in danger of tipping over if you hook heavy bags over the handles.

Runaway prams also cause injuries. Several children in Australia have died after a pram or stroller they were in rolled away.

The types of injuries that have occurred include:

  • falling from the pram and stroller
  • getting fingers or limbs trapped or pinched (or severed, in the case of fingers)
  • strangulation or suffocation if babies become trapped in parts of the pram or stroller
  • death and serious injury if parents or carers lose control of the pram or stroller.
When you stop, check that safety locks are secure and the brakes are on. Wriggling children can start the wheels rolling again, so supervise your child and keep a hand on the pram when your child is in it. When holding the pram, it’s a good idea to use the safety strap.

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Last updated or reviewed
25-10-2016

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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