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The Baby Jogger City Mini is such a lightweight stroller style pushchair which fits for birth, which retails at around GBP199.
I have to acknowledge that the sole reason I picked the City Mini is because it was the sole one that would really fit in the boot of my car!
I quickly found out that most pushchairs are really bulky when folded. The City Mini folds down to a tiny 77 x 52 x 16 cm and is exceptionally nicely designed, all wheels are removable to make it suitable for even the smallest of boots.With the boasts Patented Fast-Fold Technology, that means that you could fold the pushchair with the simple pull of a handle, this really is quite simple to do and could be done single handed. The pushchair can also be not difficult to reassemble, again this could be done single handed.
Once that is assembled (readily done in less than 5 minutes, having a really helpful manual), it's a vision to work with. It weighs 7.8kg so it's fairly light and consequently not overly difficult to move around. The only real problem I have is that the rear wheels are fixed, which sometimes makes turning a struggle.
The thing I really like about this pushchair is the multi position hood. There are three sections, as you may view from the picture and you can push on the hood back or have two, one, or all three sections open. I tend to have two sections open when my son is alert and erect, and lower it to three when he's asleep so it gives him more privacy and protection, as it is quite low down, or it's very gusty. The third and second segment have clear viewing windows so you may check on your own little one, the windows could be covered when not in use, or when another one is being used by you, so they do not look 'out of place'.
The pushchair has the standard 5 point safety harness, with adjustable height thus will stay a safe and comfortable fit. The seat reclines back, it's a thick clip that you use you want it so you'll have it yet you desire rather than in set locations to fasten it. The handle bar is fixed at 107 cm. This one is just right, although I am fairly tall so find some pushchair handle bars give me back ache. Additionally it is set back in the pushchair so you've got a lot.
The shopping basket is quite small, although it's going to hold a few bags. However this, combined with the fixed wheels are only minor discomforts, so I believe the Baby Jogger City Mini deserves a five star rating, and the pushchair is perfect!
The brakes are extremely protected, they will have always kept the pushchair in place, regardless of what surface they're on. I have taken the pushchair on the bus and both times the pram remained just where I set it - I was fairly suprised by this as throughout the bus would roll if I did not hold on tight!
As for cleaning, I haven't actually had to clean it quite frequently. I've had it nearly 6 months now have only given the frame the fast once over with some baby wipes when we've been on muddy earth. Plastic and the metal have consistently come up wonderful and it still looks new. I just remember cleaning the stuff around the seat when my son dropped a rusk that is soggy by the side of him (he doesn't eat in the pushchair regularly). I utilized a moist cloth on it, which appeared to work nicely - there's no trace left on the seat of it.
With our first son we had used our Silver Cross 3D all the way through from a baby till he no longer needed a pushchair as it was great for a toddler too. However our 3D was staring to get worn in the handles, wheels and was becoming a bit cumbersome to put up and down. We decided to change to a stroller when our second son grew out the pram section of the 3D. When we started to look for a stroller we had several criteria - it must be adjustable so if he fell asleep as we knew would be likely on school runs and I want him to be able to lay flat. It also must be easy to fold up and down and not take up too much room in the boot as we now had 2 children space was more of a premium than it had been when we just had our first son. We also want it to be easy to push over lumpy terrain such as gravel paths and muddy paths when we go out as a family for walks. We went to a local store Paul Stride with these criteria and they immediately recommended the Baby Jogger City Mini GT. As they felt this was the one which best fitted all of these needs. They recommended the GT over the normal City Mini for its suspension and wheel design as these are more suitable for more rugged terrain. My husband actually was the main one who wanted this buggy as he immediately felt it was easier to push and manoeuvre than the 3D my only concern was it totally blew our budget at £350 but having had it now for 6 months I wouldn't swap it for any other buggy out there.
The buggy was really easy to assemble it took me around 15 minutes to get all the wheels on, the hood attached, figure out how the harness worked and getting the settings right and be ready to go. The instructions with the buggy were really easy to follow and understand.
