Have wheels, will travel

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2012, 12:00am


As hardware goes, the stroller is pushed to its very limits. Given Hong Kong's intense heat, humidity and downpours, challenging terrain and tight spaces, finding a perfect pushchair requires careful consideration.

It's also essential for parents to choose a model that suits their lifestyle. Assessing what's required - alongside child comfort and safety - can help narrow the options.

Sun and rain protection features can include built-in sunshades and rain covers but always check what's included in the price. Extras such as a parasol or sun canopy, bags and other accessories, can often be purchased separately.

Lucy McLennan, marketing manager of Bumps to Babes, says the Quinny Zapp Xtra and Bugaboo Bee+ are good options to protect against Hong Kong's elements.

Both models are multifunction travel systems that can adapt to the peculiarities of Hong Kong. In addition to sun canopy and rain cover, each has forward- and rear-facing seating and recline positions.

Bugaboo's four-wheel maneuverable suspension and small frame make it an ideal urban stroller whose compact frame easily fits through turnstiles and in taxi trunks.

Andree Luk, director of retail outlet Mama's Dear, says a mesh seat can also help keep baby cool when the mercury is rising. She recommends the Micralite Super-lite, which has a one-hand folding mechanism and pneumatic rear tyres that can handle all terrain.

The Micralite can be used with a Maxi-Cosi infant seat brand's Air-flo carry cot, making it suitable for newborns to toddlers. If you mostly walk or take public transport, opt for a slim pushchair with swivel wheels that make it easier to navigate tight spaces, steps, stairs and uneven surfaces.

A lightweight and easy-to-fold pushchair will make the transfer to public transport easier. Luk suggests the Babyhome Emotion pushchair with 360-degree swivel and skid-proof wheels, as well as a fast-folding system.

Maclaren's marketing manager, Angela Mok says their Quest and Volo models are ideal for urban living and consistently top sellers because they are lightweight and affordable.

Locking front swivel wheels 'make the buggy easier to manoeuvre especially in small spaces and provide stationary docking on rough surfaces like brick or cobblestone, which makes it less jarring and safer for the baby and the operator,' Mok says.

Both models include a 'music stand' frame that holds the buggy open and prevents it from accidental closing. Linked brakes allow wheels to be locked from either side of the buggy and 'ensure the buggy cannot turn on a downward slope as would be the case with non-linked brakes,' Mok says.

Car owners should check a folded pushchair fits in the boot of the vehicle - one of the most overlooked aspects when buying a stroller.

Travel systems are a good option as they combine or facilitate pushchair, infant car seat and car seat base so a baby can easily be moved from car to destination in the same carrier.

'If you are out and about you will ideally want a pushchair that works with an infant car seat,' McLennan says, adding that the Maxi-Cosi infant car seat works with the Quinny Zapp Xtra and Bugaboo Bee+, 'so that when combined you can create the ideal travel system from birth until approximately 12 months.'

Chicco recommends its Trio I-Move travel system, which includes a carrycot and car seat that are interchangeable between frame and vehicle, as well as a separate rotating seat that allows an older baby or toddler to face front or back.

Expecting twins, or a second baby in addition to a toddler that still needs to sit? Luk recommends the Childwheels Stretcher Tandem for babies from birth to six months plus. Its design makes it easier to navigate two tots through small, urban spaces.

For greater versatility, Bugaboo recommends their Bugaboo Donkey. The stroller can switch between a one- and two-child transporter with bassinet and seat combinations accommodating newborns and toddlers, or both. A side basket gives extra carrying space when one seat is vacant and the frame compresses to a one-seat stroller when that's all that is required. The Donkey launches in Hong Kong in August.

Bugaboo sales manager for Asia, Robbert Cohen de Lara says 'it's a very innovative stroller that provides a solution for kids and goods'.

Safety features are a priority among parents. McLennan says a five-point harness and good working brake are essential safety features.