The buggy features you should look for if you use public transport with your baby or toddler. Plus, the rule about buggies on buses and trains.
If your favoured mode of transport is the bus or train you need to choose your buggy wisely. Weight, size and folding are the areas you need to look at.
Lugging a heavy buggy up the step onto a bus isn’t easy, so it’s better to look for a lightweight option. Once you’re through the door, you want to be able to get down the aisle, so we’re talking skinny and slender rather than chunky off-road models. Check the width of the buggy, and make sure this dimension reflects how far apart the wheels are – some models have rear wheels that are positioned wider than the buggy seat.
If you and your baby will be taking public transport on a regular basis a buggy with a quick-folding mechanism is a must. It will make boarding easier and you won’t hold up the queue or bus driver, or have the train depart without you.
A one-handed folding mechanism will allow you to hold your baby in one arm and collapse the buggy with the other. This is ideal for getting on public transport - after all, where can you put your baby if you need to use both hands?
Once folded, you need to be able to get the buggy onto the bus or train, easily. A carry handle or shoulder strap is helpful. Also make sure there’s also a lock or catch that keeps the frame folded down. You don’t want it to fold open as you lift the buggy.
Narrow aisles, crowds and poor storage space are standard obstacles on buses and trains. To get around this choose a buggy that’s compact when folded. Micralite manufactures light, compact buggies - the Toro folds down to around 41cm wide, 37cm high and 100cm long. The Mamas & Papas Trip is even more compact - it’s just 23cm wide and 26cm high (and 103cm long) when folded.
If you need to keep your baby in the buggy, or you have a young baby still in a pram, then think about width. Bus aisles are notoriously narrow and the buggy areas on trains can only accommodate two buggies at best. ATPs (all-terrain pushchairs) can be very wide (we’re talking 60cm plus), so it’s best to avoid these and go for a model that’s around 50cm. Large chunky pneumatic wheels are also cumbersome and add extra width. Also consider how well the brakes work so it won’t roll about.
Lastly, it’s worth knowing the rules on buggies and public transport. Buggies can stay unfolded on buses if you’re using the buggy/wheelchair space, although wheelchairs have priority. If there isn’t enough room and you have to stand in the aisle, you must fold your buggy. If you’re using a pram, or a buggy with a carrycot, this can be a problem, as many of them need taking apart before folding down. In this case, avoid rush hour! On trains there are usually carriages with designated areas for buggies.
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