T HIS is the agonised face of local toddler Caitlin O’Hare shortly after the 20-month-old girl lost the tip of a finger in the mechanism of her buggy.
Her father, John, has let us use this distressing picture in order to warn other parents of the extreme danger of a popular make of pram recalled by its makers a year and a half ago, but which is still causing serious injuries to babies and toddlers.
Last Thursday, Caitlin caught four of her fingers in a gap between a plastic safety cover and a metal mechanism on her pram. Alerted by her screams, John and his partner rushed the toddler to hospital where it was found that one of her fingers had been so badly crushed that the tip was effectively gone. The nature of the injury meant the fingertip could not be reattached and the distraught couple say doctors have told them that the finger is so badly damaged that it is unlikely to regenerate itself. Pram makers Silver Cross recalled the ‘Halo’ model that caused Caitlin’s injury in January 2011, citing concerns about the component that caused Caitlin’s injury. Although Caitlin’s parents had bought the pram two months before the recall, they heard and knew nothing about the danger.
It’s believed that the faulty part has caused injuries to ten children in Ireland and the UK, ranging from lost fingernails to broken bones and severed fingertips. A local father has hit out after his child lost her fingertip in the mechanism of a pram that was recalled 18 months ago by the manufacturer after other children suffered similar injuries.
John O’Hare says Silver Cross, makers of the pram, made no effort to contact him or his partner to highlight the danger of their ‘Halo’ model that has injured a number of children.
After he brought the injury to his 20-month old daughter Caitlin to their attention, the company offered to replace the pram – an offer John has flatly and angrily refused
“Last Thursday, I brought the Caitlin out in her pram,” he explained. “When we came back I was pushing her up the hall when she started squealing at the top of her lungs. I was looking at her but couldn’t figure out what was wrong, then I saw she had four fingers caught in a gap on the side of the pram.
“Her fingers were caught between a bar and plastic that was screwed in and I couldn’t get her hand out so I just ripped the entire piece off and then I saw her wee fingers were covered in blood. She was bleeding heavily and I could see there was a problem with the fingertip of her ring finger.
“I rang 999 and waited for the ambulance. I tried to soothe Caitlin but I could see her fingertip had been crushed in the mechanism of the pram.”
When Caitlin was examined at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, the news her anxious parents received was not positive.
“She got x-rayed and treated and a plastic surgeon came and told us it was unlikely that Caitlin’s fingertip would regenerate, given the severity of the injury,” said John.
Later, John and his partner did some internet research and were shocked to discover that the pram that had injured their child had been recalled by Silver Cross.
“We later checked online and realised that this model of pram had actually been recalled in January 2011, two months after we got ours, but no attempt was ever made to contact us to let us know,” said John.
“At least nine other children around the world have been injured by this model of pram in the same way as Caitlin and still nobody contacted us to let us know it’s faulty.
“Earlier this year, one of the pram legs was damaged and a Silver Cross representative fixed it – even then we weren’t alerted to the danger with these prams.”
John says he and his partner have been left shocked and upset, especially given the unpromising prognosis of the plastic surgeon.
“We are very angry that we were never told about the recall and that no effort was made to contact us,” he said. “I was on the manufacturer’s website and that’s the only place I’ve seen info about the recall I rang them and they apologised, but what good is an apology when my little girl has lost the tip of her finger?
“Ten kids down the line, the manufacturer should be making much more of an effort to alert people about this fault. We want to make sure Caitlin is the last child to suffer like this, it’s just not acceptable.”