M&B Awards blog:When is a ‘pushchair’ not just a ‘pushchair’?

Answer: When it’s a Travel System. Or, could it be when it’s just a ‘pram’…?

And is a ‘baby-buggy’ or ‘lightweight stroller’ something separate?

Oh, the variety of choice! How to make the distinction has always bemused me.

‘Three-wheelers’ or  the ‘all-terrain-4×4 types? ‘Twins’? ‘Tandems’? Or, when in doubt, throw it all in and buy  the ubiquitous  ‘travel system’? Can’t they all fall into the “Best Pushchair” category or should the distinction be  just ‘chairs only with wheels to push’?

Through the Mother & Baby Awards, I often get e-mails with appeals and confessionals.

‘Addicted mum’ says:

“I have a bit of a ‘buggy’ fettish. I love all different pushchairs – please help me. Pick me to test for you – it might get my husband off my case for a little while!!”

‘Shoes and handbag mum’:

“I’ve owned 15 and still haven’t found one I like”.

Or ‘pushchair-geek mum’:

“I have a real passion for pushchairs I like to know all the functions of how they work and how well they push – like men and cars. I’ll eye-ball one I like the look of in the street and ask the poor person on the end of it for a run down on all of its features!”

Should I be offering a counselling service for the self-confessed ‘buggy addict?’ There’s no doubt that these mums make brilliant product testers only I’m not sure if I can help ease the symptoms of a serious habit or only drive a self-confessed ‘buggyaholic’ further down the road to pushchair hell.

Of course, my hand on experience with pushchairs is so last century. My mother pushed us round in a big black pram. I think it was mostly used for parking us down the bottom of the garden for ‘a bit of fresh air’ and to ‘exercise our lungs’.  I know she did this because a picture records my little baby face, in knitted bonnet, peeping out of a cavernous hood while I watched little snowflakes falling on the canopy.

With my first baby – nearly 14 years ago, my cousin passed on her old pushchair to me. It was probably from Mothercare but it was hideous. I remember my tiny newborn looking squashed and slumped on a white – with bunny motifs – plastic seat. It had a white frilly sunshade – actually I may be making this up, perhaps it was the seat cushions that were white and frilly? Anyhow, it was so badly frilly that I couldn’t bear to be seen in public with this thing, that’s why the detail eludes me.

Therefore, I naively assumed that all pushchairs must be as ghastly as this one was and made a bold decision to do without. No bloke is going to proudly push his offspring round the park in a confection that resembles Edwardian bloomers on a small set of plastic wheels, is he? And while I had refused to make any public outings it was made instantly redundant. It might not have been so easy had my baby not been tiny. I wore him in a sling until, at six months, I could put him in a cheap umbrella fold stroller that cost me £30 or I (or husband) would carry him around in a back carrier where he could enjoy an elevated view on his surroundings.

It worked fine until number two came along. By then, I knew exactly what I needed. A ‘go anywhere’ double buggy with a gigantic shopping/storage basket for coats and other gubbins that could fold down in one easy hand movement and collapse small enough to fit inside the boot of the tiny car!  Not too much to ask?

I’d love to know what you think is the perfect ‘pushchair’ solution and if you have found yours?

Is it the complete Travel System with car seat, carrycot, pushchair and all the accessories?

Or can you make do with a simple lightweight stroller and what’s the minimum that you really need.

What works best for you and why and what can you recommend? Post it here!

For 2009 Awards Winners click the titles:

Best Pushchair

Best Lightweight Buggy / Stroller

Best Travel System

Best Twin / Tandem


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39 thoughts on “M&B Awards blog:When is a ‘pushchair’ not just a ‘pushchair’?

  1. Hehe I think we might have had the same pushchair when my eldest (nearly 13) was born. Funnily enough I took the same stance as you !

  2. I have gone through far too many pushchairs!! But by far my best purchase was my Mutsy …. I just loved it. Being a mum to children close in age, to get a buggy so adaptable was brilliant. I could use the chasis with 4 large tyre wheels or replace the 2 front ones with tiny swivel wheel for around the town. The seat units are also interchangeable too, car seat, single seat unit, double seat unit or a fun seat for a toddler. Add to that the fact that it has its own buggy board it really was to me the ultimate pushchair purchase!

