Friday, August 13, 2010

Product Review: Baby Jogger City Mini

Baby Jogger City Mini Single Stroller, Orange/GreyI'm back to report on my City Mini! After having it for a couple of weeks, I think I've got a handle on the pros and cons of this nifty little stroller. And, when all is said and done, I am a fan, but it may not be as attractive to folks who live outside of a city.

First, and very importantly for my sanity (and aching back), the City Mini is super easy to fold one-handed and carry up our narrow stairwell. With just a pull of a strap on the seat, the stroller folds slimmer than my Snap 'n Go. And, at 16-ish lbs, its no trouble at all carrying Andrew in one arm and the stroller in the other. (Note: there is a set of safety straps under the stroller that you must unsnap from the stroller frame before folding and res-snap before strolling.

Also good: The stroller has the extra maneuverability of a three-wheeler, but it is still slim enough to fit into the tiny shops and bodegas in my Queens neighborhood. And, while it doesn't have the amazing all-terrain power of our larger Jeep Liberty stroller with its inflatable wheels, it is a breeze navigating the uneven curbs and sidewalks, even if I do need to pop a wheelie once in a while. I can actually steer the stroller one-handed, while talking on the phone or holding a drink, and opening a store door with my butt!

The sunshade is huge and amazing and keeps the sun out of Andrew's face at all times--though, when the sun is highest his toes and sometimes his hands get a little sun--and it has two open and close-able clear windows to check out what your little one is doing. Just be careful about leaving the peekaboo windows open in direct sunlight or sun will pour through onto your baby's head. Also, the seat fully reclines to accommodate a small or sleeping baby or serve as an emergency changing table.

Finally, I am just in love with the orange and gray color scheme of my City Mini. Andrew is traveling in style!

Now for the bad: The seat of the stroller has minimal back support, a little bit better than an umbrella stroller. This is a problem because Andrew ends up slouching in the chair (which looks uncomfortable, but he doesn't seem to mind) and throws off how I set up the height-adjustable shoulder strap of the 5 point harness. I hear tell that you can buy an additional support for around $8 from Baby Jogger, but I haven't tried to yet. Also, I had a bit of a hard time tightening and loosening the harness straps at first... but maybe I am just a spazz?

Also, the stroller storage basket could definitely have been made bigger (there's room for it), but as it stands I can't get even a medium-sized diaper bag into it. I have to hang my bag off the stroller handle, which you're not supposed to do, but which doesn't tip the stroller if it isn't too heavy. And if you want a parent console with a cupholder and a belly bar or child snack console it needs to be purchased separately. Boo!

And, finally, I wish the stroller handle telescoped out. I know that it is as short as it is so that the City Mini can accomplish its amazing fold-in-half feat, but the shorter handle means that even I at 5'4'' sometimes kick the axle when trying to look through the sunshade peekaboo window. My 5'10 husband hasn't pushed the stroller yet, but I have an inkling that he's going to be kicking the axle a lot (and yelling about it).

Wow... that seems like a lot more negatives than positives, but I do feel like the good points are so good for me that they outweighs the bad. I can live with a small storage basket, having to buy a belly bar, parent console, and back support because I really need a good quality stroller that is light, easy-to-fold, and maneuverable with an extended sunshade. If you don't live in a city, though, there are sure to be better stroller options for you.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Product Review: BreathableBaby Breathable Bumper

BreathableBaby Breathable Safer Bumper, Fits All Cribs, WhiteWe bought Andrew a BreathableBaby Breathable Bumper after we noticed he has started sleeping with his face pressed into the corner of his crib (eek!) Oh, how I wish that it worked for us, but I have to say it was a bust. Andrew is quite a rambunctious boy now (changing him is a full-body workout... for both of us!)  and the bumper just isn't padded enough to prevent him from slamming his head into the crib slats and crying. So we're back to getting up in the middle of the night and extracting him from the sides of the crib!

There are a number of positives to be found in the Breathable Bumper though. First, it is made of a squishy mesh that promotes airflow, lowering the risk of baby re-breathing his own air, and keeps baby's arms and legs inside the crib. It is relatively easy to install (only one tie in the back of the crib and some velcro), collapses to prevent climbing, and comes in a number of solid colors to match your nursery (white, cream, blue, green, pink, brown, mocha). Finally, it is not that bad of a price for a bumper at around $26 at most stores.

Like I said, I wish that this would have worked for us so that we could have some peace of mind, but if your baby is a mover and head-slammer like ours, you'll probably want to stick to a traditional soft bumper. I never anticipated the amount of worry that would come with Andrew being mobile! Its taking all I have to stop myself from putting him in a soft bubble. :)