Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller US042FZN Reviews

Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller US042FZN

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A basic stroller that's too basic for me. Can't beat the price, though.

Aug 5, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

  • Durability:
  • Ease of Use:

Pros:compact, light-weight, portable, inexpensive

Cons:steering issues, lack of storage, short, possibly uncomfortable for baby

The Bottom Line: For a really cheap and basic stroller, it adequately fulfills its function.  However, make sure you're willing to live with a really cheap and basic stroller.


I bought the Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller a few months ago to use when we’re travelling. I’m quite fond of the stroller that came with our Graco Quattro Tour Deluxe Travel System, but it takes up most of our trunk space, which unfortunately means we have to choose between it or our luggage when we go away.

So I was in the market for an inexpensive and small stroller. At about $13 US (I paid $15 Canadian for it at Walmart), the Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller certainly qualifies as inexpensive. It’s also small and lightweight. Yay!

The Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller has a cloth seat, a folding aluminum frame (hence the umbrella part), a rubbery footrest and handles, and four-inch plastic wheels. The back wheels are fixed, the front wheels can circle a full 360 degrees. There are no frills like a canopy or a storage area. The seat is not detachable, but spot cleaning shouldn’t be a problem. We haven’t had any accidents in it (yet), so I’m not sure how easily stains come out.

The stroller is rated for kids up to 40 pounds. I wouldn’t use it until your child is capable of sitting up by themselves for decent periods of time, as the seat doesn’t recline and the harness has only three points.

There were three colours of this stroller available in the store when I bought it: a pink one, a green one, and the one with a yellow and zoo-animal-covered seat and blue handles that we ended up purchasing. I’ve seen a few other colour/design choices online, so I’m sure you can find something that suits your aesthetic needs.

Assembly wasn’t difficult. The front wheels were the only parts not already assembled, and installation was as easy as jamming them into place until they clicked. Total assembly time (not including digging out scissors capable of chewing through the plastic zip ties holding the wheels to the frame): about 15 seconds.

I’ve used the Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller here and there for a few months, but it was on a recent trip away that I really got to know it. I wasn’t entirely impressed. Neither was T-Fap, judging by the scowl that materialized each time we put him in the thing. I got the feeling he wasn’t particularly comfortable, though he didn’t say so in as many words. He’s not much of a words kinda guy, funny enough. That being said, he did manage to fall asleep in it once for about fifteen minutes, so it can’t have been that bad. Of course, he was also a couple of hours past naptime …

The Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller unfolds very easily. You just unclip the clasp that holds the folded halves together, let the front wheels fall forward with gravity, and then straighten it until both locks in the back click into place. The clicks are very important. My husband didn’t realize the first time that only the top release had locked and poor T-Fap almost ended up folded into a baby perogie.
 
Once locked, refolding the stroller is a little more irritating. I’ve apparently been spoiled by the one-handed twist-and-fold of my Graco stroller. The Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller can’t be folded one-handed. Both locks in the back have to be released, and at least in our particular case, some random jiggling has to occur. None of which is easy to do while either carrying a 13-month-old or trying to corral the excited running attempts of said 13-month-old.
 
On the plus side, once the Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller is successfully folded, its lightweight frame and compact size make travelling with it a breeze. In fact, any extraneous 13-month-olds you may have running around can probably carry it for you. Warning: Professional 13-month-old on a closed course. Do not attempt at home.

Height-wise, the Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller is a little too short. I’m 5’9 and I’m uncomfortably hunched when pushing it. Not a big deal for short trips, but after a single long walk of the touristy kind, I was feeling pretty sore. I thought it was just another pitfall of being taller than average, but my 5’7 husband’s first comment (right before he tried to fold our son in half) was that the handles could use an extra couple inches of height. If you and everyone else who will use it are shorter than 5’7, it may suit you just fine.

As for the wheels: these are probably my greatest source of frustration with this stroller. On smooth surfaces (say for instance the interior of the store where you may be test-driving it), the wheels generally work well and the turning radius is nice and tight. However, add just a bit of extra dirt, bumps, or grit, and the turnable front wheels can get jammed sideways, making steering impossible. The fix is another classic jiggling manoeuvre and is never particularly time-consuming, but after the fifth time in as many minutes it grows somewhat annoying. The brakes on the back wheels, however, are easy to use and seem quite secure.

The other issue is the lack of storage space. I didn’t think it was a big deal when I bought the stroller, but now having used it on vacation I must admit I missed the extravagance of not having to carry the diaper bag on my shoulder. You can hang a light item or two from the handles, provided the items are short enough not to drag along the ground or get caught in the wheels, but once you take your child out of the seat, the stroller is almost guaranteed to tip over backwards. The item doesn’t have to be heavy at all for this to happen; the weight of my point-and-shoot camera was enough to manage it. If you’re foolish enough to hang something truly heavy, be prepared to watch the stoller go over with your child still attached.

Bottom line:

Do I think the Cosco Juvenile Umbrella Stroller is good value for money?

Yes. It fulfills its function as a basic and easily portable stroller for a very reasonable price.

Would I buy it again given the chance?

No. I’d shell out the extra money and buy a more robust travel stroller with better wheels and some storage space. Maybe even a canopy and an extra inch or two of height.


Recommend this product? No


Amount Paid (US$): 13
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months

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