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Expecting Lauren, my parents were adamant that they were buying the pushchair (apparently its a tradition). Not having a clue of what we needed, we went into a little baby shop while we were on holiday. After having a look at what seemed like 100s of pushchairs, we opted for the Graco Travel System. It seemed to have everything we though we would need and was at a bargain price of £169.99 which included a raincover, cat seat and pushchair. It was then left at my mums for another 6months and never touched again.
It is quite a bulky pushchair, measuring approximately 95 x 34 x 41 cm when folded which was ok when we went out in our Zafira however it would not fit into the boot if my Corsa.
The Travel System:
- Easy to attach the car seat so the system, just a couple of clicks.
- When both hoods were extended, there was a gap at the top of about 1inch, so if you had forgot your raincover or parasol, Lauren was a little exposed.
This was really easy to use and steer, the shopping basket was really big and I was able to fit my change bag in there.
- Front lockable swivel wheels.
- Fully padded seat
- You can adjust the seat and recline to a full lie-flat position
- Padded head support
- 5 point harness
- Snack tray
- It can be a bit tricky to fold the pushchair down, there is a certain knack to this and it did take me a couple of weeks to get the hang of this but once I had, it was really easy.
- It can be a bit fiddly to try and put the seat back into an upright position it Lauren was sat in it.
- The snack tray unclips one side and as Lauren got bigger she was able to do this herself, she did catch her fingers a couple of times.
- Whilst the shopping basket was big, if Lauren was fully reclined, it was not easy to access things in there.
- Quite bulky, especially if you only have a small car. Even in out Zafira, it still took up quite a lot of space.
The Car Seat:
This was suitable from birth, I did not purchase the in car base to go with this, however it was really easy to fit each time as you just feed the seat belt through various points of the car seat.
- Reinforced body insert and head support designed for newborns
- Adjustable canopy
- Adjustable 3 point safety harness
- Side impact protection
- Multi-position handle
- As I didnt use it with the base, it was easy to swap between cars meaning that until Lauren was approaching 1, we didnt need to purchase two car seats.
- Initially Lauren looked a little 'lost' however you do get an additional head support included.
Accessories are really cheap as you can buy universal products, my footmuff cost me £15 and parasol £8.
Overall, I would recommend this range, although there may be fancier products on the market, this does everything you need it to and inexpensive in comparison.
I think the price to but now is less than what we paid (I think we paid a bit more as brought from a little independent shop) and you can pick a used one up for less than £50.
Thanks for reading.
Product specifics provided by Kiddicare.com
I got this travel system as one of my many pre-baby presents from my In Laws. I actually chose this system myself because I liked the idea of having a travel system - pushchair with a car seat.
This is a good car seat. Durable, sturdy and most importantly not rocket science to fit into the car! We brought my son home from the hospital in it and still use it now seven and a half months later - so the promise of being able to use it until they reach Group 1 (12 months) seems to be holding true as it's not too small for him yet.
However, there were a few things I wanted to point out. First of all the material. As it's synthetic it does make my son sweat very heavily. Just as well the car seat has a removable and washable head rest! The seat itself isn't very padded out so if you're going on a long journey expect to make lots of stops to get baby comfortable again, but with short journeys I haven't found this to be a problem.
The car seat is also very easy to fit so isn't rocket science.
As we didn't know the sex of our baby we went for a unisex colour - which turned out to be a navy blue with silver trimmings, it had looked lighter in the catalogue! I had wanted the darker colour so that if it got grubby it was less noticeable. I am glad we chose this colour now because obviously we had a boy (as sexist as that sounds blue does suit little boys).
It also came with a rain cover, detachable hood, play tray at the front and a generous sized shopping basket that will take 5kg of weight. The Argos catalogue made promises that the pushchair cover is removable and washable but I still haven't figured this out so have resorted to wiping it down - which does a good job as any.
It also has 3 recline positions. You can have baby lying flat on their back, propped up a little and sitting right up. We have also just moved it back a bit as our son was starting to outgrow it, but it is adjustable with their height and the play tray is removable for when they really start to fill out and grow down, with a neat little foot rest for them to put their toddler feet onto.
The wheels at the front also have great suspension and swivel and lock wheels to the front. I have been using the swivel wheels all the time and find this gives a nice fluid movement round corners.
