Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pram maintenance: are you brave enough?

pram buggy stroller maintenance
Dear Boy’s gotten to the stage where he’s outgrown a lot of his stuff: clothes, cot, change table, naps… That last one’s actually the scariest and one of the reasons why his starting to outgrow his pram is also a worry. His head’s butting up against the sunshade and the straps sit far below his shoulders, but it’s often the only way we’ll get a nap in on the days he’s at home, cruising round the streets or the shopping centre in a semi-reclined position. It was time for a pram adjustment and service to see just how much more mileage we can get out of this baby before we pass it on.

A pram’s one of those the big investments when you have a baby. We did a fair bit of research with ours because we wanted a good combination of safety, price and useability (essentially a ‘multi-terrain’ three-wheeler that was also light-ish and narrow enough to get down the aisles of shops or buses). Just like a car, though, you need to service these babies regularly to get the most out of your investment. Wear and tear can make your pram less manoeuvrable, less safe and more of a breeding ground for all manner of grossness.

There are three main areas to concentrate on when you’re servicing your pram:

  • Wheels and brakes
  • Straps and harnesses
  • Seat fabric and frame

The first step is to pull that baby apart as much as you can, pulling out all the bits and pieces and shaking out all the toddler-produced detritus (and boy, was there lots of detritus).

Wheels and Brakes

Wipe off any dust, grime or grit, then give the wheel and brake axles a spray with a silicone-based lubricant (or something similar). Be a little wary with what you use though, as some lubricants, like WD40 tend to attract grit, which can affect the manoeuvrability of the wheels and the ease of the brakes. You also want to be careful not to spray too much or to let it drip on anything. Our wheels have a quick release, so are fairly easy to take off and get access to the axle. If you're don't you can still try to give it a clean down and spray around the edges.

Straps and harnesses

Check for any fraying or cracks and replace if need be (our brand stocks all manner of replacement bits on their website). You should also check out the placement of the straps – do you need to go up a level? Generally the top of the strap should be close to the level of the shoulder. We had thought we couldn’t move out straps any higher without cutting the buckles off and bodging something together. Luckily I checked the brand’s website and found a handy video for just how to find and then move the stabilising buckles. When you’re putting it all back together, make sure you’re threading everything the right way – I find it easiest to click the buckles in and then thread the straps through, that way I can see how they sit when done up (no twisting).

Seat fabric and frame

Use a stiff brush to remove anything chunky that’s cemented on the seat fabric, or that’s ingrained itself into the folds and crevices. Wipe the fabric down with a damp cloth, using a little plain soapy water on any stubborn stains. I used a squirt of anti-bacterial hand wash on ours because I’m pretty sure there were all kinds of things growing off the food that was buried in that pram. If the stains aren’t budging, use a stain remover spray/stick/liquid but test on an unobtrusive and non-essential patch beforehand. Let the seat fabric air in the sun until completely dry. Give the metal frame a wipe-down with a dry or lightly damp cloth.

When everything completely dry, stick it all back together again. Making sure all the clips and snaps and straps are attached correctly. If you're not sure, check online for a branded owner's manual. That's the only way we figured out where this weird length of strap with a press stud belonged. 

I'm hoping we get a few more months (and naps) out of this pram.

Have you ever given your pram a service? Are you brave enough to see what's hiding in there?

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