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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Product Review - Pushchair Footmuffs

When The Boy was born it was the middle of summer, but I still chose to get the footmuffs available for the Maxi Cosi Mura and the Quinny Zapp as I realised that the colours I had (Tango Red for the Mura and Rebel Red for the Zapp) may be discontinued in the next collection and obtaining a footmuff to match might not be very easy. I got them and squirreled them away for future use.

Last winter, if we went out in the car and used the Zapp chassis it was with the Maxi Cosi CabrioFix carseat, for which I also had the matching Tango Red footmuff. The Boy was always lovely and warm in the footmuff, though I must say sometimes a little too warm – you have to be very careful not to roast them in the footmuff in the car as it is very generously padded and even in snow and freezing conditions, The Boy was plenty warm enough wearing just ‘indoor’ clothes inside the footmuff, he certainly didn’t need a hat or jumper or jacket or anything additional.  (On another note, I recently found out that you shouldn’t leave kids in too much winter padded clothing in the carseat anyway, not just because of overheating but because it means the carseat harness can’t be pulled as tightly as it should and in the event of an accident it leaves them too much movement before the harness stops them) Once I even drove in particularly chilly conditions with him in the carseat footmuff wearing only a vest and sleepsuit and when we got home he was as toasty as anything! If we went out with the Mura last winter he was in the carrycot so we didn’t need to worry about a footmuff then, either, as he was bundled up with blankets or a snowsuit to keep him cosy.

This year though, he’s travelling by car in the Opal which means we have to take him out at each destination and put him into the Zapp, or else if we’re out with the Mura he’s in the regular seat unit for it, and since he doesn’t keep blankets on very well I was glad I’d invested in both style footmuffs for when the weather turned. While it’s sunshine and blue skies again today, a couple of weeks ago was particularly chilly in this neck of the woods, so I got out the footmuffs to fit them.

First of all was the Mura footmuff. It’s not one specific for the Mura, it can be used with any of the Maxi Cosi pushchairs, and it’s very cute, featuring two legs that can be poppered together or left for the child to wave about as desired; The top part is a wrap-around style with Velcro fastening and if, like my son, your child wants their arms free there is a little zip either side you can undo and poke their arms through. In addition the footmuff has a hood, and while the outside is water resistant nylon the inside is beautiful soft fleece lined. It’s fiddly to fit and it took me about ten minutes to get it right and get the harness adjusted properly once it was in place (it took a bit of length out of the existing harness length so I had to adjust it to secure The Boy in properly) but since the harness had been on minimum and he’s now 13 months old there’s still loads more harness left so this wasn’t an issue at all. The RRP for the Maxi Cosi footmuff is £50 so it isn’t exactly cheap but it’s a generous size with different holes to match up with the holes on the Mura seat as you put the harness up to the next level so I think it will last a while and it provides a very cosy and warm environment for LO to snuggle down in. You can undo both leg sections with independent zips that start at the bottom and come up and out over the leg to the hip, so you can even use it when they’re a bit long for it and just have the zip undone and their feet coming out the bottom! The waistband of the leg section is elasticated and undoes/does up quickly and easily with a little plastic toggle on both sides and as the legs are separate it isn’t any trouble to use the footmuff on the Mura with the T bar still in place (The Boy loves the T bar because he holds it like motorbike handlebars and makes motorbike noises as we’re walking!) The only issue I have with it is the fact that once it’s on, you won’t want to keep fussing about taking it off/putting it back on again etc, so now the nicer weather seems to have returned as much as I don’t want to mess about with it again it really is too warm to put The Boy in for going out which is a bit of a pain.  It isn’t the type of thing you’d be able to do in a hurry, one handed while you grapple with the child with the other hand, so it’s not like you could leave it in the basket or in your nappy bag and pop it on while you’re out should the need arise, and it doesn’t come apart to leave a liner that you could just put the front onto at short notice, so this is a bit of a drawback. However once the winter really sets in and it’s left on there all the time The Boy is going to be lovely and cosy while we’re out (even if I’m not!)

Maxi Cosi footmuff Tango Red (Fits all Maxi Cosi pushchairs)

The Quinny footmuff is another story. A very long sleeping bag style footmuff, again water resistant outer shell with soft fleece lining, it’s absolutely huge and will easily accommodate a much older child than The Boy so you’ll definitely get your moneys worth out of it – RRP is £55 so again not a cheap purchase, but definitely worthwhile. It’s much more straight forward to get on and off the standard Zapp fabric, and with the Zapp Xtra seat it’s just as straight forward. While the style of the Quinny footmuff is more basic and it does mean that The Boy can’t get his hands out if it’s done all the way up, it does mean that his hands and arms are less likely to get chilly and I’ve found I can put his favourite cuddly toy in the footmuff with him anyway and he’s quite happy playing with that and nosing about. Similarly to the Maxi Cosi footmuff, the Quinny one has the harness for the pushchair coming into it to secure it in place and then secure in LO before you do it up and you’re off. The additional feature I love about the Quinny footmuff is the fact that you can remove the front section, leaving the rest of it as a fleecy liner for the pushchair if the additional warmth is not needed, and the front of the footmuff is small enough to be rolled up and put in the Zapp shopping basket in case you need to add it on while you’re out, which is a bonus. This means that I can leave the Quinny footmuff in place on the Zapp regardless of what the weather is like, as I can just add or remove the front of the footmuff as required. The only issue I have noticed with this one is if you use it on a Zapp Xtra. The Xtra seat unit has three different height settings for the shoulder harness straps, and the Quinny footmuff only has two – therefore if you’re using the Zapp Xtra with a young baby who needs the harness height at the lowest, you’re not matching up the holes with the lowest holes on the footmuff. This will then make the footmuff wrinkle right where baby will be sitting/lying and doesn’t seem very comfortable for them. I’m not sure whether this is something Quinny are intending on changing for the 2012 collection but it is something that other customers have also flagged to them on their Facebook page, so I know they’re aware and looking into it.

Quinny footmuff on Quinny Zapp Xtra Rebel Red

Quinny footmuff (for Zapp/Zapp Xtra/Buzz and Speedi)

All in all I am very impressed with the quality of the footmuffs and the size of them – I can see The Boy using them comfortably for some time and he is very tall for his age already – the additions of drawstring around the hood section on both footmuffs to keep chilly wind out of delicate ears is brilliant, and it’s a much better idea to use a footmuff rather than a blanket for The Boy as we’d be forever stopping to pick up the blankets, so I am a very happy mummy with my purchases!

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