Breaking News: Bugaboo forced to recall Bee in UK for defective wheels; could US be next?

Breaking news from England today—the Mail reports Bugaboo has halted the sale of the Bee due to defective front wheels, which can cause the stroller to flip over:

A hi-tech baby buggy which sells for more than £400 and is loved by celebrities and style-conscious mothers is at the centre of a safety alert.

Owners of the Bugaboo Bee have been advised that the front wheels could lock without warning, causing it to tip over.

Many parents are unhappy that they have been kept in the dark about the problem and large numbers have taken to online parenting websites to vent their frustration.

According to an announcement posted on Bugaboo’s site late today, the company blamed the problem on a switch in the design of the Bee’s front wheels.

At the end of 2010 we noticed an increase in customer feedback about shimmying Bugaboo Bee front wheels. In order to optimise (sic) the Bugaboo Bee with the intention to prevent this effect, we changed the original metal bearing wheels to plastic bearing wheels early 2011. Research had shown us that by using plastic bearings, more friction was added to the wheels and this stopped the wheels from shimmying.

The first production runs from January 2011 up to and including March 2011 contained plastic bearing swivel wheels that were not up to our quality standards as we established some wheel housings had a flaw. This flaw was instantly corrected in production. At the time we saw that, although not all of the produced Bugaboo Bee strollers were affected, some customers could experience their front wheels may not swivel as they should as a result of this flaw. Those customers were serviced by sending an improved replacement set of wheels, with plastic bearings.

The company then claims the wheel problem didn’t affect the safety of the stroller, but “the latest safety assessment by an independent expert concluded, following further tests, that there is a small chance that the stroller’s front wheels could jam, which could potentially make the stroller tip over.”

We have asked Bugaboo if the wheels on the Bee sold in the US are the same as the UK version. We also asked why, if the company noticed the problem in March, it took until October to recall the strollers? Finally, we asked if the company planned to recall the same strollers in the US. We haven’t heard a reply yet, but if we do, we’ll post that update here.

Meanwhile, Bugaboo is advising owners of the Bee stroller to lock the swivel wheels when in use::

Until a service solution is in place we strongly advise Bugaboo Bee customers to lock the swivel wheels of their Bugaboo Bee when in use. Note that the front wheels will then no longer swivel and will impair the maneuverability of the stroller.

The company is also sending out free replacement front wheels to owners of the Bee. Finally, Bugaboo is stopping the sale of the Bee until the end of October. As we wrote this blog post, however, we noticed the Bee is still for sale on US e-commerce sites like Amazon.

Links: Guardian article.

Do you have a Bugaboo Bee? Have you had any tipping problems with the wheels locking up? Post your comments below.



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