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Consumer advice information

Buying a pram or pushchair - what you should know

In the guide

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

When you buy a pram or a pushchair from a trader you are making a legally binding contract, which is covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This law gives you rights and remedies against the trader if the pram or pushchair fails to meet your expectations, possibly because it is faulty.

Manufacturers and retailers have a duty under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 to supply products, both new and second-hand, that are safe in normal or reasonably foreseeable use. There are European Union-wide standards for safety that cover many products; the relevant safety standard for prams and pushchairs is BS EN 1888: Child care articles. Wheeled child conveyances. Safety requirements and test methods. In addition, prams and pushchairs must comply with the fire resistance requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.

Style, features and price will be important to you when you are deciding whether to buy your new or second-hand pram or pushchair, but it is also important to carry out visual safety checks.

How can you tell if a pram or pushchair is safe?

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 place a duty on manufacturers and retailers to supply products, both new and second-hand, that are safe for consumers when used in a normal or reasonably foreseeable way. The characteristics of a product (how it is made, packaging and any instructions for assembly), the effect of the product on other products it is used with, its presentation (labelling, warnings and any instructions for use and disposal) and the types of consumers using the product are all important factors when deciding if a product is safe.

One of the ways a product can be judged as being safe is if it complies with a relevant safety standard. In the case of prams and pushchairs, the safety standard is BS EN 1888. This sets out the safety requirements related to the types of material used in manufacture, construction, parking, folding, the locking device and the safety harness. There are tests for, amongst other things, entrapment hazards, sharp points and detachable parts, a bite test to check the accessibility of the foam on the bumper bar, handling and impact testing.

Prams and pushchairs should be permanently labelled to show that they conform to the safety standard; labels can usually be found on the frame or on the seat pad. You should also look for a label with the name, the trademark or other means of identification of the UK manufacturer, distributor or retailer. The Regulations state that clear essential warnings and safety information must be provided.

What about fire resistance?

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 set levels of fire resistance and apply, amongst other things, to upholstered products designed to contain a baby or small child, such as prams or pushchairs. The fire resistance requirements of the regulations apply to new and used prams and pushchairs. New prams and pushchairs should have a prominent and clearly visible label attached to them at the point of sale, stating that they meet the requirements of the Regulations. They should also carry a permanent securely attached label giving the manufacturer or importer's name and postcode and a description of the filling and a description of the coverings. It must also include the caution 'CARELESSNESS CAUSES FIRE'. Check for the permanent label on both new and used prams and pushchairs. If they do not have one, it must be assumed that they do not meet the requirements of the Regulations.

What should you look out for when buying a pram or pushchair?

If a pram or pushchair has been damaged or modified, it may no longer be safe. Before making your purchase:

  • ensure that it does not have areas such as open-ended tubes, crevices or closing mechanisms where a child's fingers could become trapped
  • make sure there are no exposed or accessible sharp edges, points or burrs sharp enough to inflict a wound or abrasion
  • check that the parking brake works and that it holds the pram or pushchair (without movement) on a slope
  • check to make sure the primary and secondary locking devices on a folding chassis work properly
  • check for the presence of a safety harness, which should comprise shoulder, front waist and crotch straps. It should be secure and in good condition
  • check the harness anchorage points to ensure they are secure and in good condition
  • the wheels should be secure and show no signs of damage
  • ensure that the pram or pushchair is rigid and stable
  • check the weight limit and buy the correct one for the weight of your child
  • look for signs that the chassis hasn't been bent by heavy impact with kerbs or stairs, or by overloading with shopping etc
  • make sure that it is clean and in good condition, indicating that it has been well looked after
  • check to see if the instructions are included
  • open and fold it and if it is a pram that converts to a pushchair ask for a demonstration as to how to convert it
  • check any separate components and ensure they fit
  • 'road test' the pram or pushchair to make sure you are happy with the 'feel' of it before you decide to buy

What are your legal rights?

It is an important element of a contract that the trader must give you specific pre-contract information as set out in the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. The 'Buying from business premises - on-premises contracts explained', 'Buying by internet, phone & mail order - distance contracts explained' and 'Buying at home - off-premises contracts explained' guides explain what these pre-contract requirements are. If a trader does not provide the required information, you can make a claim to have your costs reimbursed (if you have any).

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 sets out what you are entitled to expect from the pram or pushchair supplied by a trader. These are commonly referred to as your 'statutory rights'. The law also gives you remedies against the trader if they fail to meet your expectations.

Key rights:

  • the trader must have the right to supply the pram or pushchair to you - for example, they have to actually own it to legally sell it to you
  • the pram or pushchair must be of satisfactory quality. The description, price, condition of the pram or pushchair, fitness for purpose, appearance and finish, safety, durability and freedom from minor defects are all important factors when considering quality. Public statements, such as those in advertising or on labelling, made by the trader, the producer or their representative about the pram or pushchair, must be accurate and can also be taken into account when deciding if it is of satisfactory quality
  • if you make a trader aware that you want the pram or pushchair to be fit for a particular purpose (even if it is something that it is not usually supplied for) then you have the right to expect it is fit for that purpose - for example, if you want a pushchair that you can run with and you tell the trader this, then the one supplied should be fit for that purpose
  • you have the right to expect that the pram or pushchair is as described - for example, does it have all the features claimed?
  • if you see or examine a sample, then the pram or pushchair must match the sample - for example, if you chose a specific material based on a sample book then it has to match
  • if you see or examine a model, then the pram or pushchair must match the model - for example, the boxed version that you are supplied with must be the same as the one you examined

Key remedies:

  • short term right to reject the pram or pushchair and obtain a full refund
  • right to a repair or replacement
  • right to a price reduction or a final right to reject the pram or pushchair

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 does not entitle you to anything if:

  • you were told of any faults before you bought the pram or pushchair
  • the fault was obvious and it would have been reasonable to have noticed it on examination before buying it
  • you caused any damage yourself
  • you made a mistake, for example you ordered the wrong colour
  • you have changed your mind about the pram or pushchair or seen it cheaper elsewhere

The 'Sale & supply of goods - your consumer rights' guide gives more information on your rights and which remedy you are entitled to.

