Padded and stable. New Maclaren strollers now come with protective hinge covers to protect fingers during folding and unfolding. Reviewers and parents say that the Maclaren Triumph is easy to push and stable on even surfaces. Due to the Triumph's light weight, the stroller will tip if heavy bags are hung from the handles. It has one-touch, linked brakes. The Triumph was recalled in November 2009 after reports that 12 children had their fingers amputated in Maclaren hinges. The recall was reissued in 2011 due to additional reports of amputations. Since the recall, Maclaren has been sued for damages by several of the families impacted. The company's bankruptcy filing named the families in its list of creditors, placing their claims against the company in limbo. Maclaren has been accused of filing for the bankruptcy under false pretenses to avoid paying damages for injuries and amputations.
Simple fold and unfold. Experts and owners alike say the Maclaren Triumph is easy to use in every area. It has a smooth, one-handed fold and unfolds easily as well. It locks automatically when folded, making it easy to carry with the included, detachable shoulder strap. The recline is now one-handed as well (as of the 2011 model) with a buckle and strap mechanism that reviewers say is easy to use, although one expert says it takes some getting used to. The brakes engage easily with the touch of a button.
Not many features for the price. The Maclaren Triumph reclines to accommodate babies as young as 3 months and offers a high, 55-pound weight rating. One expert reviewer says it has a very roomy seat, great for an older or bigger child. The Triumph does not have an adjustable leg rest and some parents say the seat design allows babies' legs to hang uncomfortably against the end of the seat. The Triumph has a small under-seat basket, but cup holders have to be purchased separately. The basket can't be accessed when the stroller is reclined. The Triumph comes with a rain cover included, but parents and expert reviewers say the canopy only offers partial coverage.
The Triumph has a padded seat for comfort and to absorb road shock from the small, 5-inch wheels; however, it does not have a suspension system, so the ride may feel bumpy -- all the more reason not to use it for very young infants. One reviewer notes that the Triumph does pretty well on grass and playground mulch. The front wheels lock for stability.
Maclaren may be on shaky ground. A number of credible sources say Maclaren was aware of the amputation risk prior to the 2009 recall. Meaning, they could have fixed it faster and placed fewer children at risk. Further, Maclaren initially responded to the recall defensively, saying they clearly stated on instructions that children should not be around the stroller unattended, an argument that angered parents for implying, as it did, that they were to blame. Finally, the bankruptcy filing impeded families from effectively suing for damages. One very reliable product review source downgraded Maclaren from an "A" to an "F" rating after reports that the bankruptcy was a fraudulent filing to avoid paying damages to families of injured children. In addition, since the bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 7, there is the chance that Maclaren could be dissolved, putting long-term customer service in question.
Due to issues with credibility, we are not recommending any strollers in the Maclaren line. While the Triumph hinge issue has been remedied, there is too much uncertainty with this manufacturer at this time for us to suggest purchasing a Maclaren stroller.
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1. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Review Credibility: Excellent This government website publishes official information about the Maclaren hinge recall, including which models are affected and how to get protective hinge covers if you already own a Maclaren stroller.
Review: Additional Fingertip Amputations and Lacerations Prompt Reannouncement of November 2009 Recall of Strollers by Maclaren USA, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Feb. 22, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent This article reports on the Maclaren bankruptcy filing of December 2011 and examines the effect it will have on the amputees' ability to collect compensation.
Review: Maclaren Bankruptcy Puts Amputated Finger Lawsuits in Limbo, Alice Hines, March 6, 2012
3. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent The 2011 edition of "Baby Bargains," written by consumer advocates Denise and Alan Fields, covers a variety of stroller manufacturers. The authors provide overall ratings for brands and for individual models. Their reviews take into account parent feedback and personal research and experiences. In the latest edition, they discuss Maclaren in detail and the Triumph specifically. There is updated information, based upon more recent developments in the bankruptcy, on their website.
Review: Chapter 9: Strollers, Diaper Bags, Carriers and Other To Go Gear, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good Hollie Schultz gives the 2011 Maclaren Triumph a thorough review using a 21-month-old and a 4-year-old. She notes positive changes from previous years, including hinge covers and a strap and buckle recline. She has nothing negative to say about the Triumph, and says it's a good, basic, lightweight stroller for ages 3 months and up, and especially for bigger toddlers.
Review: Baby Gizmo Maclaren Triumph 2011 Stroller Review, Hollie Schultz, April 3, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good There are about a dozen reviews for the Maclaren Triumph on Amazon.com, which give it an average rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars. Positive comments include maneuverability and lightness; negative comments include lack of full seat recline and small wheels.
Review: Maclaren Triumph Stroller, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2012
Review Credibility: Good The editors of ConsumerReports.org evaluate dozens of traditional and other strollers after testing for safety, ease of use and maneuverability. The Maclaren Triumph is included in the ratings chart. The report seems very outdated, with a number of discontinued models.
Review: Traditional Stroller Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Review Credibility: Fair This review by Robin Elise Weiss, About.com's guide to pregnancy and childbirth, is highly positive and not comparative. There is no mention of the recall, implying that it may be an older review. She gives the Maclaren Triumph a 5-star rating and calls it "an amazingly light weight stroller," but it's not clear whether or not she actually tested it. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Maclaren Stroller - Triumph, Robin Elise Weiss, Not dated
Review Credibility: Fair Baby-Gaga.com reviews strollers according to safety, convenience and comfort, based on hands-on tests and parent interviews. Editors say the Maclaren Triumph just misses being "the perfect lightweight stroller" because it doesn't recline flat enough to accommodate a newborn. Unfortunately, this site loses credibility as the reviews become increasingly outdated, are never updated and cover far too many discontinued strollers.
Review: Untitled, Editors of Baby-Gaga.com, Jan. 25, 2011