  3. I too class myself as a “buggyholic”, even though only in moderation I guess. I “only” had about 6 different pushchairs, not bad going for two kids I would say. (Well, my second-born is still in “lightweight-stroller-age”, so maybe one more…??? ;-)) When my husband struggled to understand why we need yet another one, I explained it to him in detail: the first travel-system was bulky, ugly and unnecessary, but as a new mum I didn’t know any better. The replacement (a 3-wheeler) was cheaply made, and my precious little one didn’t look comfortable in it, the Quinny was great but couldn’t be reclined so had to go as baby still wants/needs to sleep, etc. etc. I think he gave up on the idea of having one for more than half a year and me…I’m already looking for the next “best pushchair on the market”!!!

  4. My hallway looks like a garage (thank god its big!). Depending on my mood, their mood and where we are going I am using a different one every time I leave the house. My phil and teds sport is great when I just need to be out of the house and walking with no fuss. It is a lovely buggy to push but I have nearly knocked a few people over underestimating how far that front wheel sticks out (which I might add also has a mind of its own at times, or is it just my steering?). My bugaboo is a joy to push in pram mode when I get a rare couple of hours with DD2 on my own and again as a rear facing buggy when I feel DD1 needs a bit of extra attention (DD2 will then go in the sling). I seem to have a phobia of double buggies and public transport so the Maclaren Quest is the only one I will use for some serious window shopping or a bus ride (again with DD2 in a sling). Only problem I have with all of them (especially P&T and bugaboo) is the storage basket underneath, they are very awkward to reach and if I need to take a rain cover I can forget about using it for anything else.

  5. a puchair is not just a puchair when its a stokke! it is bar farrrrrrr the best ive owned . they should make a double though that would be great!

  6. i have had so many different pram, pushchairs, buggies and travel systems i cant remember them all.
    each one good in its own way but after a few weeks it got boaring so i swapped for a different sold the last one on ebay and set of with a new set of wheels.
    i know enough about pushchairs to work in the baby care shop, i can walk round town and name every pushchair i see.. addiction ? YES most deffiantly!

  7. I still haven’t found the perfect pushchair….something always goes wrong with them! Wheels have fell off(first pram 10 years ago), chasis has broke which was very dangerous(recent graco pushchair) then all the other small problems that occured. I now have a bit of a dilemma, with what will only be about 15 months age gap between my son and new baby, i now have to think about buying a tandem! I’m worried that if i buy one that it’ll be another waste of money and will start to fall apart. Do i get one or use my travel system for the newborn and a buggy for the oldest and hope that i never have to take them out together on my own? lol! So…until then..i still haven’t found the perfect one. Maybe if i get another then it’ll be different? Hmmm….i think i may have to fork out quite a bit to get the perfect one.

    • I have had loads of pushchairs and tried loads of tandems/twins (i mean loads lol husband not happy)

      I usually bought them second hand so i could test them see if they were good then sell them on if i didnt like them. If i did like them i bought a new one.

      As for tandems/ twins my best by far and also the cheapest which is strange was my graco stadium duo (i have 14 months between mine) its great, huge basket, easy fold, doesnt take up too much space in the boot and leg space for the one in the back, also they both get snack trays great for food on the go or for toys.

      I have also owned a phil and teds vibe(didnt like the newborn double mode and steering is really odd), a safety first tandem (plasticy and no leg space) a combi we2 (best twin by far as folds to size of a travel cot and kids loved it but not so good if you have to do loads of shopping as teh baskets were quite small) and a few others like the maclaren twin etc the only one i kept for more than a month was my graco and a year later it is still going strong.

      I also have a mamas and papas stroller with a buggy board as my eldest is nearly two and she loves to walk.

  8. I have rather a few pram/pushchairs i love trying all different ones whats good/bad bout them and then getting a new one my partner doesnt understand why i need to go through so many prams, im in the process of looking for a new pram as i dont have one at the moment and cant decide what to get for my little girl any ideas would be great i would love to test a pram/pushchair that would be fantastic if i was chosen

    kate x

  9. After having 4 children I am honestly convinced that you can ever have the perfect one that does everything you need it too.
    Strangly though out of the ones I’ve had over the years I would love to have my Maclaren superdreamer back any day over these new ones around and the silvercross wayfarer tandem was a brilliant double but sadly they, for whatever reason, stopped making them.

