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Measles outbreaks could make for a miserable family Christmas

The NHS has reported an outbreak of measles in both Leeds and Liverpool, with Greater Manchester also braced for an increase in cases. Health officials believe the virus may have been brought back from mainland Europe, where there were recent outbreaks in Germany, Italy and Romania. Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, says:

‘This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children when offered at one year of age and as a pre-school booster at three years, four months of age. ‘If children and young adults have missed these vaccinations in the past, it’s important to take up the vaccine now from GPs, particularly in light of the recent cases in Liverpool and Leeds.’ Measles can cause a high temperature as one of the symptoms, and so it’s vital you have an accurate and easy-to-use thermometer to help you monitor your child.

Head straight to our first look digital thermometer reviews[1] if you need advice on choosing the best one for you.

How to spot the signs of measles

Measles is highly infectious, very unpleasant, and can lead to complications. Symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Sore, red, watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Feeling achey
  • Blotchy, red-brown rash

Measles is less common now because many children are vaccinated with the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) jab when they are a year old and a second dose when reaching the age of three years four months. People with measles are infectious from the point at which the first symptoms develop until about four days after the rash first appears.

Complications that can be caused by measles include diarrhoea, vomiting, pneumonia, bronchitis, hepatitis, brain infection and sight problems. As measles is a virus, there’s no specific treatment if you catch it, but you can ease symptoms with painkillers and rest. Anyone who is worried that they might have come into contact with someone with measles, or think they might have the illness, are advised to stay at home and contact their GP or call the NHS helpline on 111.

Look out for scarlet fever too

This news comes at the same time as a recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet, which has reported that scarlet fever cases in England hit their highest level in 50 years in 2016.

The data showed that there was a large jump in cases from 4336 in 2013 to 14,396 in 2014. Cases also increased in 2015 and reached 17,839 in 2016. It’s not known what has caused this sudden jump in numbers.

Experts are hoping that the outbreak has now peaked, and are predicting a lower number of cases for 2017, but have still asked people to be vigilant to symptoms.

Symptoms of scarlet fever

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Red rash that’s rough to the touch
  • White coating on the tongue that peels after a few days leaving it bright red and swollen (like a strawberry)

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection caused by bacteria known as group A streptococcus. It used to be a common cause of death in Victorian England before the advent of antibiotics. It is most common in children under 10, and although highly contagious, it is reasonably straightforward to treat with antibiotics.

However, complications if left untreated include pneumonia and liver damage.


  1. ^ digital thermometer reviews (

Silvercross, Britax, Mamas & Papas and more: how mini-me prams measure up this Christmas

With Christmas around the corner, you’ve probably already received the ubiquitous wishlist of toys from your nearest small person. If one of the items is a toy pram or pushchair, you could take inspiration from some of the biggest pram and pushchair brands around, as many now make miniature versions of their bestselling products. Silver Cross has recently launched a range of children’s versions of its prams and pushchairs in time for Christmas, one of which is the Pioneer 5 in 1 (GBP59.99), a homage to the full-size pushchair of the same name.

We’ve picked out some of the best mini-me versions from many of the brands you recognise, to see how they compare with their bigger counterparts. Read on to pick your favourite or try out our quiz to see whether you can tell which is the adult pram and which is for dolls. To discover the best (full-sized) pushchairs and buggies, read our pushchair reviews[1].

Silver Cross – Pioneer

Silver Cross has a choice of mini-me pram versions.

At the pricier end is the classic Silver Cross pram, where the cost for a toy version can start from a whopping GBP300 (the full-size Silver Cross classic Balmoral pram costs GBP1,600). Slightly more affordable is the Silver Cross Pioneer, a sturdy travel system with pushchair seat and carrycot. When we tested the non-toy version, we checked what it’s like to push over rough ground, how easy it is to fold and whether you’ll struggle to do up the harness when putting your baby in.

Read the full Silver Cross Pioneer review[2] to see how it did in those areas. The mini-me version of the Pioneer comes with a carrycot included, and can be fixed to face either forward or rearwards. It also has a large shopping basket and height-adjustable handles.

