Choosing the first stroller is one of the most important decision that future parents have to make. It is because it’s one of those baby stuff that you will use often and for a very long time, so it should serve you for years. It is also one of the most expensive baby products. That is why you should carefully consider what exactly do you need and not rush into any decision. Stroller should be properly chosen for the baby, but also should be handy for parents. Let’s find the best stroller together!
Searching for the right stroller
Future parents spend a lot of time on searching for the perfect stroller and, unfortunately, sometimes their purchase is a mistake. When you’re buying an equipment for your baby you want to choose the best products, suitable and safe for your kid.
Two years ago when I was preparing to be a mom for the first time, I wasn’t sure what features a good stroller should have. I felt like going crazy trying to find the best stroller. Only after my Haley was born and we started to using the stroller I realise what “the perfect stroller” means. Buying the stroller is like buying a car. Only much harder! 🙂
Then, when I was expecting with my lovely twins, I was buying baby’s equipment again, but this time I knew what to look for and what is the best for my babies. And I would like to give you a hint how to choose the best stroller, what to look for and what to concider, before you make your purchase. Because what’s important for you is your baby’s wellbeing, safety, comfort and proper development. And you don’t want to buy something that you will loose your money on and that will not serve your child. We will concider what model is the best for you, depending on your lifestyle, yours and your baby’s needs.
During first years of life, baby spends quite a lot of time in pushchair, therefore it is important for it to be comfortable, practical and safe. The stroller should be properly selected for your child and also be convenient for you.
Visit to the store with child’s gear can be a headache. No wonder, the choise is vast. We have prams, lightweight and umbrella strollers, convertible pushchairs, with three or four wheels, black or colorful, and of course: cheap and expensive strollers. When you face so many options and models, you may want to ask: which stroller should I buy?
I know that neither I, nor you, nor any other mother, would like to buy wrong stroller and then suffer for the next six months or longer, or even worse – buy a stroller that would make your baby suffer.
When I was pregnant with Haley I spent so much time in shops, visiting online shops, reading reviews, talking to other moms, watching videos on Youtube, everything what could possibly help me to choose the right stroller. When I was pregnant for the second time I had to do it all over again! I did a huge research and tested many models. And I thought I should share the informations I collected with other moms! Therefore I decided to write my own reliable stroller buying guide, based on my experience and my research, to make your research easier.
Is there a Perfect Stroller?
Let me start by saying that there is no such thing like a perfect stroller that has it all. Many parents, including me when I was first time pregnant, are looking for a stroller that has wheels for all type of terrain, reclining and reversible seat, big canopy, adjustable footrest, large basket under the seat, is easy to fold with only one hand, weighs around 16 lbs and of course – costs less than $250. You won’t find it beacuse it doesn’t exist. 🙂
Sometimes we have to sacrifice something that is minor, or as many parents – buy two strollers. It’s not like we have to buy two or even three strollers. You may buy only one, but probably it won’t be perfect in every situation.
Different parents have different lifestyle, live in different places and therefore need different strollers. That’s why asking other parents for recommendation on specific model is often pointless. Just because this person has a child and says that this model of stroller was great, doesn’t mean it will be good for you and your baby. We all have different preferences, needs and… budget!
I write this buying guide to provide you some questions and comparison that will help you to define what do you really need and find the best stroller for you and your baby.
What to look for when shopping for a stroller?
Okay, let’s begin with some crucial aspects to which we should pay attention when we are choosing stroller for our baby.
- Certification – safety sign. Check if the model you like has a sticker showing that it is certificated by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). You can also visit JPMA’s website to check which stroller brands are certified. Usually it means that the most important features were tested: stroller’s stability and brakes, locking mechanism or absence of sharp edges.
- Wheels – The large and air-filled ones are the best for long walks and bumpy ground, smaller wheels might be better for city use and running errands. Swivel front wheels are great for more maneuverability, locked wheels make stroller more stable.
- Amortization – thanks to good amortization your child is not exposed to shocks.
- Stroller frame – if the frame is heavy, the whole stroller is bulky, therefore we are looking for quite light frame.
- Brakes – should lock both wheels simultaneously. When the wheels are blocked, the stroller shouldn’t be moving.
- Canopy – should fold easily and quietly and have great ventilation for hot days. It should be big enough to protect your kid from sun and wind.
- Adjustable handlebar – it makes pushing the stroller more comfortable for parents of different height.
