Baby Wheels

Choosing a pushchair is a mind blowing experience. Buying a car has nothing on it. Possibly because most of us have ridden in a lot of cars and have some sort of idea about what we’re going to use our car for. A pram, pushchair or travel system is an entirely new concept. Everyone tells you to make a list of your requirements, but how can you honestly know what you need your pushchair to be able to do when you’ve never had one, much less one with your baby in it, before. It takes a lot of research to get to grips with how pushchairs work and what you might need from it.

I’ll own up now: I did a lot of research. It is a confusing and mind boggling world, but I actually had a good idea about the sort of pram I wanted long before we were even trying to conceive. Sad, huh? Well, maybe. But I notice prams and pushchairs everywhere. I’m far more likely to be checking out what sort of pram someone is pushing that what shoes they are wearing. So for a long time I’ve had a good idea of what I think *looks* nice. And it grew from there….

Now looks really aren’t everything. There is a long list of more practical considerations, but I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this contraption, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want it to look better than ugly. On the practical side though, I guess I want something that is easy to push and manoeuvre, with a turning circle tighter than your average supermini. Something that is sturdy and stable enough to bump up and down curbs without tipping over. It needs to be light enough that I can get it in and out of the house myself, and it can easily be lifted in and out of the boot of the car. It also has to be compact enough to fit easily in to the car when folded, and narrow enough to fit through our front doors, or through other narrow spaces. I personally prefer the option for the baby to lie completely flat – as in a traditional pram. But being able to fit our Maxi-Cosi car seat on to the frame for quickly nipping in to a shop without having to unbuckle and move the baby could be very useful. And I want all this for a reasonable cost too. Reasonable does not stretch anywhere close to the four figures asked for “celebrity” pushchairs. I care what it looks like aesthetically, not what label is printed on the canopy.

After lots of searching and reading reviews, I finally found a travel system that ticked all the boxes.

The Babystyle Oyster.

The fact that it’s a Which? Best Buy helps. But other than that, it looks great. It has the option of a black chassis, which is a bit more unusual and I really like. It also has optional “colour packs” which means that you can change the colour of the pushchair seat and hood for about £40. It has an optional carrycot, which turns it in to a full lie-flat pram, and is compatible with our car seat. The actual seat unit can be mounted both forward and rear facing. The distance between the back wheels is one of the narrowest I’ve come across for a full travel system, and will easily fit through our front door. It can be folded both with and without the seat unit on, collapses easily and is reasonably compact, with the added bonus of being able to quickly remove the wheels too. I can lift it easily, so it can’t be too heavy. We test drove it out at the shops last week  and it’s a comfortable push with an adjustable height handle and a nice tight swivel. Best of all, it doesn’t cost the earth.

During our shopping expedition, a couple of sales assistants tried very hard to get us to consider other options. Several of them were “big brands” and I couldn’t help but feel we’d be paying for the name and logo. We were also given some plainly untrue information. Such as the Quinny Buzz having the same wheel width (it doesn’t) and the Silver Cross Surf being lighter (it isn’t). One lady tried so hard to sell us something different that she was even insisting that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t fold it down. “You’ll learn when you’re doing it every day” she said breezily, as I struggled and failed. The Oyster, for the record, was so simple even my Mum could do it (literally!).

So with the decision made, all that remained was to find the best deal. It’s taken quite a lot of searching online, but it’s finally ordered.

This is starting to feel really real now!

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