My son got diagnosed with Leukemia last year, he was 4 years old then weighing approximately 14 kgs. But this is treatable in his case and it takes more than 3 years to treat this. In the meantime he has or will be having lot of trouble walking. Normal pushchairs can only hold children up to a certain weight. Maclaren's Major Elite buggy is specially designed for older children with special needs or for disabled kids .
My son was around 15 kilos and he was out of his pushchair habit already. But Leukemia changed everything. His treatment included taking steroids which meant he would increase wight by 2-3 kilos in a very short time. His chemotherapy meant he was too tired to walk or sometimes even lift his leg. I was carrying him to hospitals sometimes and just then I saw somebody in the ward using this pushchair. I thought that could be ideal for us. But it was nearly £250 to buy. It is not easily available in baby shops. It is generally available in online shops. Some hospitals or charities usually give them to be used when your child is in need. I was lucky to get one from chidren's cancer charity for free. If you can't buy one, I think you can contact one of the charities or your social service centres to try and get one for you. It is a godsend for us.
The buggy is quite lightweight- about 7.5kgs with footrest and 6.75kgs without it. It is tall in its height. It is suitable for kids from 2 years to 12 years, about 50 kgs.
It comes with a detachable footrest, raincover, sunshade. Shopping basket attachment can be bought separately. The footrest can be put at different levels according to the child's needs.
It has a 5 point seatbelt for children's safety.
It is a four-wheeled pushchair and each set of wheels are paired to withstand the extra weight of the child. Front wheels swivel 360 degrees for easy manoeuvering. Both the back wheels have brakes.
It is easy to assemble and to fold it back. It fits in easily in both my car boots but mind it! it is a long buggy when folded. Attaching the footrest can be a lengthy job everytime.
The quality is great. It is made of washable material- and with the treatment my son goes through, it needs to be washable.
Red and grey
The buggy is easy to manage in cities and shopping malls although it is a little bigger in size. It does turn eyes probably because of its size. My son is five now and still using it. Hopefully there won't be much need of this for us in future but for now, it is a must have car accessory for us!!!
It is taking most of our burden from us!
My Daughter has just been granted a Maclaren Major by her Child's special needs social worker for her 5 year old disabled Son.
This buggy has changed their lives. My Daughter was a bit reluctant to get one, because she thought her little boy would 'stand out' and be stared at, but she finds that actually, although it is obviously a buggy designed for disabled kids, she tends to receive more help on and off buses e.t.c. as people realise the child is disabled, and seem more compassionate and sympathetic.
The buggy is light, well designed, and although it doesn't recline, my Grand-son does sleep comfortably in it. It is light and comfortable to push, and goes into shop doors with ease.
It folds easily, and fits comfortably in the boot of the car, and feels sturdy and well built.
All in all, this buggy has liberated my Daughter, and her disabled Son, and transformed their lives for the better.
My son is disabled and when he started getting too big for a regular stroller our physiotherapist referred us to the wheelchair service. We asked to get the Major but the physio was reluctant because she felt it didn't provide enough support. The wheelchair service gave us a large comfortable pushchair which whilst it suited our sons needs is really big and cumbersome and didn't really fit in our carboot. We decided to buy the Major as a backup for travelling etc.
The Maclaran Major is more expensive than other Maclaren buggies and is considerably more expensive with less features. It only has one position - can't lie back and doesn't come with any extras. If you want the raincover you have to buy it separately which means you also need to buy the sun canopy as you need it to attach the raincover. The under buggy shopping basket is also extra.
The buggy is pretty sturdy. It officially holds weights up to 60kg so will last a while. Our buggy gets used quite a bit, gets folded and unfolded, in and out of car boots and vans etc and is still holding strong. Our son gets taken to various outings and activities in the buggy and is still in fabulous condition (we've had it over a year now). This buggy is not as comfortable as the one the wheelchair service gave him but he looks pretty happy sitting in it and as it is higher than a regular buggy he gets to see the world.
You cannot fold the buggy with the footrest or the sun canopy on which can be a bit of a pain. There are four folding points which whilst very safe means that it cannot be done with one hand. My son doesn't walk or stand so folding it whilst I'm holding him is impossible. It is also quite long when folded so may not fit into all car boots.
When opening the buggy the bottom folding point doesn't automatically open, you have to do it manually.
Cleaning is easy because there are no pesky grooves or folds. Pushing the buggy is very easy. It's light (so be careful not to hang heavy bags of shopping on handles) and has swivel wheels for easy steering.
Although the buggy does look like a regular buggy, the larger size does sort of identify it as a "special needs" buggy. I use public transport a lot (don't drive) so I need bus drivers to appreciate that this is considered a wheelchair and mostly they do. The wheelchair service is giving us a proper wheelchair because our son has outgrown the pushchair they gave us, but we will still use the Major as a convenient spare.
A bit on the pricey side but overall a good investment.
My son has always been big for his age, but unfortunately, due to a disability, he also finds walking very difficult. By the time he was three he found standard buggies very uncomfortable and it was time to get something a little bigger so that he could travel in style. A quick conversation with his physiotherapist led to a referral to the wheelchair service, where we were given the choice of either a wheelchair or a Maclaren Major, Now at the time we weren't all that keen on the idea of a wheelchair, somehow we still felt that there might be a miracle recovery, so we went for the Major.
