Strollers are one of the most crucial buys you will make as a new parent, especially if you live in the city.
They allow you to comfortably travel on public transport, go shopping or even out for a leisurely stroll. Plus, until about the age of around three or four, when your baby should be able to walk a significant distance on their own, a stroller forms an essential part of your ever-changing babymobile.
With so many choices out there and with technology so crucial to everything we buy, picking the right stroller has become an increasingly difficult choice to make; to realise what we want and what we need, and at what price. Before you do make any purchase, it’s always best to consider the logistics: where do you live? Where do you want to go? Where are you most likely to use the stroller?
Whatever your answers are to the above, you’ll be pleased to discover there are plenty of designs and combinations to meet your individual needs:
As is evident from the name, this is your basic stroller. They will come in different variations of course, and designs, but will be equipped with a padded seat and the ability to recline into different positions. It is unusual for these to come without a sunshade and storage area below the seat, so you will be well-served. Depending on what you prefer, “carriages” are strollers in which your baby faces you, whereas a “pram” is where your baby faces away. For a newborn baby, you might want to look for a stroller that means your little one can lie down.
These are basically standard strollers which also allow you to carry an infant car seat. They are obviously bigger and more weighty (and more expensive). However, this versatility can come in handy once your baby has become too big for his/her infant car seat due to the stroller’s larger size.
Car Seat Strollers
Slightly different from the travel systems in that the stroller and the car seat aren’t separate entities. Basically, you can convert one into the other. These come in really handy when space is a major concern, as they fold up and take up little volume. The disadvantage with these is that your baby will outgrow them once they hit a certain age and weight, and you will need to upgrade.
Also called lightweights, these are extremely light options and take up very little space for storage. This would be your first choice if financial constraints were primary in your mind, as they are, in crude terms, a metal frame slung with fabric and, as a result, have little padding and aren’t fully flexible. These are better suited for older babies as they don’t allow the infant to lie down or rest their head.
These feature three wheels and are for the more active parents, who frequently go on walks with their babies, or travel at a brisker pace. It provides the most comfortable ride for both passenger and pusher, and even allows for smooth journeys through rougher terrain such as woods. They also offer great support while turning and up steep hills, but are problematic for storage and being mobile, as their size makes it difficult to fit into smaller spaces like elevators.
Double and Triple Strollers
These are, of course, for multiple passengers. “Tandems” are where one baby sits behind the other, whereas standard double or triple strollers come with the baby seats side-by-side.
Now that you’re an expert when it comes to different strollers available, you need to know what features you should be keeping an eye out for – especially as many are crucial to wellbeing of both you and your baby.
Safety and manoeuvrability
Make sure that the chair locks into position firmly and that there are no sharp protrusions along the frame. The leg room should provide sufficient space for your baby’s lower half but shouldn’t be big enough for your baby to crawl through. Seatbelts are also an essential part of pushchair, keeping your baby safely in place during sudden jerks or mishaps. Cleanliness will also be on your mind as a new parent, so make sure you check the stroller comes with removable covers.
Comfort and mobility
Look out for handle height and swivelling wheels. Definitely try it out and see that it provides the optimum comfort for pushing. The canopy should also come equipped with a sunshade to protect your baby from direct exposure to sunlight and rain.
Always use your instincts as a parent – which means putting baby’s needs first – and perhaps put together a check-list of features your ideal stroller should have before you start shopping. Remember, even if you miss out on anything, you can now buy extensions for virtually everything!