Getting Bubby D to nursery can be a bit of a mission at times. That’s because her nursery was chosen due to the fact the Wee Man had been happy there for two years as well as for its proximity to our workplaces, and also we
could afford were happy with the cost (far less than nurseries local to our house).
But the trade off for all these factors is that getting her there involves a ride on the tube, a quick 10 minute walk to the nursery (five minutes if you’re long-legged like the Other Half…), then a hop back on to the tube and off to work.
This means we need a lightweight pushchair suitable for getting up and down stairs and walking to the nursery in all weathers, without being too bulky to fold down and store once we get there. (The pushchairs all live in a little shed during the day).
We tried an unstable compact three wheeler, a Maclaren stroller that Bubby D slipped down and couldn’t recline in, a different Maclaren which had an impossible to open harness…and then finally, we hit on the Chicco Liteway.
My mother always had Maclarens and so I’ve always had it in my head that they are ‘the’ stroller to get. So I was a bit dubious about how the Liteway might perform in comparison.
I have to say I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. The Liteway is a pleasure to push, with easy one or two handed steering, comfortable handles and large, robust wheels that can cope well with a variety of surfaces (grass, mud, cobbles, bobbly pavements, gravel, tree root covered country pathways, icy ramps, wooden bridges, shopping malls…we’ve tried pretty much everything!).
The brakes work very well (a must when parking the pushchair on the tube) and can be engaged from either side of the pushchair easily. It’s small enough that it doesn’t take up too much carriage space either, fitting snugly in the area between the doors and the seats without obstructing the central walkway. Whilst the sturdy looking sides make it appear as if it should be heavy, it’s actually pretty light (7kg) and that alongside the larger than average stroller back wheels make it easy to either bump or carry up and down stairs, depending on the kindness of strangers!
Bubby D can be strapped in and released easily from the five point harness, and has the option of reclining fully for a sleep, chilling out semi-reclined in two different positions or sitting upright for a good look around. The seat unit is not as deep as some other pushchairs we have used and she likes being able to peep around the sides of it easily to see what’s going on. The recline is quiet, smooth, one-handed and extremely easy to use, a huge bonus in my experience when trying to make a drowsy baby more comfortable without disturbing them.
When we arrive at the nursery and Bubby D is playing happily, it’s very easy to fold the pushchair and stow it in the shed – it does have to be wedged between other pushchairs or laid on its side as it isn’t possible for it to stand independently. It’s compact enough that it fits in the car boot easily too, leaving plenty of space in there for other things as well (most recently a Trunki, a small folding bed, a large rucksack, several pieces of trainset, an advent house, a duvet and pillow, a bag of ‘randomness’ (all those little bits and pieces that don’t have another home) and three bags of shopping from Sainsburys…).
The fabric of the pushchair is easily cleaned and can be removed for a thorough wash when required – fairly often in the case of my messy little rascals! The hood is easily removable too, a bonus in some respects as its easily adjusted and can also be tipped forward on sunny days, however I sometimes find it pops off a little too easily and it’s rather flimsy – if you’re a supermarket shopper like me who likes to whip around plonking a bottle of milk and some yoghurts into the hood for easy transport you might want to avoid that with this pushchair!
On the plus side, the shopping basket is very roomy and not only is it a basket, it’s a drawstring backpack too if required, or a shopping bag you can hang over the handles. You can’t fit a box of instant oat cereal in it due to the narrower neck opening of the bag but it will take a surprising amount of stuff, and it’s made of nice durable material as well. Great if you want to park up the pushchair and easily take the contents of the shopping basket along with you.
The included raincover provides good coverage over the hood, back and sides of the pushchair and also over the front of Bubby D. It’s a bit too short for the Wee Man and his feet are left exposed – but since he generally wears his gumboots when it’s raining that’s not a big problem! There’s a cosy footmuff included too for a bit of extra protection from the elements – it even has a nice waterproof bit at the bottom to combat rain or snow. It attaches easily and doesn’t slip down thanks to two Velcro straps, and can also be used as a liner only as the whole top part unzips. It’s a shame that the zip isn’t double ended as one side is always zipped right up high whilst the other is hard to zip past the bottom of the seat when Bubby D is sitting in it, but it still keeps her nice and cosy and I can imagine with a much smaller baby in the reclined position it would act like a snug little sleeping bag.
So that’s our nursery commute solved. The pushchair feels built to last, and so I’m sure it will – at least until she starts preschool much closer to home, anyway!