In case I haven’t harped on about it enough, we live in a fourth floor flat, which is one thing when you’ve got an independent three year old who can walk, but quite another when you’ve got said independent three year old AND a baby. Which is asleep in the car seat. And shopping. And wellington boots the independent three year old discarded in the hallway downstairs…you get the picture. It’s amazing what you can hold between your teeth.
Needless to say there was no asking twice when MadeforMums asked me to review Mountain Buggy’s lightweight offering. In a totally unscientific experiment involving my bathroom scales, the rear facing car seat weighs 3.3kg compared to our Maxi Cosi Cabriofix’s 4.1kg, which is great news for my poor hips when lugging thing up in the lift.
It fits the MB Mini, Swift, Terrain, Duet and Cosmopolitan strollers, and at £129 the car seat and Isofix base (£69) come boxed and ready to go while the Mini (rrp £349.99) can be assembled in a few easy steps using picture instructions. It took me just 10 minutes to unpack the pushchair and car seat, and less than five minutes to install the Isofix base in our Peugeot 208.
This is a really good piece of kit – although the car seat can also be secured using a seat belt, with the Isofix base the car seat simply clicks in and out of the base, making it securely anchored to the seat of the car.
However, if you’re planning to put the car seat and Mini together to use as a travel system you’ll need one vital piece of equipment: the car seat adaptors, which cost an additional £29 (I hate it when they do that).
Adjusting the straps of the car seat to fit your baby is a bit fiddly – in order to remove the newborn insert and adjust the crotch harness you have to tease a metal strap through the base, something I wouldn’t recommend doing with newly polished nails.
Once you’ve got all the straps where you need them strapping the baby in and taking them out is easy peasy. You simply put two halves of the buckle together and click them in place, and release them by clicking again. Like Britax and Maxi Cosi, loosening the straps involves pushing a button in the base to release, and pulling a cord in the base to tighten them again.
With high side impact protection the car seat is really deep and as a result seems really safe, and because of its depth the sun canopy, which is really sturdy, offers good cover and protection.
Transferring the car seat from the car onto the Mini is also easy peasy. The car seat adaptors literally snap onto the side of the chassis, and you simply pop the car seat on top of them until you hear a click. You release it by depressing a button on either side of the seat.
Ironically, the Mini stroller is anything but mini so don’t be fooled by the name. I was surprised at the size of it, especially the length, which took a bit of getting used to when navigating shop doorways and getting on the bus. Having said that, at 8kg it is surprisingly light and easy to manoeuvre, so easy in fact that I had to make sure I was wearing the safety wrist strap at all times because it had a habit of rolling off by itself when I stopped on sloped curbs to cross the road.
Given that the Mini is supposed to hold a child up to 20kg it has a very shallow seat – at 18cms it measures much less than the usual 24 cms. At just three months old Little B slipped off several times when I was trying to strap him in (admittedly he was wreathing around at the time, but babies do) and I imagine this would become more of a problem the bigger the baby gets.
While the ‘puncture proof’ tyres are a bonus they offer no cushioning or shock absorbency whatsoever compared to air-filled tyres. Little B (and me) felt every bump we went over when in transit in the Mini itself, and I found myself steering round the raised dotted sections on curbs at road crossings to avoid making it an even bumpier ride.
For an older baby I don’t think this would be an issue, but for a newborn who can’t hold their head up it is certainly a factor to consider. That said, if you’re using the Mini with the car seat attached this isn’t an issue because the car seat is so well padded.
The seat might be shallow but the foot rest is ample, with plenty of room for your baby to grow. The sun/rain canopy is another bonus – it has a sturdy frame which will withstand strong wind and a good sized mesh window through which you can see your baby.
My verdict: I love the car seat, but not the Mini. Sorry Mountain Buggy.
You can find my review over at MadeforMums by clicking here
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