Newborn Mum: Baby’s Valco Chariot

Posted by Lyndal on Thursday May 26, 2011 Under Baby Travel, Newborn

After extensive research that would rival many a post-graduate thesis, we made a decision on a buggy for Baby: the Valco Baby Matrix Dart Plus. In taupe. Husband’s choice of colour: but now that we’ve got it, I have to confess that I’m glad I trusted his uncharacteristically stylish judgement.

So, we’ve had the baby – and the pram – for a full month now and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. On both counts. A review of my baby would be overwhelmingly gushy, so I’ll stick to commentary on the fab three-wheeler from Valco instead.

The pram itself

It may not be the lightest option on the market at 11.5kg, but it really is just so easy to fold up and put away, and a dream to wheel around. It folds up in two easy steps, and opens in one. It fits fabulously in our boot because it isn’t too long or too high. While the bassinet does take up some space in our boot, it is fantastically spacious for our newborn baby. She finds the bassinet so comfortable and does tend to sleep well in the bassinet (as you can see from the picture).

The Valco Matrix Dart maneuvers around corners and niggly little shopping aisles with ease. There are three main modes for this tri-wheel pram. The first mode is to lock the front wheel to straight, the second is to allow the front wheel to swivel and the third is to lock the front wheel to a 45 degree angle. All three modes are useful in different situations. For instance, the third mode may be useful for additional stability when a toddler seat (and toddler) are added to the pram (not happening any time soon).

We’ve tried the wheels out in a few settings – and they’re terrific. I mostly use the swivel setting, because it keeps a really straight path if you steer it that way, and then you can move around obstacles easily. The Valco Matrix Dart comes with a pump – so you can give your tyres a boost at any time!

Baby’s little chariot has ventured over grass, pretty hard going gravel, sand at the beach (no joke, it even works on sand – although I give it a good clean afterwards), on footpaths and we’ve had the pram inside the house (it tucks away quite neatly). Dad has taken Baby for a stroll at a nice leisurely pace. I have powerwalked to the shops and managed to get the buggy over stairs, footpaths and bumps along the way without Baby losing a wink of sleep. We’ve also taken our stroller out in various environments: grandparents’ house, inner city cafes, shopping malls and parks – and it really does just work well no matter what. It’s not too big, not too small, not too cumbersome. Bit of a Goldilocks thing.

I love the handle, which adjusts to different heights to suit Mum’s, Dad’s, Grans – and to enable you to rock the buggy comfortably when sitting so you can settle the little one when out and about. I also keep the peek-a-boo window open all the time. It’s made from a lovely mesh (not clear plastic) – so again, it lets air in to Baby but also lets you spy on what shenanigans she’s up to in there. There is additional ventilation at the back of the pram near the pouch too.

The pouch located at parent level is great for your wallet, phone, car keys, with plenty of room for a spew cloth, antiseptic wipes and a digital camera. So you really can go out for a walk bag-free (which makes life so much easier). The shopping cart at the base of the pram is easily accessible and does accommodate quite a bit, mind you. This Newborn Mum has managed to comfortably fit supplies for dinner, additional groceries, baby’s gear like her portable change mat, wipes, creams and cotton balls all in the cart at the base of the pram.

The brake is nothing short of a dream to operate. Flick it up with your toe, and down with your toe. It doesn’t catch. It’s not hard to get to. And you don’t need foot muscles that are steroid-enhanced to operate it. Another really nifty safety feature is the wristband, which I make it a policy to use given that in my sleep deprived state, the buggy really is likely to get away from me if I absent-mindedly forget to engage the brakes.

All Weather Newborn

The material is durable and weatherproof, keeping Baby protected and snug – ready for all weather. A neat accessory for the pram is the Valco Baby Universal Protector which has recently reviewed.

My husband has joked that when the bassinet canopy is up, and the pram canopy is the folded over the top of this, Baby’s little chariot looks like The Nautilus. So she really is so well protected in there! Mind you, the canopy of the pram does have an expand-a-hood, which not only gives additional protection and shade to Baby when seated in the main section of the pram, but provides even more airflow to little newborns kicking back in the bassinet.

The Bassinet

I have to confess that although the step-by-step assembly instructions for the rest of the buggy were really easy to follow, in my sleep deprived state I struggled with the bassinet instructions. Once sorted though, it has been a fantastic asset. Great to take to a friends’ place for dinner, and also terrific in that – if you’ve been out for a walk and Baby is settled and sleeping peacefully – rather than bring the whole buggy inside, you only need to lift out the bassinet and Baby won’t be disturbed.

There is a very simple but essential little wrap Velcro strap inside the bassinet, which provides additional security and peace of mind knowing Baby won’t move around in the bassinet while you’re on the move. The cotton lining is lovely and soft, easy to remove and wash and the cover can be removed too.

In short: I love this pram. I say that unabashedly. And that’s from the mother of a four week old who hasn’t slept for more than four hours since her little darling was born…so you know I speak honestly. I simply don’t have the time or the energy to be diplomatic or gushy about much at the moment.

The Valco website is a great resource for more information on the Valco Matrix Dart and Valco Baby Accessories.

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