When folded it's not a space eater, too! It folds to a compact L86, W49, D36cm and can be folded one handed (although for the life of me I still can't do this one handed, or even two handed! And whenever my husband folds it it does require a bit of force to get it down).
The handle bar is also height adjustable which is great as my husband is a tall 6ft2 and I am 5ft6, so we can adjust the handlebars up and down to suit our needs and this is very easy to do - just press in and push down on the handle bar and lock into place by letting go of the two buttons either side of the handlebar.
This is a great travel system and I can really see it going the distance.
I bought this for my daughter for 150 euro in Smyths toy store just two months before she was born. I was looking for a simple all in one buggy that I could also use as a car seat for the first 9 months. This suited my needs perfectly and cheaply too.
I have always found Graco to be an excellent brand as they are so affordable and their products are reliable and dont tend to break or wear as quickly as cheaper alternative makes.
This travel system consists of a buggy which has a 5 point harness, reclining back, a food tray and a large storage basket beneath. I found this basket was really useful as I could fit loads into it. Saved me when I forgot my bags!
It is not the lightest of buggies and can be a bit of a haul to push around town all day but as I knew my daughter was going to be using a stroller in a few months I really didnt want to spend money on an expensive three wheeler just for the sake of it.
There is also a baby car seat which can be used while your child is under 9 months old. It can be placed in yor car easily and taken out and just clicks into place into the buggy turning it into a pram. I loved that I was able to see my daughter when she was very young and how if she had fallen asleep in the car seat I wouldnt have to disturb her and take her out.
There is also a window in the canopy above the seat that you can look through and see the child. After a while I took off the bar going across the front as I found it wouldnt fold properly with it on. However if you are using the baby car seat this has to be left in place for the car seat to click into place. It was very easy to store away even though it was quite heavy and did take up a bit of room in the car boot also.
Its good for value and if your not going to be passing this down quickly to your next child I think its a bargain. Otherwise I would go with a better model if aiming to have more children soon after your first.
The Graco Mirage was my very first Travel System way back in 2006. At the time I was expecting my son and I was pretty clueless about what was out there in the way of baby transport. When my husband (well he was my fiancé then!) and I went to baby shops we were totally bewildered and baulked at the prices of the Mamas and Papas systems. We also didn't have a clue about fitting car seats to cars and the first couple of times we went in to the shop and left with nothing. As much as I looked at some strollers and thought "wow" we didn't have the money to splurge on baby goods at the time. We needed to find an inexpensive alternative.
It happened that we saw a Graco Mirage Travel System in the pram shop sale about two months before our son arrived. It was reduced to £105 which seems like a total bargain even now. For that price we were getting the pushchair with the car seat that could clip on to the frame to become a travel system. We were delighted. The colour scheme was Metropolitan. It was black and grey. Admittedly looking back I can see that the fabric was a little on the cheap side, but when it was new, it looked absolutely fine. In fact people thought it was lovely when we brought our son out in it.
For the price we only got the stroller and car seat, we purchased a footmuff, rain cover and a base for the car seat separately. Even buying them separately turned out to still be half the price we would have paid for one of the more expensive brands. We left the pram shop that day feeling really happy with our bargain.
Now, to be fair to the Mirage, it really was a little workhorse of a system. After my son grew out of the Car Seat at around 10 months I gave a friend who is a childminder the whole system. By that stage I had finally developed an interest in what was out there and thus began my Pramaholic stage. My friend still uses the stroller part on a daily basis, 3 years later, and the system is going as strong as the day it was bought. I don't miss it, as I have owned some corkers since there, but at the same time I still feel very strongly that Graco is very underrated. It was excellent.
The stroller of the Mirage is a single handlebar model. This works well with one handed steering should the need every arise with you. It also has a very spacious basket underneath. Access to the basket is good, with no bars blocking the way as you may find with some other strollers. To recline there is a little click button and there are three settings, so your child will have to suit one of the three options. This is usually adequate.
To fold there is a clip on either side and when you release these you basically fold the stroller in half. Although it is quite square when it is folded, you will find that it fits into most car boots pretty easily. It is also quite light to lift. The first time it took me a few tries to get it folded and in the car, but it became second nature. It really was simple to fold- not like a lot of others currently on the market.