Do you have any rights when you buy a second-hand pram or pushchair?

Yes. You have the same rights when you are supplied with a second-hand pram or pushchair as you do when you are supplied with a new one. However, because it has been used you should be realistic and have different, possibly lower, expectations when deciding if it is of satisfactory quality. Check the pram or pushchair thoroughly before you buy; you may not be entitled to make a claim for it not being of satisfactory quality if it is something you ought to have discovered or that was pointed out to you beforehand.

What about your guarantee?

There are rules that apply when a trader or a manufacturer offers a free guarantee with the pram or pushchair that is supplied to you.

So what is a guarantee? This is a statement given by a trader or a manufacturer that the pram or pushchair will meet certain standards and if it does not, you will be entitled to claim a refund, replacement or repair.

There is no obligation on a trader or a manufacturer to offer a guarantee but if they do so, it is legally binding. For example, if a trader refuses to repair the pram or pushchair when the guarantee states that they will do so, the trader may be in breach of contract and you can make a claim. This might be for the cost of getting it repaired elsewhere. The 'Guarantees & warranties' guide gives more information on these rules.

Do you have the same rights when a pram or pushchair is in a sale?

Yes, but if the pram or pushchair is reduced in price because of a fault and it was brought to your attention before you bought it or if you examined it and should have spotted the fault, then you would not be entitled to a remedy from the trader for that particular fault.

Do you have the same protection when buying privately or online?

The general rule is 'let the buyer beware' when you buy from a private seller, as you do not have the same legal rights as you do when buying from a trader. You are entitled to expect that the private seller has 'good title' to the pram or pushchair (which means that the seller owns it) and that it is 'as described'. You do not have the right to expect that the pram or pushchair is of satisfactory quality or fit for its purpose unless the seller informed you that it was. This also applies if you buy from a private seller online or through an internet auction.

If you decide to buy a pram or pushchair from a trader by distance means, such as from a website, you have the same legal rights as you have when buying from a trader's premises. The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 give you extra protection because the contract you enter into is concluded at a distance and without face-to-face contact. You have the right to cancel most 'distance' contracts and the cancellation period is 14 days. The 'Buying by internet, phone & mail order - distance contracts explained' guide gives more information.

An 'internet auction' describes a website that allows people to buy and sell goods and includes competitive bidding. As a buyer, you should:

  • familiarise yourself with the websites. Read all relevant terms and conditions, especially those that explain what you can do if things go wrong
  • you will probably need to register before you can buy
  • establish whether the seller is a trader or a private individual
  • find out as much as you can about the seller / trader before committing yourself to buying the pram or pushchair. Read reviews if there are any
  • research the pram or pushchair you are considering buying before going ahead
  • find out what the collection, delivery and payment arrangements are

You have the same legal rights when buying from a trader at an internet auction as you have when buying from their premises. The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 also apply to internet auctions. You may have the right to cancel a purchase from a trader if you change your mind, regardless of whether it is sold through the auction or via 'buy it now'.

Do you have any more protection?

If the pram or pushchair does not 'conform to the contract' - for example, it is faulty - you can make a claim for breach of contract under 'common law' (this is case law that has been decided by judges in a court) as well as or instead of using your legal remedies. You might be able to seek damages (financial compensation) or specific performance (the court requires the trader to carry out the contract) or to decline payment because of the breach of contract. It may be easier to use your statutory rights as these are written in law.

If you enter a contract because a trader misled you or because a trader used an aggressive commercial practice, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 give you rights to redress: the right to unwind the contract, the right to a discount and the right to damages. The 'Misleading & aggressive practices - your rights to redress' guide gives more information. You can report complaints about unfair trading practices to the Citizens Advice consumer service for referral to trading standards.

If you paid for the pram or pushchair on finance arranged by a trader, or if you paid using your credit card and it cost more than £100 but less than £30,000, you have rights under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Section 75 of the Act makes the finance / card provider as responsible as the trader for a breach of contract or misrepresentation. This could include supplying a faulty pram or pushchair, non-delivery or making false claims about it. You are entitled to take action against the trader, the finance / card provider or both. If you are unhappy with the finance / card provider's response then you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

If you use a debit card to buy the pram or pushchair or if you use a credit card and the price of the item is less that £100 (your rights under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 would not apply) you may be able to take advantage of the chargeback scheme. Chargeback is the term used by card providers for reclaiming a card payment from the trader's bank. If you provide evidence of a breach of contract (such as the pram or pushchair not being delivered, is faulty or the trader has ceased trading) you can ask your card provider to attempt to recover the payment. Check with your card provider as to how the scheme rules apply to your card, whether internet transactions are covered and what the time limit is for making a claim.

If you use a debit card or a credit card to service an online payment system that you used to buy the pram or pushchair, it is unlikely that you will be able to use either the Consumer Credit Act 1974 or the chargeback scheme to claim from your card provider in the event of a dispute. However, the online payment system may have its own dispute resolution process, which may assist you in getting your problem resolved.

What to do if things go wrong?

This guide gives you information on the rights you have and the remedies you are entitled to. The 'Sale & supply of goods - what to do if things go wrong' guide explains the practical steps you can take when complaining to a trader about a pram or pushchair.

Key legislation

Last reviewed / updated: May 2017

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.

The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.

For further information please contact the Citizens Advice consumer service, which provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit the Citizens Advice website or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.

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The county council is not responsible for this information.