- Reversible handlebar – you can swing the handle over the top of the pushchair and lock into position, changing the direction your child is facing.
- Storage basket underneath the seat – very handy not only for moms! Remember – hanging heavy bags on the handlebar can decrease stroller’s stability and increase the risk of tipping over.
- Removable cover – you will want a cover that can be quickly unfasten and clean up and a fabric that is easy to wipe down, without shrinking or fading.
Okay, so we have some basic features that we should concider no matter what type of the stroller we plan on buying, if it’s our first or third pushchair and no matter if it’s for newborn, toddler or twins.
Types of strollers
I also prepared for you a classifications of the types of strollers that you can find on the market today. The offer is vast, therefore making decision is not easy.
Look at the following list of types of strollers I prepared for you that will help you to clarify what you need.
1. Standard strollers
This is one of the most popular type of strollers. You can find different shapes and sizes in this type. It is designed to provide your baby with comfort and make easy for you to get around, as much as possible.
Standard or tradicional doesn’t mean it has to be heavy and sluggish. Many strollers in this type are maneuverable and work on different terrains (like sidewalks, paved streets, park paths and wooded trails).
This type is equipped with canopy, roomy seat that reclines deeply (or even fully). Remember: most strollers in this type reclines, but the angle is not enough for safe sleeping. If it has fully-reclining seat (less than 10 degrees) you can use it instead of pram. Some models have also reversible seat, so the baby can sit facing you or forward. It also has a basket below the seat for baby gear, and wheels in a good size. The weight of this type of strollers ranges from 16 to 37 lbs. It is heavier than umbrella, but it’s not as bulky as jogging type. It usually folds up without much trouble and is quite easy to storage.
This type of strollers is all-purpose vehicle, therefore you won’t need second or third one. They usually have enough suspension for bumpy roads.
Some strollers in this type have option where you can replace the seat with a bassinet and convert it into a pram. For example, higher-end products like UPPAbaby Vista or Bugaboo Cameleon 3 include a bassinet.
Some models also have option of using infant car seat adapter and convert the standard stroller to travel system. If you want that option you should look for models that are compatible with car seats.
The price of this type ranges from $100 to $1000, depending on the brand, model, accessories and add-ons.
To sum up, the standard type is a good choice if you want to use stroller in different situations and you don’t need a specialized one. This type is also good for parents who want to stroll in the city centers, through sidewalks, parks and small shopping centers.
Remember: standard type is not designed for jogging. If you want your baby to keep you company while you are running, you need to choose a jogger.
Solid and good for many purpose, also easy to use. There are many different models on the market with a wide range of features, therefore you can find the one with functions important for you. It has quite big wheels and good maneuverability. It is a smart and long-term investment.
It is heavier than umbrella type, so it can be difficult to carry on the public transportation. Also, not every model is designed for infants under 6 months. Make sure the stroller you would like to buy can accommodate your newborn baby.
2. Travel system
It is a set that includes matching stroller and inflant car seat (sometimes also the car seat base). Travel systems are very popular because they are multifunctional. Main advantage of this type is that you can easily snap the car seat right into the stroller, and you don’t need any adapters. It is very useful when you’re baby is sleeping in a car seat and you need to transport him or her from the car to the stroller or from the stroller into the house. With a travel system you can do it without waking the baby up. I guess, you do not want to wake your cute sleeping baby. 🙂
This stroller grows with the baby because at the beggining we can use the infant car seat, snaped into the stroller. And when the baby is 6 months old and has developed head and neck control and is too big for the car seat, we can use the stroller with toddler seat. The travel system will serve you from day one until your baby can walk and doesn’t want to ride in a stroller anymore.
Travel system is perfect when your baby is little and often sleeps in a car seat. You don’t need to wake your baby while making some errands in the city and driving car frequently. You just take the car seat with your baby out of the car and snap it into the stroller. It is also perfect solution for parents who travel a lot and often move back and forth between the stroller, the car and the house.
When you buy a car seat and a stroller as a set you can save money because travel systems are usually in decent and attractively prices (from $200), but of course it depends on the brand and accessories.
Be careful, if the set is very cheap, you can not expect it will be very high quality. Also when you buy a set it may turn out that the car seat was great, but when the baby outgrows it, you are left with a cumbersome and heavy stroller with big and not maneuverable wheels. My advice for you is to check the whole set before buying – is the car seat comfortable and safe for your baby? Is the stroller easy to push and good for the little passenger?
