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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Maxi Cosi Mura - The Sun Canopy Saga!

Regular readers will know how much I love my Maxi Cosi Mura. I have a 2010 Tango Red model which has done many miles off road travelling down muddy pathways, through dense forests, as well as trekking round the shops and negotiating small spaces with ease that is at odds with the sheer size of it. I used it with the Mura carrycot when The Boy was first born, then when he was six months old I packed up the carrycot and he started using the seat unit. The footmuff was brilliant from the time he was six months old right up until he was seventeen months old (and he’s tall) so it is a worthwhile investment if you’re going to be using the pushchair a lot in colder weather – we do a lot of walking regardless of the weather, so it was important to me that the pushchair I chose was going to be good in all weather, which brings me onto the issue I have right now with my beloved Mura.

It has a lovely big sun canopy, and a third panel which counts as the additional sun visor brings the canopy on the Mura right over the top of the child to the point where they can’t see directly ahead if they’re sitting upright. I find the additional sun visor helpful when The Boy is asleep, as it means I can completely shade him over and he sleeps well, but the problem with the sun visor is that because it blocks his view, if he’s awake, The Boy fiddles with it, and pushes it back out of the way. The sun canopy itself is clipped into place on either side of the Mura seat unit with two plastic brackets, and just above each bracket is a curve of plastic coming out of the Mura sun canopy fabric. On the 2010 model Mura, you have to ‘open’ both these locking mechanisms by pushing them out, away from the seat unit, and at the same time bring the sun canopy forward, because as soon as you let go of either latch it reverts into the ‘locked’ position. It’s a tricky process and there’s definitely a knack to doing it! But when the seat unit was in the parent facing position, it was just a little niggle and not something major.

One day The Hubby took The Boy out while I was at work, and when I returned that evening he said to me he’d had some trouble with the hood of the pushchair. The lock on one side of the sun canopy had got stuck, the canopy open, when they were out and he was trying to fold the canopy back to the closed position so that he could get The Boy out of the pushchair. He’d fiddled for ages with it trying to get it to work, until finally it popped off the side of the seat unit. He tried to get it back on, and couldn’t – upon closer inspection we found the bracket had bent out of shape, so it no longer would clamp into position where it should. It was also still in the locked out position on one side, and wouldn’t unlock.

Fortunately for us, we were still under warranty (12 month fabric warranty) at this point so a replacement was ordered. In the meantime, I did manage to bend the bracket back into a make-do that worked while we waited. When the replacement arrived, I checked it over and it was all OK, but as I’d managed to get the original back to something that did the job I decided not to put the replacement on immediately. After all, if it had happened once it could happen again!

Three months later, it happened again, and the original sun canopy popped off the seat unit again, the bracket once more bent out of shape. This time both sides got stuck, and both brackets were damaged, so we threw that sun canopy and put the replacement one on.

I had The Boy in the Mura parent facing up until very recently, because when we go walking I can get caught up in my surroundings and forget that someone else is there with me if I’m not looking at him, and I was conscious that if he was world facing it would be harder for him to hear me, he couldn’t see my facial expressions and be able to communicate back, and I wouldn’t be able to see if he fell asleep (or was ready to). Eventually I had to bite the bullet, as the footrest on the Mura is fixed to the chassis at the front, rather than being attached to the seat unit like it is for many other models. As The Boy got older, he had nowhere to rest his feet, so he’d hook them up and over the chassis handlebar sides or else he’d put them on the back wheels, causing us to come to a very abrupt standstill! I put the seat world facing a while ago and he seems happy with it – he hasn’t fallen asleep world facing yet, though he was becoming less likely to fall asleep while in the pushchair anyway – he’s just too nosy right now!

The immediate problem I found was that as soon as the seat was world facing, the locking mechanism to open and close the sun canopy was in line with the chassis handlebar sides. It was physically impossible for me to fit my hands in the gap, unlock the sun canopy mechanism and open or close it. Instead, I have to recline the seat back, to ‘reveal’ the locking mechanism, sort out the sun canopy and then put the seat back into the position The Boy wants to be in – normally as upright as possible! But because of how low the sun canopy comes, and the fact that it locks in position, you can’t do that and then get The Boy into the seat – you have to get him in the seat first – so then you recline it back and he’s fussing and flapping and worrying that you’re going to try and walk around with him lying back, which he really isn’t keen on doing anymore. Then once you’ve fussed with the hood and you put the seat unit back up again, you realise that the top of the hood is actually resting on The Boy’s head.

He is a tall child for his age – he’s around 88cm I think, but he won’t stand still long enough at the moment for anyone to check, I’m going by clothes sizes! However, he is still only nineteen months old, and the Mura is advertised as suitable for up to around three and a half years old (15kg) 

We went out yesterday on a fantastic walk – we left the house by noon and we walked for four hours in gorgeous sunshine (both of us coated in sun cream, him with hat, both of us with sunglasses and the sun canopy was up/out on the pushchair. We had a marvellous time and when we got home, I went to close the sun canopy and found the left side locking mechanism was sticking. I reclined the seat to access it, causing The Boy to become quite annoyed and start to flap around, but despite my efforts I couldn’t unlock it properly on the left side and it eventually popped the bracket off the seat unit fixing. Both brackets were bent out of shape, and there was no way of getting it back onto the seat unit as damaged as it was.

Fortunately for me, loads of other people have encountered this problem with the 2010 model as well, so a new design was brought out in 2011, then a further new design for 2012. I now have a 2012 style sun canopy which fits onto the rounded part of the seat unit (near the top) with plastic clamps, the fabric is ‘pinned down’ the side using elastic loops. It has a much better mechanism where you don’t have to mess about unlocking things to move the sun canopy, it’s just a standard push and pull to open and shut style sun canopy! As this design sits higher on the seat unit, it provides The Boy with much more head room so once again the Mura looks like it will be able to contain The Boy for much longer yet (it was starting to look silly because his head touched the inside of the old sun canopy). The section at the back now has a plastic catch to hook it in place and hold it there so you can’t over-pull the sun canopy and have it pop off the back of the seat unit, like it used to with the old one. It’s made such a difference to me, as silly as it sounds, because I no longer have to fuss about opening and closing the sun canopy every time we go in and out of shops, its much easier to live with than the old one and I’m happy that The Boy is more comfortable too because he has that extra bit of head room! It hasn’t compromised coverage at all, though I do find that if you recline the seat the hood stops protecting much, so I would definitely recommend a parasol for naps on sunny days, or a carrycot attachment for younger babies to keep them cool and shaded.

If you have a 2010 Maxi Cosi Mura and your sun canopy is broken due to the lock/unlock gets stuck and the brackets bend, I recommend you return to your retailer with proof of purchase and the damaged sun canopy so they can contact Maxi Cosi for a replacement sun canopy. I couldn’t get the 2012 style in Tango Red (the colour of my Mura) but I got it in Total Black instead and it looks fine (the Intense Red colour is too bright against the Tango Red seat fabric) My situation was resolved promptly and without fuss, and The Boy and I are thrilled to be able to report that we went for a lovely long walk this morning and thoroughly tested the sun canopy and found it performed very well!

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