Mamas & Papas Skate with Junior Seat Review
The Mamas & Papas Skate with Junior seat was a pushchair that I was eager to try out. On paper it looks like a great combination: a smart looking single pushchair, with a good reputation, onto which you could put an additional Junior seat for a toddler making a nice neat pushchair package for two. However, in reality this combination, to my disappointment, just doesn’t seem to work.
The Skate itself is a lovely pushchair. I will be honest and say I don’t wish to review the pushchair itself, more how the package works as a tandem. First impressions were good. A smart looking, well padded tandem pushchair on the footprint of a single buggy. However the Junior Seat looked very close to the upper seat. I understand that the Skate seat can be moved up to allow for more room, and I admit I didn’t check that it was on the uppermost setting, but given I was being given a guided tour, I would have expected the pushchair to be set up correctly. I put my eldest child into the Junior Seat. I had to thread her legs through a gap that looked very narrow – from the top I couldn’t see where they were going. My eldest is 2 and a half, and although tall for her age, her whole head pretty much sat above the top rim of the Junior Seat. The Mamas & Papas representative immediately said she would be better off in the upper seat. However, if I were to buy the Skate & Junior Seat combination, I would want and need my baby to be in the upper seat.
Why? First of all its important for small babies to see the parent if at all possible. Secondly, I need to see my baby. I need to know if he is unhappy, or hot, whether he has been sick, or is crying, whether he is asleep or awake. Thirdly, there is only a three point harness on the Junior Seat, which after having seen a pushchair tip in the past (not an M&P one I must add) doesn’t feel enough protection for a baby. Finally, (whether correct or not) I see a Junior seat like the one on the Skate really as a seat that a toddler can jump into and hitch a ride if they have tired legs to take a rest. I have to say at this point I fully understand that this Junior Seat is really an add on extra option accessory for a user who already has a Skate, so that they can turn their Skate into a double, rather than necessarily for someone who will buy a new Skate plus Junior Seat rather than another tandem pushchair.
My baby was very happy in the upper seat, but my eldest (who adores trying out new pushchairs) jumped into the Junior Seat happily but within a minute clearly wasn’t happy. She was wriggling lots, rocking side to side and leaning out trying to see around the pushchair whilst trying to undo her straps. I have to say I wasn’t surprised given her view was of the back of the front seat. From my perspective I had zero sight of her. I had to stop the pushchair and walk around the side to talk to her. I couldn’t hear her shouting at me, so I would not have heard my baby if he had been in the Junior seat. My daughter’s legs filled the mesh basket area, so there would have been nowhere to put shopping or a changing bag, and even if there was, she probably would have kicked it off.
I have to say, the Skate with Junior Seat was lovely to push – very easily, very light and it was lovely to feel a single back in my hands again. However, it was when I tried to go up a small step / kerb that caused me issues. I could not put enough weight onto the handlebar to lift the front of the pushchair with both children. I invited the Mamas & Papas representative to have a go and she couldn’t do it either. My big worry was the adjustable hinged rotating handlebar. In order to lift the front of the pushchair you really need to push down on the handlebar. I was really scared to put any more force on the handlebar than I was already doing lest I broke the handlebar or the mechanism. There was simply too much ‘give’ and wobble in the handle as I pushed down. Yes, as the M&P representative said, it may well have been easier to get up a kerb if the eldest was in the main seat, but I would have worried too much about my baby (who I wouldn’t have been able to see) at the bottom. Given that I couldn’t get up a small step in a controlled situation I would have been worried about trying to get up onto a pavement when crossing a road.
I have two more points I wish to mention. First of all there is no recline on the Junior seat, and with a toddler in the Junior Seat there is not enough room to recline the upper seat. I know my 9 month old likes to nap when out and about and I felt that both seats were too upright to allow this. Secondly because of the lack of recline, but also you are unable to put a carrycot on with the Junior Seat, the options for a newborn and toddler mode are limited to using a Mamas and Papas car seat infant carrier.
The Skate will fold with the Junior Seat attached which does make it a small fold for a tandem. This pushchair may well suit you, if you have a very car based life where you drive to your destination and need two seats for your children whilst you nip in and out of shops, the doctors etc. Or if you go around shopping centres with no kerbs, or have a town with lots of dropped kerbs. But as I said earlier, the idea is really for you to ‘upgrade’ your existing Skate to accommodate two children, and for under £100 it would probably meet a need. My suggestion is that you pre-empt your bored toddler in the bottom by spending another £60 or so on a portable DVD player and a DVD to strap around the back of the main seat to ensure at least an hour of happy pushing!!!
All round I have to say I was really disappointed in the reality of what is such a brilliant idea.
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