/ Parenting, Shopping

Is it mad to splash out on posh and pricey pushchairs?

Children in two-seater pushchair

Britain’s economy has had a happy boost from a 13% increase in pushchair spending. According to a recent report by analyst Mintel, we’re now splurging £225m a year on them. But are posh prams worth the money?

Here’s a story that sums up my view of expensive pushchairs. I once overheard two mothers sniggering about a third who’d just spent £700 on a top-of-the-range buggy. It was so bulky with all its mod cons that it didn’t fit in her car boot – she had to scrap the idea and start all over again.

Go to any playground and you’ll see a line of Bugaboo pushchairs. And if you want to join them, don’t expect much change from £500, even for the cheaper models. In fact, the latest two-seater Bugaboo (the Donkey), which launches next month, costs an incredible £1099.

Fashion over practicality?

There’s no doubt that pricey pushchairs are a fashion statement. You can get them with lights, a stroll-o-meter or even an iPod docking station. But, leaving aside the obvious truth that there are some great cheap pushchairs that forgo all this stuff, if you want one that shouts ‘This is my first baby’ there are some posh pushchairs that actually did well in our lab.

However, some expensive pushchairs didn’t do so well – one that came with lots of bells and whistles and cost around £600 turned out to be pretty bad at turning tight corners.

For me, the key thing is that you need a pushchair that’s not only good, but also fits with your lifestyle. Some are particularly good on buses, but some, of course, may not fit in your boot.

I was hit by pushchair envy when I first set eyes on a Phil and Ted’s one-child-in-front, one-tucked-under-behind model. I bought one and then tried to use it on the bus… if only I’d waited until the our results had been published, I would have known better.

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Our grandchilden visit quite often and sometimes stay over so I purchased car seats to be swapped around as size appropriate. Then thought it would be useful to have a pram and at the local car boot sale I found an old Mamas and Papas which separates in 2 parts. It was very clean and had most of its covers/accessories, etc. The body can be facing front or back and the handle is height adjustable. It cost £15 and has been invaluable.

So many people get sucked into buying expensive buggies. We didn’t go for a particularly expensive one, but it didn’t end up being money well spent either. It was good as a pram, but was too narrow to last very long as a pushchair, so we quickly bought a Maclaren, which is brilliant and been well-used ever since.

The trend for Bugaboos does make me chuckle though – visit any middle class area and they litter the streets – they’ve really become a fashion statement for mums with their Cath Kidson changing bag! But saying that, most parents I know who have had one have really rated them, which is more than I can say for the first buggy I bought!

Helen says:
4 April 2011

haven’t got a subscription to Which so haven’t read review but bit confused by comment about Phil and Ted’s. I have got one, and love it, no problem on the bus either!

Julia says:
4 April 2011

I did a lot of research on prams – more than the research we did to replace our old car for a baby-friendly one in fact! I was determined not to be another Bugaboo owner living in Wandsworth and tried to find other alternatives. However, when we went and tried them all out it was by far the lightest and narrowest one for use on escalators in London and for me to lift up by myself as I’m not the strongest person, and so we went for it. We managed to do a price match and got the bugaboo bee pram, isofix family base, maxi cosi car seat and canopy for ‘just’ under £700 but we felt that because it has such good reviews and the tyres can’t puncture that it would last for a good three years with one baby and then if we have another one we can use it again! I’ve also had friends who didn’t spend much on a pram then ended up replacing it several times, which probably works out costing the same amount – one friend tried EIGHT new ones in a year, including the Quinny, which is another highly recommended one, and still swears by the Bugaboo bee!

Deniz Allport says:
5 April 2011

As an expectant mum I have started looking at pushchairs and I must admit I am one of the Bugaboo fans! My work brings me into contact with lots of familes that have under fives so I see lots of pushchairs and the Bugaboo is very popular! I’m currently interested in the Bugaboo Camelion as a friend has got one and thinks it is fantastic! I have also tried it out with my husband at John Lewis and it went down well with him too! The price is scary especially with all the other things we’ll have to buy but as mentioned above we could go for a cheaper option and end up replacing it lots of times!

jinty says:
8 April 2011

I spent ages looking for a twin pram/buggy that would suit my needs eventually found the one i wanted then looked in newspaper adds.I eventually bought exactly the same pram same colour with all the extras off a couple who had used it once them bought a new car and it didn,t fit in the boot. I paid £99 and sold it 18 months later to a mum who had bought a top of the range twin pram that wouldn,t fit through her front door with out it being folded so she had to wake sleeping babes. I think people just wast money ps I sold it for £100 making a profit of £1.At the time I was a in a well paid job money wasnt the issue some times you just have to be realistic.