Popular strollers with high user-ratings on ProductReview are found to be unsafe in Choice tests

EXCLUSIVE

Parents using Australia’s No.1 user-ratings website to advise them on purchasing a child stroller are putting their children at risk of serious harm, including strangulation.

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News Corp Australia has discovered four of the five top-ranked strollers on productreview.com.au failed safety testing by Australia’s leading product reviewer, Choice.

Four were “not recommended”. The other had not been tested.

Choice defines “not recommended” as meaning “failed at least one major safety or durability test”.

The four reviewed strollers had at least one major safety failure.

Choice said major failures included “strangulation hazards from the harness, head entrapment and tendency to tip over”.

The Maclaren Techno XLR XLR Elite. Picture: Supplied

The BabyZen YoYo. Picture: Supplied

ProductReview managing director Elmar Shar said “user ratings provide a great source of information when choosing the right product but just like with any publication consumers should be looking at multiple sources for information when making a purchasing decision”.

“It’s important to note that productreview.com.au doesn’t simply provide an overall rating for a product but requires users to justify their ratings, and explain any shortcomings a product may have,” Mr Shar added.

Choice would not comment. It recently began soliciting user reviews.

The findings have emerged after US research found user ratings are a “perfect storm of forces that … conspire to create a powerful illusion of validity”.

University of Colorado academics compared user ratings on the websiteAmazon with quality scores from Consumer Reports — the American equivalent of Choice.

An initial study by the academics of 1280 items across 121 product categories found “average user ratings are not very diagnostic of technical quality”.

The UPPAbaby Alta stroller. Picture: Supplied

The Redsbaby Bounce. Picture: Supplied

A second study of printers, cameras, coffee makers, irons, food processor and strollers revealed “consumers think the average user rating is so much more predictive of quality than price” is.

A third study of nearly 38,000 respondents’ brand perceptions for 888 products showed user-rating variability was more determined by the “influence of marketing” than technical quality.

The Rozibaby Pram that also failed a safety test. Picture: Supplied

The academics said “consumers should proceed with much more caution than they do when using reviews to inform their decisions”.

They noted that for a product such as a baby car seat, “attributes of importance to consumers” such as safety “are not readily evaluable” in the time frame within which reviews “are normally written, often days or weeks after purchase”.

Product Review Top five Choice says

Maclaren Techno XLR/XLR Elite Not recommended — failed safety test

BabyZen YoYo Not recommended — failed safety test

UPPAbaby Alta Not recommended — failed safety test

Redsbaby Bounce Not reviewed

Rozibaby Pram Not recommended — failed safety test

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