“ Brand: Mothercare / Type: Stroller „
Last month the wheels of my beloved Mothercare Citilite pushchair fell off dramatically (thankfully close to home). It had lasted 6 years and had been a trusty beast of burden for my two children until they were both 2+. My son is not able yet to reliably do the several miles a day that I walk so I had to dig out our off-road pushchair until my mum was able to bring up this Tangolite that we leave at her house as a spare. It's an umbrella fold pushchair (folds up long and thin) suitable from 3 months, that comes with a hood, raincover and a basket underneath. It retails in Mothercare stores for £54.99.
I hadn't used the pushchair for a while and was initially very pleased with the pushchair, not least because my son decided that he was happy to travel in it, whereas usually he is screaming and desperate to get out to walk...or should that be run away. The seat is slung between the bars of the pushchair, rather than have solid supports or a hulking great piece of chipboard like my other pushchairs. Seat positioning is somewhat limited with a toggle clip type arrangement. It will not lie all the back and just tilts back slightly until it rests against the back bars of the pushchair. This is fine for a 2 year old, but not so good for a small baby, who can look uncomfortable at this angle. I would say 6 months is better for this sort of pushchair than 3. A flexible plastic footrest supports the child's feet, but my son doesn't use it that often. A big reason for this is that having been used to a fixed footrest it doesn't occur to me to check that the plastic is in the right position for his feet, quite often after unfolding its vertical rather than horizontal.
Folding it is easy once you get the knack. A small lever on the right needs to be pushed with a hand or foot and then the handles need to move forward slightly or the latch just clicks back on again. Push the handles forward more firmly and it folds; held in place with a small manual catch which you need to put on yourself. Opening it is as simple as removing the catch and pushing on the handle at the back with your foot (which has 'Push' on it for those of us who struggle with these things. Folded dimensions are 106 x 27 x 21.5cm (Mothercare website) which is about average for an umbrella fold. After having a pushchair that folded into a rectangle and another which folds into a big square, the lack of space that this takes up is really quite refreshing.
As I said above my son enjoys travelling in this pushchair but as a parent I have to say it is a less than fun ride. Possibly if I kept this pushchair for shopping malls only, where the paths are clear and smooth I would love it more, but the pavements around my house are rough and pitted, making this pushchair quite hard to push and requiring quite a bit of force to propel. Despite promises of suspension I could feel every vibration in my wrists and arms which ached afterwards. The wheels are small and get easily stuck in potholes and I wrenched my shoulder on several occasions heaving my son onto a pavement. In addition I suspect I have been a little spoiled with a padded pushchair bar on my other pushchairs. When my son wants a carry, which he inevitably does now and again, I found it impossible to push the pushchair with one handle and carry him at the same time, especially if I had any shopping on the handles. With my old Citilite (which was smaller and £30 more expensive) I could carry and push with ease. I find the handles difficult to find a good position for my hands and the only positive is that I can cover the whole handle and my hand with my sleeve instead of having to wear gloves, something that wasn't possible with a pushchair with a bar. The handles aren't adjustable either, they are set at 102cm which makes pushing tricky both for my 5 foot mother and 6 foot 5 brother.
The Tango Lite comes with a basket underneath which is quite shallow and not very secure-its just poppered onto the metal frame. I returned some cookbooks to the library and I couldn't fit even the slimmest one flat at the bottom of the basket, due to the seat, and I couldn't lean them loose against the frame either. In the end I had to put them in a carrier bag and squish them in underneath, but it was a lot of extra faff. I usually just put a bottle of water and a packet of wipes under there, but its no good for lots of small loose things either. Thankfully I can put carrier bags on the handles as my son is large enough to balance them, but people with smaller babies may want to invest in some buggy weights for the front wheels to avoid that " Oh, God, my baby is upside down" experience when they let go to pay at a checkout!
Hopefully the baby would be held in by the straps which really are good. Adjustable and with a firm childsafe clasp, which doesn't cause blood blisters if your fingers are in the wrong position as you close it. My son doesn't have a hope of undoing this - not just because since we have started using the pushchair he has decided its much more fun to be pushed than walk and has turned into a big lazy heffalump. I have cleaned them successfully whilst they are in situ, so I don't know how easy they are to remove, but there are D-rings to put on a new set if you need too.
On the Mothercare website they talk about the Mothercare WeathershieldTM , which sounds very exciting. In reality it's a plastic rain cover which poppers onto the hood. There are only two poppers, one on each side and there are two Velcro fastenings at the bottom . Its quite short and doesn't cover the footrest fully so my son would get his feet wet if he allowed us to put it on. Instead he spends two minutes with his face pressed as hard as he can against the plastic until the Velcro at the bottom gives up. We are then handed the smeared plastic to fold back over the hood. The pushchair can be folded with the raincover on, you just need to push a little harder to fold. The hood itself just clips on and off and stays on quite securely. It isn't very effective at keeping off rain or sun, but the pushchair looks prettier with it on.
So, would I buy it again? Probably. A Maclaren is a much more pleasant umbrella fold stroller to push and fold, but its proportionally more expensive and we didnt want to spend a fortune on a pushchair that would only last 6 month to a year of occasional use. My daughter's school is just around the corner so school runs are walked and for longer journeys I use the three-wheeled buggy with pneumatic tyres. For an occasional, short use stroller its fine, its not brilliant, but for the price its pretty good. If I was starting again with a 6 month old baby I'd buy a pushchair with larger wheels, a bar instead of handles and a seat that reclines further than it does currently.