Find out more here[3].

iCandy – Peach and MiPeach

If your little one is desperate to look just like mum or dad, the iCandy MiPeach is a dead ringer for the real Peach. The Peach launched just over a year. ago. It did well when we tested how easy it was to handle on various ground surfaces, but some of our parent reviewers weren’t as impressed with the folding mechanism.

Find out more about the iCandy Peach pushchair in our full review[4]. The doll’s MiPeach has the adjustable handle and reclining seat to match up to the big version, and also includes a carrycot, hood, basket and accessory pack. At GBP179, it’s not cheap, but it’s a long way off the price of an full-sized Peach pushchair.

Find out more here[5].

Maclaren – Quest and Junior Quest

The Maclaren Quest is a bestselling stroller that’s lightweight and sturdy. It’s designed to be used from birth, as the seat fully reclines. We look at how easy it is to push, manoeuvre and apply the brakes.

Read the full review of the Maclaren Quest[6] pushchair to find out how it scored. The toy version of the Maclaren Quest has the umbrella-fold design and pull-back hood that feature on the full-sized version, as well as a three-point safety harness to keep dolls and teddies safe and secure when out and about. Find out more here[7].

Mamas & Papas – Armadillo XT and Armadillo Lemon Drop

Like the Armadillo XT, the junior version of this Mamas & Papas favourite is a vibrant ‘lemon-drop’ yellow.

When we tested the XT, we looked at how easy it is to fold and whether the seat is comfortable. Find out how it did by reading the full Armadillo XT pushchair review[8]. The Armadillo Lemon Drop seat reclines, and the front wheels swivel, much like the XT.

The wheels on the mini version are probably a little less chunky, but you’d hope the ride would be just as smooth. Find out more here[9].

Britax – B Agile 3 and B Agile

The Britax B Agile dolls’ pushchair is actually more similar to the B Agile 3 than the original B Agile, because it’s a 3-wheel pushchair. Whether it’s a doll or a real baby, being able to get either one easily into the chair and secured with a harness is a must.

When we test pushchairs, we check how easy it is to do up the harness, and how comfortable the seat might be for your baby or toddler. Find out how the Britax B Agile 3 scored in these areas by reading the full review[10]. Like the full-sized version, the mini B Agile has a basket – in this case, ideal for storing dolly-sized clothes and bottles – and folds flat for tidy storage.

Find out more here[11].

Quinny Zapp Xtra 2 and Quinny 3

When we tested the full-sized version of the Quinny – the Zapp Xtra 2 – we put it through some pretty rigorous tests, including rolling it along a bumpy treadmill for 206km to simulate uneven road surfaces and pavements. Find out how it did in our full review[12]. The Quinny 3 toy version features the iconic Quinny Zapp handles, and comes with an interchangeable bassinet and rubber-coated wheels.

You’d hope it would be fun and sturdy enough for your child to whizz around with, although we’re not sure how it would do on 206km of bumpy road. Find out more here[13].

Chicco Miinimo and Chicco Doll

The Chicco Miinimo is a lightweight stroller that claims to be collapsible with just one hand. When we test pushchairs, we check this and other claims, such as weight and whether it can stand up on its own when folded.

Read the Chicco Miinimo full review[14] to find out.

The Chicco Doll is less of a recreation of Chicco’s full-size strollers than some other brands, but it still folds flat and has an adjustable hood.

Find out more here[15].


  1. ^ pushchair reviews (
  2. ^ Silver Cross Pioneer review (
  3. ^ here (
  4. ^ iCandy Peach pushchair in our full review (
  5. ^ here (
  6. ^ review of the Maclaren Quest (
  7. ^ here (
  8. ^ Armadillo XT pushchair review (
  9. ^ here (
  10. ^ full review (
  11. ^ here (
  12. ^ full review (
  13. ^ here (
  14. ^ Chicco Miinimo full review (
  15. ^ here (

Baby Caboodle Car Seat Protector Seat Cover For Under Car Seat Covers Entire Seat Durable Construction – Recommended

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