  10. I too have had many pushchairs (far too many to mention) My favourites have to be My Loola Up and my last Silver Cross 3d, both have been travel systems and had carrycots so been excellent for the first few months when my boys were small. Kept the Loola so could use it again with baby number 4 & very soon will be using the Loola with the Windoo carrycot & a stroller whilst my partner is with me, once hes back to work will be back to my side by side double buggy for the school runs! Which works great on the practical side although i long for the family days out when i can show off my beauty!!!

  11. my perfect buggy wold be something that is small to get on a bus and easy to manoeuvre my bugaboo bee is very close to the perfect buggy only trouble it doesn’t come as a double buggy, my husband is fed up of me eyeing up the single and double buggies. He leaves the choice to me.

  12. I have to say I’ve never really understood the pushchair thing. With child 2 I bought a phil and ted but sold it promptly as soon as I gotback into a single. With child 3 I’ve gone back to my old favourite a maclaren xt. It would have been nice to have been able to afford to buy one of the ‘in’ pushchairs but are they really worth the money?! I am definately a small/ light / quality girl myself….

  13. I got a m+p freestyle travel system with Child 1, I still have it now but i HATE it, its bulky, takes up the whole boot and its ugly!!

    I was lucky enough to test lightweight strollers last year for the awards, and Child 2 is pushed around in the Cosatto Diablo limited edition. Its an umbrella fold buggy that is suitable from birth. It takes up a third of the room the travel system did and even hubby likes to push it.

    Child 1 likes the bell…

  14. I have to say, I too am a completely pram crazy!

    After having 6 prams for my 1st in just 8 months, my mom and other half thought I had gone baby mad. I just couldn’t find one that did everything I wanted.

    After having baby no.2 I thought I’d got a grip and only purchased 3 for her, but now I have baby no.3 on the way with a small age gap, a whole new pram market has been opened up to me…..twins & tandems…..

    Every night a browse the internet for new original prams, but when I suggested to my other half that we import one from Australia at a mere cost of £1000, I realized I have taken this too far….

    I am however still on the ideal twin pram hunt, if anyone has any suggestions……

    • Hi
      I think doubles are harder to choose than singles !
      I’ve tried a jane powertwin, p&t vibe, m&p Aria and a babyjogger city mini and out of them all would go with the baby jogger first and the aria second, I know most people go with a tandem thinking they are easier to get through doorways but most of the time they are alot heavier and harder to steer.

  15. I’ve never had a cheap lightweight buggy because they really don’t appeal to me! They look so uncomfortable and I want my child to be as comfortable as possible, but unfortunately these type of buggies seem to be very bulky and not just that, very expensive. I’ve had a few buggies, and my favourite has been Maclaren because I find them easier to push, but I haven’t used enough different models to say what really is best. I do love buggies though and I’d have a dozen if I could! I love the travel systems but to me, they just seem so awkward with all the different bits and pieces, I prefer one, simple, easy, pushchair.

  16. I can relate to eye balling pushchairs in the street! I can’t wait for baby no 2 when I will be allowed to purchase the latest model!

  17. I am a ‘pram freak’!! I have 4 children and have got through 19 prams in total! A pushchair is not just a pushchair, It is a statement. I am always on the lookout for any feature that will make my life easier and my child’s life more comfortable. A good pram is not always about the price tag, it’s about the comfort of the ride, handle height, ease of pushing, size, how easily it is to put in the car/fold up etc…/ seat positioning, hood positioning (I had one pram that did not fully cover my baby’s head when in the upright position- so gave no coverage from UV rays and rain). If the seat is too shallow it can prove very uncomfortable for a toddler. Wheel size can cause problems- too big and you cant get them in the car and too small you can have a very bumpy ride. One of the 3 wheeler pushchairs and one of the 3 wheeler tandems I had actually tipped over when my 3 yr old was in it and he was well under the 15kg weight guidance.
    I would love to know who advises the pushchair manufacturers on their designs….They can surely not be parents!

    I have been a Mum/Nurse and Chidminder for 12 years and I am still looking for the ‘Perfect’ Pushchair!

  18. Having tested both doubles and travel systems and having too many pushchairs to admit myself, i never did find my “one” I use public transport, and have multiple children, 2 with special needs, and a baby! SO i need one that goes from tiny to BIG, can stand the test, have lots of storage, and do walking as well as bus and train!!!! WAY too much, my youngest is usually on my back in a sling now, she’s not a very well baby so enjoys being close, my older two usually have to take turns in the single we have atm!!! Still enjoy trying to find the “one” though!!!!!!!!
    Oh and a pushchair isn’t a pushchair, when it’s a shopping basket 😀

  19. I have big prams, small prams, buggies, tandems, twins, holiday buggies, travel systems and they are just the ones I’m using, then there is all the ones that I bought blind from the internet and didn’t like.