Remember: sometimes both things bought as a set can have worse quality than car seat and stroller bought separately. And one more thing – if you want to buy a stroller that will serve you from day one to toddlerhood, but you don’t want a matching travel system, you can choose a stroller with add-ons. For example: bassinet add-on and car seat add-on. You can use the bassinet or car seat for newborn and then, when your baby can sit up, swap it out for a regular stroller. You just have to buy an adapter for the add-ons, but remember that the car seat and stroller have to be compatible.
My favourites in this category: Britax B-Agile 3/ B-Safe 35.
Travel system allows you to move your sleeping baby from the car to stroller, from the stroller to house and back to the car, without disturbing her/him. You can go shopping, run errands and you don’t have to wake your baby and pull her/him from the car seat. Travel system will serve you and your baby for a long time – when the baby outgrows the car seat, you can use the stroller’s toddler seat.
Some models can be quite heavy (from 26 to 32 lbs), which makes them difficult to carry on the public transportation. Travel systems are also large, but of course you can also find on the market lighter versions and easier to push. Sometimes they have less options and features than standard strollers. Car seats bought as a set with a stroller may sometimes have lower quality.
3. Car seat frame
It’s a frame with no seat of its own, designed to carry only the infant car seat which makes it really lightweight. The car seat frame is quite like travel system, but it has no main seat, only the frame and car seat which you can easily snap into the frame. It is very convenient option for transporting little baby, sleeping in a car seat.
Of course you can use it only when your baby is small and fits into the infant car seat. After this time (6-12 months) you will have to buy a stroller for bigger child.
It is also compact and very easy to fold and storage (for example in your car trunk).
Car seat frame is very good option if you have small apartment and little space to storage the stroller. Also, it is great choice for moms who had C-section, since this type is very light and easy to carry.
It is also pocket-friendly option, because you need to buy only the frame and a car seat. It’s good choice for parents who haven’t make decision what stroller to buy yet. It gives you some time to find the right stroller.
From my experience, car seat frame is one of the best options for the baby in first 6-12 months. For the first-time parents it may seem a weird way to stroll with an infant, but many parents wish they knew about it earlier.
Remember: do not use the car seat as a replacement for a crib. When you’re at home don’t leave your baby unattended in the car seat, put her/him into the crib. Baby can sleep being unobserved only in a crib.
My favourite in this type: Chicco Keyfit Caddy.
Attractive price, light (11-16 lbs) and compact, which is very helpful for moms who just had a C-section and they can’t lift heavy things. There are also car seat frames for twins (I’ve already bought one)! Infant car seat is safe for babies and provides comfortable support for them in the first months. It’s very good option for parents who often drive before strolling. If your baby falls asleep in a car seat you can easily transport her/him without waking up.
It is only for babies who use infant car seats, after this period (around 6-12 months) you have to buy a stroller. Not every model of car seat is compatible with a frame. Some frames are compatible only with specific models, therefore you need to make sure that your car seat matches the frame or buy them as a set. Also, make sure the car seat fully reclines, with an angle of less than 10 degrees. Higher angels increase risk of suffocation.
Perfect for newborns and infants. It is a stroller with bassinet which you can use in the first 6 months, when the baby can’t move around and needs flat surface for sleeping. Prams are good option for newborn because they need large and roomy stroller and supine position is natural for them. This type is equiped with canopy which should protect your baby from different weather conditions. The bassinet should be big enough to serve you for couple months (infants grow so fast!). Mattress is also very important. It should not be too thin, because baby would feel every bumb and twitch. Snd it also should be made from breathable fabric. The cover should be easy to remove and clean.
When the baby grows and becomes more active, prams are not safe because bassinets are shalow and they lack safety harness. When the baby can move around, it is easy for him/her to fall out and get injured.
Remember: prams are very stylish, but it is a luxury that you will use only for 6 months top, sometimes even for 3 months!
From a practical point of view, better option is infant car seat which you can use longer than 6 months (even up to one year). It makes transition between driving and strolling very easy and simple. Plus the bassinet is one more piece of baby gear which you have to storage. It is quite big and takes a lot of space in the trunk. You will need that space especially during trips, when you have to take also diapers, clothes, food, beverages, toys etc. If you use a car seat for strolling, it eliminates the need for buying another product and you can safe money.
