Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 14:46 UK

Pushchair maker Maclaren agrees compensation

By Anna Adams
Interactive Reporter, BBC News

Emilie Hutchings in her pushchair
Emilie Hutchings needed plastic surgery to repair the tip of her finger

UK pushchair manufacturer Maclaren has agreed to compensate children who have been injured in their buggies.

It is thought the move will affect more than 40 children who lost their fingertips in the hinge mechanism of some models of collapsible buggies.

Last November it emerged that 12 US children had suffered fingertip lacerations in Maclaren buggies.

Maclaren said the compensation was not an admission of liability and it took children's safety "very seriously".

Lawyers for the children will meet representatives from Maclaren to decide how much the they will be awarded.

Last year the brand was seriously damaged after it recalled a million buggies in the US following reports that children's fingers had been lacerated.

Protective covers

Hundreds of people contacted the BBC News website about their Maclaren buggies, with more than 40 parents suggesting their children had also lost fingertips in the buggy's hinge.

A month later Maclaren issued customers in the UK with protective hinge covers.

Lawyers for Maclaren have now agreed to pay compensation to all the children who were injured, but said the company would not admit liability.

A spokeswoman said: "We are committed to fully recompense any child who's been genuinely injured by finger entrapment in one of our products. We take the safety of children very seriously.

"We have sold more than a million buggies in the past decade in the UK and have only had around 100 complaints. We feel this issue affects the whole industry and not just Maclaren."

The fact that Maclaren have offered to pay compensation is good news
Richard Langton

Richard Langton of Russell, Jones and Walker, who is representing the families, said he believes the buggies are dangerous.

Some of the cases he is representing date back to 15 years ago.

He said: "New cases are still coming forward every month so Maclaren could be facing hundreds of new claims.

"It's clear to me that if you have 40 children being injured in this country alone in the last few years by a product then it has got to be considered defective.

"The fact that Maclaren have offered to pay compensation is good news, even though they will not admit liability.

"It has made such a difference to so many parents who thought they were to blame."

Lawyers from both sides are meeting today to decide how much the children will be awarded. It is estimated to be between £2,500 and £10,000 each depending on the severity of the injuries.

Emilie Hutchings was just two-and-a-half when she had to have plastic surgery to repair the tip of her finger.

Her mother Sophie Hutchings said: "This is not just about money and it really doesn't matter how much we will get.

"I now feel relieved more than anything else because I blamed myself but I now know it's not my fault."

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