Consumer Reports has removed its "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" designation from a stroller it tested last year after finding that a newer model did not pose the same safety risks. In earlier tests, we found that the positioning of the grab bar on the Mutsy Evo stroller posed a strangulation hazard if the child was not harnessed. The Consumer Product Safety Commission agreed and announced the stroller's recall in February. But a newer model, which offers more clearance between the bar and the seat, corrected the flaw and in our second round of tests we rated the stroller very good overall.
The recalled models of the Mutsy Evo, including those we purchased at retail for our tests, posed a strangulation hazard related to a removable grab bar that attached above the child's legs. When an unharnessed child was placed in the stroller with the grab bar in its normal use position, the opening between the bar and the seat surface was wide enough to allow the child's torso to pass through but not wide enough to accommodate the child's head. As a result, the child could become caught on the bar, potentially resulting in asphyxiation. This hazard, known as "submarining", exists only if the child is not strapped into the stroller, a real-world possibility.
The Mutsy Evo models in the recall include about 340 Evo strollers manufactured between February 2012 and November 2012 with the following model numbers: MT12-03, MT12-11, MT12-14, MT12-31, MT12-34, MT12-37, MT12-39, MT12-42, MT12-43 and MT12-48. The model number and date code can be found underneath the stroller seat on a white sticker. The recalled stroller was sold in juvenile product stores nationwide and on websites, including Amazon.com, between April 2012 and December 2012.
The model we purchased for our more recent tests, the Mutsy Evo MT13-06, has a manufacture date of January 2013 and a date code of 01-2013. The strollers come with black or silver-colored metal frames and in a variety of fabric colors including brown, navy blue, black and white.
The Mutsy Evo, $400, performs on par with some other combination strollers—a hybrid consisting of the stroller chassis and either a reversible stroller seat or a carrycot/ bassinet option. A very good performer, the Evo was easy to use and had excellent maneuverability—a big plus when you're trying to get out of a tight spot in a busy store or sidewalk. Its adjustable handle makes it easy for people of varying heights to comfortably push the stroller. A potential downside: You could find lifting the 26-pound Musty Evo a challenge If you're petite or your vehicle has a high trunk, like the ones on a typical SUV.
In December, we also judged the iCandy Cherry IC124 stroller a "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" because it had the same hazard as the Musty Evo. An iCandy representative told us that the company was withdrawing that stroller from the U.S. market so we were not able to find a model for retesting.
Good news for parents: We found a number of winners in our tests of strollers including single traditional, umbrella and combination strollers, car-seat carriers, and double side-by-sides and tandems. Our top stroller picks range in price from $60 to $525 depending on what style you choose.