The seat on the GT is actually quite deep so initially when my son was 5 months old he did actually look a little lost as he was sat there with oodles of room. Now that he is nearly a year he still has plenty of room but certainly fills it more. This gives me great faith that the buggy will last till he out grows it at a pre-school age as there is plenty of both leg and body room before his head can get anywhere near the hood of the buggy. The seat itself is very well padded all around and compared to the padding on our 3D it certainly looks more comfortable. I like how the padding goes right to the edges so even as the child grows they are well supported. I would personally say that though they recommend that this buggy can be used from birth I personally wouldn't be happy using it without the carry cot you can buy as whilst it is padded there is no head support which a baby would need.
Reclining the back of the seat is done via a toggle this means that you can have it at any height you wish rather than designated heights on some buggies. The toggle is easy to lower with one hand and really does just glide down and I am generally able to do this without waking my son when he has fallen asleep. Putting it back up is a two hand job as you need one hand to adjust the toggle and the other to push the seat up whilst this sounds fiddly it is very easy to do and something that I like about the buggy.
At the rear of the seat there is a mesh material that is vented so when the seat is lowered you can not only see your child through it but so there is plenty of ventilation on hot days so they don't over heat inside the buggy and we never had this problem even on hot days during the summer. It also has a retractable weather shield attached to it that can be pulled down and fixed in place by Velcro. This has been very useful on cold winter days to keep my son cosy especially when it has been windy to stop him getting a draft. It is easy to use and when Velcro into place looks very neat. This is attached to the seat and can either be down or if not being used rolled up and stored via a toggle to the top of the seat.
At the rear of the seat is a large mesh pocket for useful items such as a mobile phone a few small toys or a snack I don't currently use this that much but do see a future when this will hold a snack and a toy for my son on trips to the shop as he gets older and needs more distraction than he currently needs as he enjoys just watching it all at the moment. It is easy to access and get bits in and out without waking my son too.
The harness is a five point harness and clicks in and out of place very easily and the buckle has a protector on it to stop it digging into children. The strap itself is actually quite long and sometimes this means for me at least it can get a bit twisted however this does un twist just as easily without too much tangles. There are 5 harness height settings so there is plenty of scope for adjusting these to the height of your child. They are easy to clip in and out of place and stay there very securely I find without digging into the child. The height adjust is great as my son has recently moved up to the second one and this feels much more comfortable for him and I feel sure this will continue to grow with him to enable him to be held securely in place but comfortable.
The hood is one of the more noticeable features on the pushchair as it is so large there are three large panels that come out. Two of which have windows in them so you can see your child inside the pushchair if you need to. The hood is easy to move backwards and forwards depending on whether you wish to shield your child from the sun or as I do when he is sleeping lower it to make it a bit darker inside for him. The windows are made from a clear plastic and make it very easy to see you child. The covering over the windows are held in place via Velcro we have never had any issue with them flapping but they are a bit noisy when you unstick them so I tend to if I have lowered the hood for my son to have a nappy roll the cover up and hold it in place open via the Velcro strap so I don't wake him opening and covering the flap. The fact that the hood is vast is great and acts as a perfect sun shield and my son never has had the sun in his eyes at all with the hood fully open. It also acts as a great weather shield for the wind and drizzly rain when I don't put the rain cover on. So for me a bit of noise on the Velcro is definitely outweighed by its weather shielding abilities.
The handle on the buggy is height adjustable which is great for accommodating the differences in height between my 5 foot 2 height and my husband's 5 foot 11 height so we are both able to have it at a comfortable level for ourselves. It is easy to operate by a push button at either side of the handle. The handle itself is rubber covered with a texture to it that makes it easy to grip even when wearing gloves in the rain and snow.