While I wouldn't say that the Mirage stroller is one of the more manoeuvrable versions on the market, it is still perfectly fine for scooting around the town. The wheels are plastic and so they will wear down, but this is to be expected. If you have a look around you when you were out and about you will see plenty of Graco Mirage Travel Systems that are in old colourways, and have obviously been used for more than one baby in a family. This is always a good omen; it proves that the Graco range is built to last.
As a Travel System
The Graco Mirage is a budget Travel System, but this does not mean that it is rubbish. The Autobaby car seat that comes with the package is actually pretty good. It is robust and feels sturdy. You do lose out on the quality of the fabric, and we found that our son was a little sweaty when we used the seat, but it was a minor issue as he was not in it very long at a time anyway. The Car seat is a Group 0+ which means that it will suit your child up to 12 months/ 22lbs. We had a very big child and he did get tight in the autobaby car seat at 9 months. So I used another seat that a friend had lent me to see him through until he was able to change to a group1 car seat.
To put the Car Seat on to the stroller you simply click it on top of the seat unit, on to the little tray at the front. No adaptors are necessary which is always a bonus. It did stick on the stroller a couple of times on me when I was trying to get it off by using the handle at the rear, but I worked out that you could remove it by popping your hand under the tray and unclicking it from there.
The Car seat had an optional base for inside the car. We purchased this and it was very good. It was like the stroller as you simply clicked the car seat into the base and released it using the handle at the rear of the car seat. I always found this very convenient. I'm not one for standing trying to fasten seat belts over car seats!
People can be terribly snobby about the Graco range of Travel Systems in the U.K. Although in my opinion you are getting a very good value system when you buy one. Yes, I've moved on to fancier, all singing, all dancing strollers from my Mirage, but I never look back and think that it was a mistake. It did a very good job for us and it's still on the go almost fours years since we bought it. My friend has washed the fabrics many times and it still looks fine.
You wont get cutting edge design with the Graco mirage. It's a bit plastic looking and it doesn't support the popular brands of Car Seats such as Maxi-Cosi or Mamas and Papas. But still, it is a little trooper. It keeps going long after others have given up. I'd give it a 4/5 over all. My only issue is with it's appearance. The synthetic fabrics do it no favours (even though they wash like a ribbon!)
Prams and pushchairs have really changed (and improved) in the eighteen years since my eldest son was born. Back in the day, prams were large, bulky and impossible to fit in the back of a car. Carrycots were little better, although the frame could be folded to fit into a car, this was often a convoluted affair that risked trapped fingers and a lot of frustration. Public transport was definitely a no-no with a new baby in tow. Today things couldn't be more different, prams and carrycots are out and all-singing, all-dancing travel systems are in. When looking for one of these systems for our new arrival, we were severely constricted by our budget, the system I'd set my heart on was several hundred pounds out of our range, but the Graco Mirage City fitted the bill at a very reasonable £129.99 for a pushchair, car seat and rain cover.
===Out Of The Box===
The Mirage came part-assembled in a very large, unwieldy and heavy box. This certainly isn't an impulse buy, you will need transport to get it home. It is fairly simple to put together, although you will need to have a hammer handy. The only difficulty was attaching the front wheels, these take a lot of force to click into place, get it wrong and the wheels will fall off mid-journey as we found out to our cost. Once assembled the Mirage is functional rather than stylish, with the City consisting of mainly very dark blue material with silver highlighting, it is unisex if verging a little towards baby boys.
===The Car Seat===
The first part of the system that we used was the car seat. This is a group 0+ car seat, which means it's suitable from birth to 13kg (approximately 12 months). We brought baby Freddy home in this very seat and although it is nicely padded, the straps are easily adjustable and a head hugger is included, he didn't appear to be very well supported and tended slip slightly to one side. In fact it's only now, two months later, that he's starting to look a lot more comfortable.
Getting this secured in the back of a car can be a bit of a struggle. Although there are instructions on the back of the seat, these aren't very clear. Depending on the car, the seatbelt sometimes only just fits around the car seat , but once in place it is very secure. The supplied canopy is of a fairly good size and does a reasonable job of keeping the sun out of Freddy's eyes and is easily detachable. The carry handle is also easy to click into place for carrying and move back out of the way when not needed. The seat can also be easily rocked when on the floor as it has a curved base, but I wouldn't really recommend keeping baby in here for long periods as Freddy (at least) seems pretty upright while in it and it doesn't seem brilliant for his posture. Should the car seat get particularly dirty, the covers are removable and suitable for machine washing at 30 degrees.