    I live in a small town and we don’t have much chance to try in shops first so I just order lots to try instead. I run a mum’s group and I find most of them are just as bad as me, can’t seem to get enough or even the right one. Really envious at the moment as most of them are having number 3 or 4 and I’m sticking with 2 so won’t need any more new prams, although I’m sure my youngest might need a new buggy at some stage!! My group are hoping to test as we have so many senarios of new baby, toddler and baby, twins etc. Gosh I feel almost like I’m in therapy and I’m getting it all off my chest – thanks Jessica!!

  20. So glad to see I am not the only mad person and there are lots of us on here.xx
    The perfect pushchair needs to…
    lay flat
    face either direction
    umbrella fold to nothingness
    have space to add a second seat
    have a buggy board attachment
    have all the acsessories..rain cover, cosy toes,
    parasol, apron, bag.
    and look nice and
    BE LIGHT and EASY to push!!
    Can I be on a design panel?!!!

  21. haha love this post btw 😀
    I do have a serious addiction to the point where my husband ignores me while I’m out and about as I’m always eyeing up someone else’s set of wheels deciding when I get bored which one I will go for next time.
    I think (putting my addiction to one side) it’s lovely to see newborns in proper prams, I hate to see these little ones stuck in car seats all the time and in strollers, they are just too small and precious…… BUT my eldest now 5 would not lie flat after her birth so had to always go in car seat etc 😦 then when they are older to get a light weight stroller as the travel systems/prams become too big and bulky….. so I think the “normal person” could get away with 2 buggies in total.

    I would love to design my own.

  22. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this problem! We have three children, but the pram addition didn’t start until my middle one was 18 months. I brought a mutsy for him at this time and fell in love with it! I loved the large seat, the fact it could face both ways, the wheels, the way the bag fitted to the back of the seat. For walking this was very near perfect but it was to big for the car. When my third was born we started him off in the mutsy carry cot, he then quickly went on to a loola, (which I hated!) then we had a obaby zezu, which I loved again. Now we are using a mini city jogger. Again the one comes very close to perfect for me, it folds down small and quickly, it lays flat, very roomy, large hood and very light.

    We have tried many buggys out over the years, some seem perfect for a while but I still get fed up of them before long!

  23. Hi i also have to admit i am a pramaholic too lol i have had a mamas and papas pliko p3 travel system, a loola streety travel system, a quinny buzz, all these may i say in 11 weeks i am finally settled for now with the maclaren xlr for how long i dont know i am now searching the current market for a double which i will need when my hubby goes back to work and there is no way my husband will buy me a double unless i am absloutley sure of the one i want . 🙂

  24. I am one of those that just wants to be able to just get my gorgeous one from A to B. (oh and somewhere to hang my handbag and somewhere to put a little bit of shopping underneath). I can’t be doing with spending such a fortune (sometimes the price of a second hand car) on something that half the time is folded up in the boot of my Zafira.
    When little one was tiny, we had the basic of the basic travel system. Now I have a Mclaren stroller that I had when number 3 child was one year… now number 4 child is in it. The buggy may be out of date style wise, but it does all that I require of it 🙂

  25. there are so many mums from so many different walks of life that there have to be so many different types of pushchair
    but it would be great if one could do all!! then we wouldnt have to spend so much time worrying and choosing!!
    i have been through lots of pushchairs we live down a bumpy track and do a lot of walking in the countryside which means many pushchairs faint at the very thought of living with us!!
    my main requirement for a pushchair would be that it is indestructable and cleanable with a good brake
    also light, compact when folded and lots of space underneath for a picnic and changing bag!
    for me style and colour is not important
    i think that really one pushchair should be enough if they made them well then thats all we would have !!

  26. ………When it leaves me and it broken, on woolacombe high street; with a baby and a toddler and a dog And a stressed husband!!! The handle sheared off!!!! My new one? Don’t even ask I hate it!
    Sorry bad day!!!

      • The broken pushchair was a while ago but i bought the new one in haste and living to reget. I just can’t maneover it eaily and therefore it makes life so difficult when you are trying to walk with a toddler (i.e todays bad time). But all ok now as have glass of wine in hand!

