Britax is a big name in the car seat world. But its buggy range, originally launched back in 2010, is becoming increasingly popular.
Partly due to the acquisition of the US stroller and bike trailer brand BOB in 2011, celeb endorsements and the fact that its pushchair collection is getting larger and more versatile.
The latest buggy in the Britax index is the Smile, a travel system with the integrated Click & Go structure.
The Smile buggy is the first Britax item I have ever used. Ever since my little boy (now 2) was born, I have been an iCandy girl, but as the brand is so well loved and respected, I was very excited to try the buggy out on Elijah and my brand new bundle of joy.
The Britax Smile looked like a robust and solid bit of kit right out of the box!
You can buy the Smile as a single pushchair or with the carrycot. The Britax Baby Safe Infant car seat is sold separately and allows parents to create a total travel system, which can be used from birth to three years.
How is it when out and about?
The wheels on this buggy are pretty awesome! They are fully suspended and the two rear wheels are large – my husband called them “manly wheels” – and air filled, which gives the buggy a smooth and easy ride, even over bumpy terrain.
The two front wheels swivel and are lockable – a feature I personally never bother using but I suppose is still quite useful to have, when going over uneven terrain.
Small points to be conscious of (and happy about) include features such as the handlebar, which is adjustable.
This is perfect for our family, as I am quite tall and I like the handlebar to be high up, but if my mum is pushing the buggy, she needs it lower, as I definitely did not get my height from her!
One things that’s worth noting about the buggy is that at 12kg it is quite cumbersome and heavy.
How does it fold?
The folding is a two step process, and is really easy, once you get the hang of it. You can collapse it with or without the seat unit – again, a plus point for those with space issues.
But it is not a one-hand fold system, you do have to use two hands.
Is it compact when folded?
Yes, the buggy can be folded away quite compactly and if space is an issue in your car boot (as in my case) or in the home, then you can pop off all four wheels very easily.
This allows the buggy to stash away neatly, without taking up a lot of space. I found I had to do this with the back wheels, in order for it to fit into my little Polo.
What about the brake?
The brake is simple and easy to use and even has a colour coded system, which shows you if the brake is on or not.
The brake is by the foot and can turned on or off with a simple tap on or tap off. When the brake is on, the little window next to the brake goes red and when it is off, it goes green. This is so useful when you are getting used to the mechanisms.
Tell us about the canopy.
Another feature, which allows baby to have a happy snooze, and be protected from the elements, is the extendable canopy. It is HUGE! It folds easily and neatly into itself and if the weather outside is frightful (!) or you want to keep your little one in the shade, then pull the canopy out and it covers a massive chunk of the buggy.
I could only see Elijah’s feet poking out. It is much bigger than a lot of the other buggies I have seen and it doesn’t make it look bulky or cumbersome either, which gives it extra points for me! The hood is detachable and also has a handy, magnetic closing viewing window, in case you want to take a peek at your little one, while they are being protected by its cover.
There is a zip out mesh section, which allows extra air to circulate around the buggy – which is perfect for hotter months, when you want the canopy to protect your little one from the sun, but keep them well ventilated.
So what about the carrycot?
The Carrycot is great to use from birth. The carrycot needs to be fully assembled before it can be used for the baby.
It clicks easily onto the Smile, with its unique CLICK & GO® system, has a decent sun hood and it comes with a large rain cover.
It allows baby to recline completely and my little tester certainly slept soundly in it! Quite an ingenious little gizmo – inside the carrycot are 2 fabric strips. These can be used to stop teeny babies from wriggling too far down or up the carrycot.
The inside of the carrycot has a lovely soft mattress and is nicely padded, as is the entire interior, which almost has a cushy bumper type feel about it. It also has a cover, which can be stuck in place over the carrycot, giving your little one additional security and warmth.
Tell us about the seating positions.
I’m really happy and surprised to see that the seat unit of the buggy is fully reversible, meaning you can have baby-facing you or facing-the-world!
I find this feature really useful, as I remember when I put Elijah into his buggy seat for the first time, he was still quite little and I wanted him to have the security of facing me.
It also meant I got to be selfish and not share him with everyone else for a few more weeks!
The seat has a multi position recline, so if your little one is wide awake, they can sit up comfortably, and if they drift off to sleep, you can lower the seat into a comfy recline position, using a little lever on the top of the buggy.
The footrest is also adjustable. There is a lever at the base of the footrest, which, when released, allows you to drop it or raise it to 3 different positions. I used this a couple of times with Elijah and it was a nice smooth action, which didn’t disturb his sleep at all. Oh and also, on the back of the seat unit is a secure zip pouch, which is perfect for popping your keys and phone into for easy access.
How does it work as a travel system?
It’s really easy and simple to figure out, how to swap the seat unit with the carrycot or the car seat.
Both can be clicked into place using the integrated CLICK & GO® car seat adaptors – these click into the seat unit fittings. The Baby Safe car seat comes with its own adaptors.
Is the basket as big as Britax say?
Yes, it really is! One of my favourite features of the Britax Smile however has to be the huge basket!
I was always quite happy with the basket on my old buggy – big enough to stash a bag of shopping, changing bag and a few other essentials.
But the Smile’s basket totally blows my old basket out of the water! When testing it out, I managed to stash two bulging shopping bags, my changing bag, a ball, Elijah’s backpack and a bottle of water!
It also has two pockets on the inside, which is ideal for more precious items. This really is a shopper’s best friend!
Does the 3M ScotchLite reflective stripes actually make a difference?
Yes, as an additional safety feature these nifty little stripes create a reflective glow in lowlight conditions.
So if you are taking the buggy out in the evening, it should be visible to cars, as their headlights will reflect off of the safety strips, giving you that little bit of extra protection. Something I haven’t seen before on other buggies!
What’s in the box?
- Chassis frame
- Seat unit
- Rain cover
- Bumper bar
What are the optional extras for the Britax Smile?
- Cosytoes – £51.94
- Play tray – £19.99
- Changing bag – £40
- Pushchair organiser – £19.99
- Cup holder – £11.99
The Britax Smile is an easy to manoeuvre and versatile. It’s nice and comfy for little ones and for adults pushing and is just a great all-rounder!
If you are a keen shopper or simply like to go out with enough stuff to survive a zombie apocalypse (guilty on both accounts) then you will fall in love with the Britax Smile, a contemporary and stylish buggy, guaranteed to make you…well…smile! And my hubby and our little family all love it.