Friday, May 24, 2013

Product Review: Chicco Liteway Stroller

     Today Mason had his 4 month checkup and he is a big boy. He is off the charts for height and weight at over 27 inches and 16 lbs 7 oz. He is one ounce shy of doubling his birth weight, which babies are expected to do by 6 months, not four. I guess he's an overachiever like his mommy! Alas, I digress. What I am trying to explain here is why I needed to find a nice lightweight stroller. I was done lugging my heavyweight in an infant car seat!

What I was looking for in a stroller:

  • Accommodate an infant that is not able to sit up on his own.
  • Lightweight and not take up the entire hatch of my Prius.
  • Easy for me to fold and unfold while holding the baby.
  • Durable and versatile enough to grow with the baby.
  • Nice looking, low profile. 

After I came to terms with the fact that I will never be able to afford or justify spending $850 on this masterpiece, I began comparing a few different strollers. I really didn't want to spend a fortune, and I needed something right away because I had an upcoming trip with Mason. After comparing several different brands and models online with the help of some YouTube demonstrations, I ended up purchasing the Chicco Liteway at my local Buy Buy Baby. I was also able to use one of the store's 20% off coupons on this purchase which made it a great value.

The stroller came pretty much assembled, except for attaching two of the wheels, the canopy, and the cup holder. None of these elements were rocket science. I actually had the most trouble snapping the cup holder on, but managed to muscle it. I probably had the stroller assembled in less than 10 minutes.

Figuring out how to fold and unfold the stroller was a bit tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it, it became pretty quick and easy. The Liteway smartly makes use of foot pedals to lock and unlock the stroller into position, which is very handy when you are juggling a baby. Another handy feature is the hook that locks into place to hold both ends of the folded stroller together. The pieces are lined up perfectly so that when you fold the stroller down it grabs on without you having to use your hands and attach them. I did find this to be a bit cumbersome though when trying to unfold the stroller because it would get re-hooked while I was opening the stroller. The seat reclining mechanism was also very easy to operate.

The Liteway is well constructed and pretty durable. The seat material is a heavy weight canvas that I am sure will hold up over time. The front wheels spin as well as swivel to make turning easy. You can also lock the front wheels if you're strolling over rougher terrain where you need a little more traction. The ride is very smooth. The stroller survived being sandwiched between two other strollers, slung over the shoulder of an airline baggage handler, and dropped into the floor at the airport gate, so it can definitely take a beating. It's not the lightest stroller out there, but I have no trouble lifting it into and out of my car.

For Baby: This is the one area where I am not completely satisfied. The one problem I have with the stroller is the headrest area. There is a nice round padded spot for the baby or child's head, but they decided to sew the logo patch right at the top of this part. This makes a bit of a scratchy edge for my poor baby's bald head. The canvas material, while durable, is also not very soft or inviting. I would have liked to see a soft insert for infants, since the stroller is marketed for newborns to 40 lbs. I really couldn't see a newborn being totally comfortable in this stroller without doing what I did and putting a cozy blanket behind them. The backrest does recline into 5 different positions, including laying almost flat, which is excellent for an infant that cannot sit up yet (or even for a snooze at any age). Another feature I really liked was the adjustable leg support. You can lift it up to help prevent an infant from sliding down, or you can fold it down for an older child. The canopy is a good size and I like that is locks into place. The peek-a-boo window is a nice touch as well. There is also a boot that you can pull over baby's feet which will be great for cold and windy days.
For Mom or Dad: The stroller is a height that neither myself nor my 6 ft 4 husband had any discomfort in pushing. The handles are nicely padded and the cup holder is a bonus to have on a lightweight stroller.

The Chicco Liteway has a nice look to it. It isn't terribly flashy but I would say the look of it is better than average. It does come in some pretty snazzy colors, but my store only carried the red or gray option and I went with the gray. I should mention that the storage basket underneath the seat does detach and convert into a tote bag. Although I did not take advantage of this feature I can see it being useful. 

Overall I am happy with my choice of the Chicco Liteway. Though it could use a few minor improvements, it has some standout features that outweigh it's shortcomings. Little Bird seemed happy enough to be in it and it was definitely easy to travel through the airport with. We will surely continue to use this stroller as Mason gets bigger. 

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