The pushchair can be used from birth with or without the car seat. When using the car seat, it easily clicks into the base, but can occasionally be difficult to remove. With the car seat in place, baby is rear-facing, which means you can interact with him while on the move. This is something I love, being able to chat to Freddy about everything and everything, it also means I know as soon as he's been sick. By combining the car seat canopy and pushchair canopy I can also keep the sun out of his eyes and yet still keep an eye on him through a clear plastic viewing window on the pushchair canopy.
When using the pushchair without the car seat, there are three lay-back positions including completely flat and it's easy to adjust the position using clips. So far I've only used the completely flat position, and even though the seat is nicely padded with raised sides, Freddy does always look a bit lost in the seat. The five point harness is easy to adjust and secure, but even at it's tightest is a little loose on 8 week old Freddy. For added security there are also D rings to which a separate harness can be attached. The main reason I don't very often use the pushchair on it's own (at the moment) is that baby is forward facing, meaning there's far less interaction. As with the car seat the covers are removable and machine washable, but this is considerably more difficult.
Although this is advertised as being able to be put down one-handed, it's something I've never managed myself. It always takes two hands to operate the closing mechanism and is something I can't manage while holding Freddy. Opening the pushchair up is another matter, it can be done one-handed and easily at that, but beware little fingers getting caught in the mechanism as I caught my hand and it hurt. Once closed this flat folding pushchair still takes up a lot of space, only just fitting in the boot of a small hatchback.
===Out and About===
The pushchair itself is very easy to push, the from swivel wheels make steering a breeze when out and about in town or paved areas. The handle height is non-adjustable, but at 103cm is perfect for 5'1" me if a little low for 5'8" Daddy, the handle also has a foam grip that is nice and comfy on the hands, even on long journeys. I live in a very rural area, walk a good distance every day and as long as I stick to paved areas I find the Mirage comfortable to push and easy to steer. If, however, I veer off onto grass or gravel, then things become considerably more difficult even if I change the front wheels to fixed. Being made of plastic, the wheels are not very sturdy, and I don't think this really helps when going over uneven surfaces. The brakes are easy to operate and work extremely well, even on quite steep slopes, I've never had any problems with the pushchair running away on me as long as the brakes are correctly applied. When it comes to getting this buggy up and down stairs (at train stations etc), it is very heavy with a combined weight of 11kg before baby is taken into account, and it's not sturdy enough to be bumped up and down.
The supplied play tray is a nice idea, even though in practise it can be a little impractical. I have found that it is already scratched, simply because of the way the pushchair folds and unfolds means it hits the floor. The play tray does need to be left attached if the car seat is being used as it supports the car seat. The rain cover is a good size, fairly easy to fit, even without instructions and nicely covers the whole system even when the car seat is in place. While the shopping basket is of a reasonable size, it's not overly generous, I can fit in the rain cover and a couple of bags of shopping, but no more.
This isn't a bad travel system, especially for the price. It does the job and makes getting out and about with baby a little easier. Personally, I'm a real believer in 'you get what you pay for' and this is budget system, the car seat is actually pretty good and the pushchair isn't that bad either. If you can afford it, then I would recommend going up a model or two. But if, like me, you are on a very tight budget then you could do a lot worse than the Graco Mirage travel system.
I got the Graco Mirage in Blue in the January sales in 2005. I was pregnant with my 1st baby and very excited it looked smart, Car Seat, Car Seat Base, Rain Cover. Matching bag and a few little bits. I really couldnt wait to see my baby in it and let every one see my tiny bundle in this blue pram. Then i had my sexing scan and i was having a girl. But i kept it and when i had her i couldnt wait to use it. Now dont let this put you off to much as this could have been my own fault, but i used it when my daughter was 2 weeks old i had a c section so didnt get put m,uch so when i did i was overjoyed at people staring at my bundle and it was my birthday, then the front 2 wheels fell of in the middle of the road. :( It is a great pram and i still have it to this day but unsure if to use it with the new baby. What if that happens again. Wow was a scary experience
The Hauck Speed Sun - Hide N Seek Pooh is a Single Seat Umbrella.