  27. Yep another self confessed pramaholic here……… i am ashamed to admit to having owned at least 40 in the last 8 yrs though !!!………. atm i have a Quinny Buzz 4 and a Jane powertrack which i love……. I also have a horrid looking graco tandem but it does the job…….. If anyone finds the “perfect buggy” please be sure to let me know as i am certain my husband and bank balance will both breath a sigh of relief………….. Now i am off to stalk FSOT in the hunt for a new sling (another habit!!)……

    Lisa x

      • FSOT (For sale or trade) boards are my favourite online activity…….. I have also given away 10 on Freecycle and several to family and friends……… a few (such as my 1st two 3 wheeled prams and my 1st Graco) went to the charity shop and at least 4 have made it as far as the local tip as they were so terrible lol…….. I have a very understanding husband and even my little boy gets excited when he see’s his latest set of “wheels”……….lol…..

  28. well after reading through this I’m an novice compared to some I’m only on number 5 in 2 1/2 years. My first was a graco quattro which I’ve used on both my two, hmm then a small stroller which was useless so got a maclaren instead then had number 2 so got a double which hardly got used as number 1 wanted to walk so got myself a m&p skate for my lt lady to ride in all I can say is GREAT!!!!. I love it and because missy is so tiny she can still use the pram mode at 13mnths for a sleep, only prob is I can’t use a board with it but my son sits on the front basket bit instead lol. Now I just need to save up for a funky liner so it is totally different to any other…

  29. I am a self confesed pramaholic I have 3 kids with 3 and a half yrs between my youngest and oldest and already on pushchair number 15. To me there is no such thing as the perfect pushchair I always have about 3 or 4 on the go at each time one for every thing that i might dofor bus trips with all 3 kids i take my cybex ruby and my my baby in a sling as the cybex is super light weight and small when colapsed, for walks I use my p&t sports and take a take my wrap in case my oldest gets tired then i can pop him in the p&t, if i’m out with all the kids but with my partner I use my cybex for the middle child and either my bugaboo or loola for my baby. because I have had so many pushchair my friends always ask me which one is best but as there is no such thing i can only tell them what i think are the good and bad poits are and let them make there own mind up.

  30. After looking everywhere when pregnant and after years of being a nanny using everything from a silver cross to Maclaren and more!….I chose the 3 wheeler Quinny Freestyler (sounds like a car!) – all chunky with carry-cot and pushchair bits. Was told its probably too heavy too big etc but no, I want it! By Jan we are off to States for a wedding – Quinny too big to take so get Graco 3 wheeler from friend (getting a theme here) that is basic but lies flat and wasn’t too worried if it got bashed on plane! Come home, go back to Quinny but use Graco for hols and in the garden(!?) Then T (No 2 ) arrives. Decide eventually on Out and about (yes….3 wheeler!) double buggy. Great but No 1 at 2yrs old and SOOO grown up doesn’t want to go in it much! T loves it – can lie flat etc and highly recommend – not too wide – fits in shop doors etc BUT as Christmas comes realize that Our Clan and pressies and cot and the paraphernalia you need for Christmas in west county doing trips to all family members and the double buggy wont fit in car! Graco and Quinny also too big! So get a small toys r us version of Zapp! Then use it to go shopping and Zac too tired – so ebay a buggy board! T now using Quinny, buggy board fittings on for emerg use of board and all ok! (Still use Double buggy for longer trips and great to carry the bags!!

    So 2 children and 4 pushchairs!
    Feel like a novice compared to some of the above!

  31. I love prams i’m currently eyeing up my next one at this very minute the obaby zezu in dotty purple. my little girl is 20 weeks old will look so cute in it. Far better than the boring black one my other half insisted on buying, my opinion it looks like a tank set up with the car seat making the silvercross 3d into the travel system. with my little boy now 4. we went through a fair few silvercross classic freeway – great til the wheels started falling off. M+P Pulse was to high for my little arms. Zapp was great and funky in capri colour but didnt lay back. Chicco 4– fairly big and bulky. quinny speedi, hated the punctures. and finished off with the m+p beat as it was on offer in argos. i’d love to be able to give prams or pushchairs are proper testing as you dont get the same feel pushing them around on a carpeted floor compared to the bumpy street pavements. xxx

  32. Sarah I am currently using the Obaby Zezu Sport in black and green and I LOVE it, didn’t think I would as I’ve had an obaby stroller before and never got on with it but this is the bees knees lol 😀 Deffo worth every penny

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