The current Australian standard for strollers doesn't specifically cover seat attachments, so we based our tests on appropriate clauses within the standard.
How we tested
We purchased three seat attachments to fit three-wheel strollers from our recent stroller test — the CHILDCARE Trio-sport, PHIL & TEDS E3 V2 and STEELCRAFT Swivelrite Deluxe — and assessed them for safety and ease of use. With the extra seat attached, these strollers can accommodate a baby and a toddler, or two toddlers.
All the seats were easy to attach to the stroller and detach again, but otherwise the results were disappointing. We can't fully recommend any of them, but two are worth considering despite some minor problems. These were the CHILDCARE Trio Toddler Seat 013702-002 and the STEELCRAFT Swivelrite Deluxe Toddler Seat 36815. Both had potential finger or limb entrapments, though these are not very likely to pose a hazard.
The third seat, however, poses potential safety hazards to a child in it. This was the PHIL & TEDS E3 Double Kit E3DK11 V2. It has two possible configurations for the extra seat: the sibling configuration (for a toddler and a baby) with the extra seat in front of the reclined normal seat, and the double configuration (for two toddlers) with the extra seat behind the upright normal seat. We found a number of problems with this seat, in addition to potential finger traps:
- The harness strap adjusters slipped too much under stress, and the buckles could be removed. The manufacturer is addressing this by bar-tacking the buckle straps so the buckles won't slide off so easily and by investigating new strap material with better grip
- In the double configuration the stroller can tip backwards if the rear seat is occupied when the front seat is empty. The manufacturer warns not to do this, but we are still concerned that this could easily happen in practice
- In the sibling configuration, the fittings that attach the seat to the stroller broke under stress. The manufacturer says they've not seen this failure in their testing (to British and European standards) but are investigating ways to strengthen the seat fittings
- Our greatest concern was that in the double configuration, the child in the rear seat is close to the wheels. We are concerned they could access the moving wheels or the brake lever. The manufacturer says they've designed the seat such that this is not possible when the child is properly restrained, but is considering adding wheel guards to the stroller design
This last hazard assessment was backed up by a recent complaint to us from a consumer who owns this model PHIL & TEDS stroller plus toddler seat. Their child in the rear seat, even though properly harnessed, was able to reach the wheels while the stroller was in motion, unfortunately resulting in an unpleasant friction burn on the child's arm. The injury could have been even worse if the child's hand had been caught in the wheel spokes. Until this problem is fixed, we think this seat attachment is potentially dangerous and should not be on sale.