The other day, we discussed Michael our safety man, his moustache and our onsite test lab. If we’re honest, we cut the blog short – just as we got to the smash-y part of our test lab tour. Sorry. Here we pick up on some of the tests we put our pushchairs through.
We understand how crucial pushchairs are to the daily lives of babies. They are both their main mode of transport and a protective cocoon keeping dangers at bay. If you’re interested in the approaches we take to ensure baby’s safety, please read on. Alternatively, if you enjoy reading about things being hideously misused then it’s quite fun too.
All our new pushchairs are strapped to a “rolling road” which is basically like a massive treadmill, but one that would kill you if you tried to use it for your morning cardio burst. The conveyor belt is set to run for 72,000 cycles over 46 hours. That’s 143 miles in continuous succession, with a variety of different ramps, humps and bumps along the way. However bad the walk to the shop is when you’ve run out of milk, at least it isn’t a two day trek!
This helps us to determine how well our pushchairs stand up to repeated use. It’s fair to say that pushchairs get used a lot, and especially if they double-up for babies 2 and 3, it makes sense that we create ones that last. How practical would Usain Bolt be if he could only reach the end of the driveway before running out of puff?
The pushchairs – like the highchairs and carry cots – are tested with different weights; one for babies of up to 6 months, and one that weights 15kg to represent a small child. Obviously, that’s quite a hefty amount, but it’s best to push the products to the absolute limit, in order to make sure they can withstand almost anything.
One of the machines we saw, involved a mechanical arm pull a pushchair up and down a flight of stairs, repeatedly. Granted, it wasn’t the most interesting thing to watch, but it certainly helped emphasise just want pressure buggies, prams and pushchairs come under. We’d be impressed if you managed to drag a pushchair plus 15kg weight up and down stairs 10,000 times, but even if you did, we’d be certain our products could withstand it.
Another instrument of torture piece of equipment is used to test how safe babies are when a buggy is rotated 360 degrees. Now, we don’t expect you to be overcome with the desire to start throwing your baby and their Urbo2 around, but if you did, you could be certain your little one would stay firmly in place.
For any Top Gear fans, our test centre has its own version of the test track. Granted it isn’t 2 miles long and you won’t catch The Stig manning one of our Armadillos, but we do have a ramp that checks the strength of pushchair brakes. By letting the chair roll down the ramp towards its impending doom then applying the brakes, we can accurately judge how successful they are at stopping. This is repeated several times with a range of varying factors to insure maximum efficiency.
The final test we viewed involved strapping a pushchair to a metal frame then hanging weights off the wheels. It’s the closest we’ve ever come to watching Saw recreated with baby products, but the results were incredible. 45kgs was suspended from the wheel, then it was spun a number of times in 12 second cycles. We watched this from behind a screen for fear of ending up with tiny bits of tyre embedded in us, but would you believe it? It survived!
While a force of that magnitude (get us using big words!) is hardly likely to impact on a wheel in that way, Michael and the safety team operate on a ‘worst case scenario’ policy. This means that, ever the pessimists, they can prepare for all eventualities. They might be a glass-half-empty lot but you can trust them with your life.
So next time you take baby out for a stroll, spare a thought for your pushchair and the hardships it has faced in the name of safety. For a look at our collections, click here.
Tomorrow, we’ll be looking at what we do to cots. It isn’t pretty…