The basket underneath the pushchair is actually deceptively big as it is quite deep. It is easy to access from both the rear of the buggy and at the sides. It is made from a soft material that is padded underneath for strength and I find that it copes well with a trip to the shops and has had underneath held a full weeks' worth of fruit and vegetables with no difficulty. At times it can be a bit tricky to access the basket from the rear if the seat is fully reclined but then you just get the bits easily from the side so problem solved easily.
The fold mechanism is one of the main selling points of the Baby Joggers range of buggies in that you can do this one handed. It was this whizzing fold that sold it to my husband as we used to struggle with two hands to fold our previous 3D pushchair. With this it is a simple matter of unclipping the safety straps on the side of the pushchair then lifting the fold mechanism and it's collapsed down. I find that I can do this whilst holding my son in one arm and fold the pushchair with the other so it is nice and quick. It is also easy to do in reverse one handed too. Once folded it does take up very little room in the boot of our Ford Focus and when we went on holiday last year we could fit the pushchair and several soft suitcases and bags in the boot of the car so it fitted our small fold criteria very well. There is an auto lock to keep the pushchair folded when collapsed I tend to make sure this is on when I am putting in and out of the boot of the car as it makes it easier for me to handle it. However on the few times I have collapsed it on the bus I haven't as this has allowed me to very quickly to put it up again for use at the other end.
There are three 8.5 inch wheels to the buggy with the front wheel having suspension and this wheel can be locked into position. They also can be taken on and off easily if you want more room when it is folded down in the boot. Baby Jogger refers to the wheels as "forever air" and they have sealed ball bearings inside. What all this means is that it handles like a dream across all terrains that we have tried so far. As the pushchair is nice and light it makes it very easy to steer around obstacles on smooth surfaces for example in shops I can just use one hand leaving the other hand free either for another child's hand or a shopping basket. We have taken the GT on various family outings to different places with a variety of terrains this has included muddy paths, pebbles, grass and it has coped well and allowed my son to be pushed in comfort and at times fall asleep. Pushing the buggy over these terrains has been very easy and not taken much effort at all and the wheels and suspension has been great. In the recent snow that we have had I was interested to see how the GT would handle this terrain as our previous 3D pram really struggled and made it hard work to push it. In contrast the GT coped well and it glided really well on freshly fallen snow and I found it easy to go over this. On slushy snow it was a bit harder work it took a bit to get going but once it was it was not as hard work as the 3D and whilst I got warm pushing I certainly didn't break into a sweat. Steering the GT is really easy and we have no problems controlling or steering it in all conditions we have used it in. Turning it around and over bumps or to avoid hazards on the path is really straightforward and it takes minimal effort and responds well.
The brake for the pushchair is a hand brake at the side of the frame I find this very easy to operate and I like the fact that it is easy to tell at a glance is it on or off. When on the brake is very powerful and I find it virtually impossible to push the buggy with it on which is great as a safety feature. The brake works well on hill inclines as we found on a recent visit to Castle Howard when we pausing on various hill inclines and the buggy remained fixed in place.
Accessories are not really included with this pushchair which is my one gripe really I would of liked to seen at least the foot muff or the rain cover included instead you do need to buy these additions which takes the cost up further.
Overall this is a great buggy or stroller depending on which phrase you prefer. It is nice and light making it easy to control and manoeuvre around. It copes well with various different terrains such as muddy woodland paths pebbles and the cobbles of York. The large hood gives great protection against the sun and other elements. The seat is nice and large and comfortable for the children. The harness allows for growing room and is easy to use. The quick fold makes it great for public transport and to collapse the buggy whilst holding your child. The hand brake is easy to use and works a treat. I would definitely recommend this buggy if you like as we do day trips to National Trust properties and woodland walks as it is easy copes well with the terrain and folds easily for transport. I would have given it 5 stars but the tight Yorkshire person in me is deducting a point due to the fact you need to purchase the additional accessories such as a rain cover and a foot muff. It is available from Mothercare John Lewis for around £330.