Mountain Buggy +One – A Parent Facing Option?
We love the Mountain Buggy +One. However, our son has not been so impressed lately.
This is nothing to do with the +One, but more the fact that he is suffering really badly from separation anxiety – possibly attributed to impaired hearing, and he cries whenever he is forward facing. It reached crisis point a few weekends ago, (shortly after he was given hearing aids,) when he cried every time he couldn’t see one of us. We currently have no double pushchairs which parent face, and with summer upon us, we were getting desperate for ideas, especially as we need to be able to sign to him. At the same time, we were asked by someone to try out some potential parent facing options for the rear of the Mountain Buggy +One, so whilst the children played in the park at the weekend, we set about trying some ideas out.
As the photos show, we have had a huge success, because having the rear seat, sat upright, parent facing works brilliantly well for us!!
Before I continue, I need to stress that the Mountain Buggy +One is NOT designed or sold to be used in these configurations. We, as parents, not as the writers of Best Buggy, have made a choice for our children. We are NOT recommending that you do this, but we thought that our readers may like to have a look at what we have tried out, in the same way that we often post experimental ideas on Best Buggy to see how well they may, or may not work.
There are really three sets of photos here. The first set was my trial version in the park to see whether in theory it would work, and it looked like two back to back upright seats would work. In these photos we were missing the bar which goes between the two seats. The bar is put behind the front seat on the +One when it is in newborn mode (to stop the front passenger being reclined onto the head of the baby) and secondly in load mode – we assume to stop the load pushing the front seat forwards. It is not used in two seated child mode, hence not having it with us. The bar would anchor the rear seat, and prevent either child pushing the other forwards.
The second set of photos were taken upon our return. The bar was inserted. The seat pad was removed from the rear compartment, turned around and the velcro tabs were fixed onto the bar which left the seat pad, parent facing, at an approximately 45 degree angle. The very end seat fabric compartment nearest the adult, was unzipped – ie newborn mode – to give additional leg room. As the photos show, our 2 year old was fast asleep in the rear. However, there really is not enough leg room for him in this position. He is sleeping cross legged – which would be odd for most children, but our son often sleeps cross legged in our car, so its a comfortable position for him to be in. But it would certainly work for an older baby. The harness can not be done up in this position – we did contemplate a Houdini stop or similar on the harness. We think that it could be a little awkward to sit the child up after their sleep and to push the harness buckle back through the seat pad (although not impossible, but we haven’t tried this as yet). It may be easier to remove the child, push the crotch strap back through and harness the child back in again.
The final photos show that we extended the velcro tabs on the rear of the seat pad, so that the seat pad now sits upright – so both seats are bolt upright and back to back. We had a comment that the front seat looks very upright, but this is exactly as it would be in newborn or load mode. As the photos show, our tall (102cms) 3 year 9 month old fits very comfortably in the rear. With a simple 180 degree twist of the buckle, it is possible to harness the rear child in and there is no movement on the seat pad. There is loads of leg room even for our long legged toddler! The rear section of the seat fabric probably doesn’t need unzipping for a younger toddler. But as it is her brother who will go in the rear, we needed to check that she wouldn’t be frog legged in the front seat – and she looks absolutely fine in the front seat. She does choose at times to rest her feet on the front bar above the front wheel rather than use the footrest (it would be good if this flipped down or could be removed), but she can’t stop the front wheel from that position.
We also discovered that by simply pulling the buckle out from under the seat pad – a good tug whilst holding the seat pad with the other hand – that the seat pad could be lowered to just short of flat and is held securely on our +One by the velcro tabs. If we had longer velcro tabs, I daresay a flat recline could be achieved or also by undoing or releasing the tabs. We have put a lot of weight onto the slightly sloping seat pad and it held firm. We are still trialling this. We believe, and again we have not tried, nor are we recommending, that with the foot pouch zipped up at the base of the +One, that a jumper or coats or even a small bag or wedge could give a different degree of recline, but this requires caution.
Please note, that the child is not harnessed in when reclined. The shoulder straps can be fitted but the addition of a Houdini Stop, clip or an additional harness could possibly secure the child. We have been considering attaching a second longer buckle, too – or maybe one to the front of the seat pad? We think that it may also be possible to put a slit in the rear fold of the seat and push the buckle through, but we haven’t tried this.
Going back to the parents who originally wondered if this would work – they really were looking for a solution for their very young babies who were getting too large for the cocoon / rear compartment. Putting a slope onto the seat pad, does gain a couple of inches extra leg room compared to when the seat pad is laid flat. But a young baby should really be kept flat until 6 months old so would never recommend anything different to the guidelines.
This experiment was borne out of our own needs, but a friend has tried it with her two children in the +One and she said it worked well for them too.
We MUST STRESS that this was an experiment, which we hope Mountain Buggy will bear in mind when designing pushchairs in the future. We at Best Buggy DO NOT recommend you try this.