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Chicco is an Italian brand that has made baby products since 1958. Their range includes cribs, toys, prams, highchairs, bouncers and car seats. Probably most popular among new parents is the Next2me crib. The Baby Hug 4-in-1 is Chicco’s attempt to combine a crib, a recliner, a seat and a high chair into one product that can adapt with your baby from birth onwards.
Based in South East London, Mark is a father of a 3-year-old boy and a 7-month-old girl, who has been putting the Baby Hug through its paces
The Chicco Baby Hug sounds promising in theory, combining four items in one and therefore potentially saving space and money. We’ve used the Chicco Next2me (£179 on Amazon) for both of our children, so we were pretty confident that this would be up to that high standard. The instructions, however, dampened our enthusiasm.
Tell us about the Chicco Baby Hug 4-in-1.
The Baby Hug is essentially a crib, a recliner, a seat and a high chair all in one. It’s designed to be used as a crib and/or a reclined seat from birth to 6 months, and then as a high chair and a seat once your baby is better able to sit unaided (around six months onwards), with use up to 3 years. It raises up and down (via a foot switch) and can be reclined fully (as a crib), or tilted upright (to use as a high chair or seat).
What’s it like to use as a crib?
As a crib, the Baby Hug feels quite small – it’s meant to last from birth to 6 months (the mattress dimensions are 39x75cm). Our daughter was four months old when we first received it and it already felt too tight a fit to get any real use out of it. We also found the mattress that comes with it is very thin, meaning you’d probably want to buy the additional mattress (sold separately) to be able to use it in this mode. Also, using the Baby Hug as a crib means removing all of the straps, which is a nuisance if you’re planning on alternating between the crib and raised recliner mode.
How does it work as a raised recliner with an electronic toy bar?
The recliner mode is for use from birth to 6 months, and its electronic toy bar is probably the Baby Hug’s best feature. Our daughter loved the animals that dangle from it and was mesmerised by the lights and music – or she was, until her older brother discovered how to change the music and proceeded to do it every five seconds!
It’s just a shame that there’s no way to bounce or rock the baby in this mode. A proper bouncer – such as the Fisher-Price Woodsy Friends one – makes for a much more practical option. Also, rolling my daughter around the house in this mode feels like being a henchman to a very tiny evil genius!
How effective is it as a first high chair?
Our MFM Awards judges loved this feature, although I’m not so keen. My main bugbear for using it as a high chair (for use from 6-36 months), is the fabric lining is a pain to remove and wash. It’s full of creases where food can get trapped, the toy bar gets in the way – even when raised – and it desperately needs a tray, especially if you’re doing baby-led weaning. A cloth cover and a tray are available, but you need to buy them separately. The straps are also too long at the sides; even at their shortest, they’re still too long for our seven-month-old daughter. However, other MFM home testers find it really useful, with one parent saying: “The highchair mode can go to table height so my eldest daughter can also feed herself from the table with us, which has been really enjoyable for her.”
How useful is it as a first seat?
For use from 6-36 months, the Baby Hug works fine as a first seat, but it’s very big. The base in particular takes up a lot of floor space, much more than a regular seat would. However, if you’re using the single product in all four modes, then you are saving space overall.
How easy is it to adjust to each setting?
Elevating and reclining the seat are easily done via the foot switch on the base and the clasp at the head of the unit. However, removing the straps to switch it from crib to seat and back again is a bit of a nuisance.
Is the Chicco Baby Hug 4-in-1 easy to clean?
Easy – once you’ve got the cover off. This means releasing a load of little clasps around the base and removing two handles. If you’re using it as a high chair and want to clean it regularly (which you’ll probably need to), this is annoying.
Is it easy to move around the house?
On one floor, yes. The Baby Hug is on coasters, so you just need to click off the brakes (a method of undoing all four at once would be a great improvement) and roll it to its next destination. One of our judges found this a great feature when moving her napping baby in the seat. It is heavy and quite unwieldy, though, so you wouldn’t want to be hauling it up and down stairs.
What’s in the box?
The Baby Hug itself, a pad and the electronic toy bar.
Can you buy any accessories?
Yes – to use it as a crib, you need to buy the mattress separately for £19.90, as well as the sheets for £20. To use it as a high chair, you’ll need the Baby Hug feeding kit (consisting of a protective cover and a tray) for £30. Essentially, what you get in the box isn’t really suitable as a crib or a high chair, so the Baby Hug is only a 4-in-1 product when you’ve spent an additional £69.90 on “optional” extras.
Is the Chicco Baby Hug 4-in-1 good value?
The Baby Hug retails at £199, which is a steep price, but if the mattress, the high chair cover and the tray table were included in that price, it would be closer to good value. As it stands, we weren’t impressed. However, if you use it in all four settings, you can certainly save money compared to buying four individual products.
Who would the product be most useful for?
The obvious target market is new parents who are short on space and are keen to economise by buying four bits of kit in one.
Overall, is it as effective as 4 individual, single-purpose products?
The jury’s out on this! Our Awards judges loved the multiple functions, and found it a great all-in-one option for saving space and money. However, I’d rather spend a little more, to get individual items such as a Next2me, a bouncer and a Mamas & Papas Baby Bud Booster Seat.
Where can I buy the Chicco Baby Hug 4-in-1?
The Chicco Baby Hug is an interesting concept but it would need some improvements to convince me as I just didn’t find it effective enough in any of its four modes. It might be more expensive and a little more effort to buy a separate bouncer, high chair and crib, but it’s a better option in my opinion. That said, our MFM Awards judges were very impressed after their home tests, naming it silver winner for the Innovation of the Year – Children category, so it definitely works for some parents more than others.
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|Model||Baby Hug 4-in-1|
Dimensions & Weight
|Dimensions||H:88cm–122cm W:60cm D:85cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:60cm W:60cm D:85cm|
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 3 years|
|Child weight||Up to 15kg|
|Seat height positions||Multi-position|
|Made from||Plastic and Polyester|