Buggies are ideal for short distances. They are small, light, have small swivel casters and are compact foldable. Besides functional models there are nowadays buggies on the market which, given their many extras, have evolved into mini strollers! As soon as children can sit up a bit and don’t want to miss out on anything in their surroundings, a buggy is a very convenient and additional option for them. In folded state, a buggy hardly takes up any space, which is convenient in public transport, airplanes and even on bicycles with special buggy carriers. The latest models can be folded into such a small package with their 3D folding technique that they even fit in a backpack!
The catch-up process of buggies
Functional buggies are inferior to full-fledged strollers because of the stiffer springing, narrower seat, less comfort, lack of a carrycot, reducer, foldable seat and fewer reclining or sleeping positions. For long walks in the forest or park, a stroller is usually a more comfortable alternative, especially if the baby is still very small. Buggies are significantly affected, because of a first, second and sometimes third child climbing in and out, groceries you can hang in and on the buggy and riding through sand and pebbles. Reasons enough for parents to make the choice for a little quality!
The latest buggies have really been catching up in luxury and comfort and approach the quality of a stroller. They can be set in different positions in no time, including a sleeping position, have a sunroof and place for small groceries. Most buggies can be folded with one hand and there are already buggies on the market with an automatic folding system.
Buggy designers speak
Lead designer and sustainability expert Aernout Dijkstra-Hellinga of bugaboo confirms that buggies have changed a lot in the last five years.
‘Where in the past the buggy was only bought as a second stroller, where the lack of comfort, ergonomics and ease of riding was taken for granted in favour of compactness, I see that nowadays people expect a lot more from a buggy. The trend is that people also want a buggy that steers and rides well, with good suspension, good ergonomics for the child, sufficient storage space, sufficient adjustment possibilities for the parent and a good building quality. A buggy can also be the first and only vehicle for many people living in larger cities. People also want a buggy that fits the style of the parent / carer, design has become much more important’.
According to Benoît Guillet, category manager at Dorel, the buggies are mainly lighter in weight (6 to 7 kilos), but also more compact and easier to fold into a package that can stand upright and be taken on the plane as hand luggage. ‘A buggy has to be versatile, which means: use from birth up to four years of age, on which a child safety seat or soft carrycot can be secured, good suspension and larger wheels’.
Easywalker’s design team also noticed the change that the two handles have been exchanged for a single push bar so that the buggy can also be controlled with one hand, and many folding methods have been developed for compact-fold buggies. ‘We see that with several buggies on the market, a number of features have been taken out of the design in favour of weight and compactness. For example, most buggies now have 4 wheels instead of 8’.
What are important principles for making a good buggy?
Easywalker design team: ‘With all of our products, the most important principle is that they are great to ride, even after prolonged use. Compactness, comfort and ease of use are also important principles. The buggy must be easy to fold in and out into a hand luggage size package that is easy to store both when travelling and at home. All our buggies offer the possibility to bring the seat into a full reclining position, so that the child can sleep comfortably in it and the buggy can in principle be used from birth’.
Aernout: ‘We always go for the best quality, both in construction and in materials, so the buggy can last at least 10 years. We are also thinking about how the buggy can be recycled . Partly because of this, we recently won the prestigious Baby Innovation Green Award. Ergonomics for parent and child is very important, we think carefully about where and how the child is positioned in the buggy. For example, a good back support and a correct upright sitting position develops good ‘core’ stability. It must also be possible to adjust the handlebar to the correct height for perfect riding behaviour, in combination with sufficient walking space. Because we want to give as much value as possible to the user, our buggies are usable from birth. The seat can also always be used towards the parent because contact between parent and child is essential. Finally, we pay a lot of attention to the appearance of the vehicle, looking at the smallest details such as the connections of the screws, but also what the vehicle looks like when folded up. A bugaboo product should look perfect in all positions!’
Are there any new materials and techniques you use?
Aernout: ‘For almost every stroller we design, we have to come up with a new way of setting and folding. Each stroller has a unique set of features in terms of functionality and appearance, so we have to brainstorm our ideas every time to make this combination perfect. We are always looking for materials that have less impact on the environment. We look at how we can execute our parts with less stressful materials, this requires a different way of engineering and construction. We are also looking at how we can use as many recycled materials as possible’.
Easywalker design team: ‘The fabrics of the Easywalker Miley are made of recycled plastic (including PET bottles). A small modification with great impact on the sustainability of the product. Also, the Easywalker Miley is our first vehicle with the ‘Unique Accessory System’. By means of a unique click system, accessories can easily be attached to the push bar and the bumper bar. The accessories we release for this purpose are a handlebar for the child, a cup-holder, an LED light for good lighting in the dark and a telephone holder’.
Buggy wishes for the modern parent according designers:
– riding nicely even after prolonged use
– good suspension
– easy compact folding, hand luggage size
– preferably with lying position
– good quality materials
– storage options
– nice design
– thinking about recycling materials
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