~~~What does it look like?~~~
At first glance the Major looks like an oversize stroller, so much so that we get comments such as he's a bit big to be in a buggy isn't he?. It features a sturdy blue frame and the fabric insert is a nice mainly blue tartan check, believe me it looks very modern and as unlike a wheelchair as it possibly could be.
~~~How big is it?~~~
Make no mistakes this buggy is huge, it is tested to a weight of 63.5kg, which means it will easily hold a child upto the age 10 and above. But this size does have it's disadvantages, even when folded it's a squeeze getting it into a car boot, I can just about get it into a Ford Fiesta. The official size when folded is 117cm x 25cm x 21cm, and then there is the removable footrest to take into consideration, so make sure you have enough room for it.
~~~Is it easy to put up/down?~~~
While it's not particularly difficult to put up and the down, it's by no means a walk in the park. Firstly, there's the fact that the footrest needs to be removed, then there are a total of four safety catches/levers, one lever at the bottom of the buggy, one at the top and then two catches on the sides. Lets put it this way, it's not a one-handed job, so you'll need someone to hold the child while you put it up and down.
~~~Is it comfortable?~~~
While I've never sat in it myself, it does seem reasonably comfortable, certainly enough so that my son will fall asleep in it. Although it doesn't have a lay-back facility, the back is slightly sloped. There are also three positions for the footrest, which means as the child grows they will still be able to have their feet in a comfortable position. But, my son has needed the footrest at the bottom position for the last year and he's not even seven yet.
The only real problem comfort-wise is the lack of posture support, when my son is ill he tends to flop, and then he really needs support, which is one of the reasons we will soon be having a wheelchair instead of this.
~~~Is it easy to push?~~~
In a word yes! The front wheels swivel and it is very easy to push and steer over most surfaces. Although I say most surfaces, I'm not including sand or snow, as with most buggies it tends to sink in these and becomes virtually impossible to push.
Height-wise, at a relatively short 5 foot 2, I have no difficulty and do not tend to get back ache, and my somewhat taller husband also finds it comfortable to push.
~~~Is it safe?~~~
Personally, I feel the Major is as safe as a buggy will get. Due to the fact that the footrest needs to be removed before it can be folded and the number of safety mechanisms, it is impossible for it to fold accidentally and catch little fingers. It also features a five-point harness that can be adjusted to fit most children, which will keep all but the most determined child secure.
~~~Is it going to last?~~~
Well we've had this Major for nearly four years, so it certainly does seem to last for ages. The only problem we've had was that the handles broke, but this was easily remedied with a bit of electrical tape.
~~~What maintenance does it need?~~~
We've found that the buggy benefits from having a little WD40 sprayed on the working parts regularly, otherwise it gets a little hard to fold up and the wheels start squeaking. Other than that all that is required is a wipe down with a damp cloth.
~~~How do I get one?~~~
The cheapest way to get a Major is through your local wheelchair service. In order to do this you will need a referral from either a physiotherapist, Occupational therapist or consultant. They will then assess whether the Major is the ideal transportation for your child and then supply it.
If the wheelchair service has either provided wheelchair, or said your child doesn't need help you can buy a Major but watch out it will cost. Mothercare sell them for £200 as does shop.babyworld.co.uk.
~~~What accessories can I buy?~~~
There are a range of accessories available for the Major, most of which you will have to buy for yourself even if the actual buggy is provided by the NHS. These include :
Sunshade/hood : £29.55
Raincover : £21.99 (you need the hood to use the raincover)
Shopping Basket : £18.99
There are other accessories such as a footmuff and supports that are only available on order and I can't find the prices for.
As you can see the accessories are not cheap, and as this is not a standard size buggy, you can't use cheaper versions.
The Major has been a fantastic buggy, for the time that we've been using it. It looks like a normal buggy (that's been taking growth hormones) and has survived the rigours of daily use for the last 3-4 years. However, as my son has got older, we have had a lot more comments about why is he in a buggy, and we've found he doesn't get quite enough support especially when ill. We've therefore come to the reluctant conclusion that we need to trade this in for a wheelchair.
However, don't let this fact put you off, for the younger (or smaller) child with relatively minor physical difficulties this is ideal and certainly lasts longer than regular buggies.
Maclaren Major Elite - Advantages: High level of comfort for child throughout the seasons, Great street cred! Its so up to date in technology and style, Unbelievably easy to fold up, fold down, store, manooovre, push , get in and out of shops, up and down hills - the worlds' your oyster with this buggy, it knocks the socks off other buggies made with special needs families in mind! - Disadvantages: Can't think of any disadvantages except that if you buy the buggy from new you only get the basic structure buggy and will need to buy all the extras separately, but I would rather by the ones I need than pay for them and not use them, It's so tough it's difficult to see it wearing out, what a shame for those of us who like to shop- it won't need replacing for yearrrs., I'ts only made in single buggy form at the moment I think, perhaps one day they will adapt it to a tandem for those of us who love it so much but need to transport two children (or more).
The Maclaren Major Buggy Stroller is a convenient special needs stroller buggy for children to small adults.