The saying goes, 'You get what you paid for.' Up to a point, that's true enough. But sometimes, do you actually NEED everything you paid for?!
|Hauck Sprint 6|
Most parents find that, by the time their child is six months old, they are crying out to switch from their cumbersome pram/travel system behemoth and can't wait to get their baby into a lightweight, easy-fold buggy.
There are many great models on the market, and when trying to decide what's right for you, check out our Buyer's Guide to Pushchairs, but also think about what you need your pram or pushchair for. If you drive a lot or like to use a babysling in the earliest months, how long does your baby need to spend in a pushchair? If she isn't going to be in it for hours on end, then do you really need the equivalent of a bed for her?
One thing to bear in mind: 'from birth' carries the notion that the baby is full-term. If your baby was premature, add the extra weeks on to the age range you are looking at. Some premmies are strong and physically catch up quickly, but you should not presume this is the case.
Cheap buggies on the go
For most people, the cheap buggy is a second stage buggy (at six months), after their travel system no longer suits their needs (their baby has outgrown the car seat, the pram is of no use once the baby can sit up, etc).
For others, a cheap buggy is the standby they keep in the car, or one they choose to use for flights, when they don't want the weight of a more substancial pushchair or the worry of their deluxe pram getting mangled in airport baggage!
But a lightweight can be all you need once your child is six months old. And the cheaper buggies still have plenty of good features – five-point harness, recline options etc. But they do tend to lack adjustable height options for the handlebar, extra storage space in the basket, lots of padding on the seat, or big chunky tyres that jogging off-road parents like.
Buggies from three months, under £50
These days, for a buggy to be able to boast that it is 'suitable from birth', one of its recline options must be flat so that a newborn can lay down safely. Many of the cheapest models save costs by not offering so many recline positions, or as much padding around your child.
If you do want to go for a lightweight buggy which does recline fully, you can go for the Hauck Sprint, which has an RRP of £49.99, and is cited as suitable from three months. It comes in Tigger or Winnie the Pooh design, weighs 6.5kg, and will suit a child up to about three years. With a bar across the front, it also feels like a good sturdy option.
You might want to add a footmuff, or fleecy lining to the buggy so that a small baby can be well snuggled (some of the sheepskin fleeces offer this comfort without your baby getting too hot, even in summer). Another option is to use a summer or winter wrap.
Bargain buggies for ages six months and up
|Mamas & Papas mamu mu1|
Maclaren obviously see it as important to have a buggy in their range which retails below £50. And whilst they are well known for all their buggies being of high quality at a reasonable price, the Volo performs well, at £49.99.
It's not the cheapest under-£50 model, but it does feel more solid than some of the other options.
The Volo weighs just 3.6kg making it a fabulous lightweight, and has all the basic features you expect from a useful about-town Maclaren. It's suitable from six months and comes in some bright and funky colours, but its major downside is that it has just one seat position, when most lightweights have two.
Cosatto also do a no-frills option which comes in just under the £50 mark. The Comet has an RRP of £44.99 and is suitable from six months, but again only has one upright seat position.
Mamas & Papas are not always the cheapest name on the highstreet, but their mamu range is aimed at offering quality, good design and a bargain price tag. Thus, their mamu mu1 is a snip at just £35 for M&P quality squeezed into a nifty little buggy. It weighs 6kg and is suitable from six months, plus, happily, it has an adjustable backrest!
We probably don't need to tell a web-head like you that many of the best bargains can be found online. At the time of going to press, many of the above models are available online for about half price, for example. But there are always special offers about, especially if a model is about to updated by the manufacturer and perfectly good (and safe), older styles are being cleared out.
Some stores offer a higher discount if you're buying two or more of the same product, so it's even worth asking your ante-natal class mates if they want to go in with you on a certain model.