Also if you have tight budget, you may skip it and safe some money for other baby gear. But if you have money and you like prams, I would definitely recommend you it. The flat surface that bassinet offers is the best for sleeping, especially during long stroll. Also, there is only short period when your baby is newborn and can ride in a stylish bassinet. Before you know it your child will be riding in an umbrella stroller!
If you are into prams you may want to concider convertible stroller, where you can use bassinet for 6 months and then swap it out and use only the standard seat or different add-ons.
Good option for the first 6 months, they provide flat surface for sleeping baby. Mostly they have good amortization and wide range of features.
Usually you use it for 3-6 months and then your baby start moving around and bassinet is not safe anymore for sleeping or strolling, because the baby can fall out and get injured. Remember: crib is a better option for sleeping from day one. Also, if you often drive before strolling or want to take your baby shopping and your baby falls asleep in a car seat, you will probably wake him/her up during transition between car and pram. Some models are big and heavy and difficult to storage.
5. Lightweight stroller
When your baby grows, starts to move around and explore world, it is very nice to have a possibility for him/her to watch the world while strolling. Therefore when your baby can sit up you should consider buying a lightweight stroller. This is a light and compact pushchair, that weighs from 8 to 17 lbs. It is great for travels and quick trips to the city. You can start using it when your baby can sit up and has good head and neck control, so there is no risk of demaging her/his delicate spine. I started using lightweight when Haley was 7 months old, before that we were happy with our car seat frame and pram.
You just strap your baby into the seat using 3 or 5-point harness and during transition between strolling and driving you just unfasten belts and strap your baby into the car seat. I recommend using 5-point harness for the safety of the child.
This type of stroller is easy to navigate, even in narrow and crowded space. It’s perfect solution for parents who travel a lot and often use public transportation. It also great option for a toddler who can walk but sometimes likes to ride in a stroller.
Lightweight strollers are only for kids older than 6 months (when they are able to sit up), because of limited features: lack of travel system, pretty small wheels not good for rough terrain, less maneuverability, quite difficult pushing on tough surfaces, small canopy, seat that doesn’t fully recline (or even doesn’t recline at all). If you are looking for a lightweight stroller look for a one with comfortable and fully reclined seat.
This type of stroller will serve you longer than pram or infant car seat, therefore make sure it is equiped with sun shade and cover and 5-point harness. Safety straps should be tight enough that the baby won’t fall out, but should also be comfortable for the baby.
This type of stroller is inexpensive, you can even find some models that cost 50 dollars, but be careful with those! Often the cheaper ones are made of poor materials and are better suitable for dolls, not kids. I woudn’t risk. Models that cost around 200 dollars have many features and accesories (child tray, cup holder, comfortable and adjustable footrest, easy folding). Perfect for spring and summer strolls.
Some models have small basket below the seat. Sometimes they lack suspension, shocks absorbers and seat support. They have small and plastic wheels which makes them less maneuverable and they are not suitable for all-type terrain (great for smooth surfaces, but not for bumpy grass). Difficult to push on rough terrain. Sometimes the seat can’t be fully reclined. This type is only for kids that can sit up.
6. Umbrella stroller
Very light, usually they weigh under 12 lbs. They are very compact and can be fully folded. Sometimes they have even carrying straps so you can carry it over your shoulder.
My favourites in this type: ZOE XL1 Deluxe.
Usually you can fold it with one hand and also carry it over your shoulder while holding your baby on other hip. It is good for flat surfaces and public transportation. Great option for toddler who can walk but sometimes want to ride in the stroller. It is easy to storage and fit in small spaces.
Minimal suspension, they are not good for bumpy grass, old sidwalks or rough terrain. They don’t have a lot of storage for baby gear. Only for kids who can sit up and have perfect head control.
7. Jogging strollers
As the name suggests these are the strollers for parents-joggers. If you want to keep up your healthy lifestyle and jogg with your baby, get a jogging stroller. They are perfect for parents with active lifestyle.
Joggers usually have three big bicycle wheels with air-filled tires therefore they will work on all-type terrain and will reach “running speed”. They have shock absorbers and are designed to reduce the impact of bumps and curbs on baby.
Many models have hand brake and foot-operated parking brake. New models have also lockable swivel front wheel. They have great suspention that provides your baby with smooth ride and maximum comfort even at high speed and over rough terrain. On the market you will find models with large wheels which provides good amortization when you are riding through bumps and rough ground.
They have higher weight limit therefore they will serve you even longer than 3 years.
Some model have also travel system option so you can strap the infant car seat into it.
Jogging strollers are perfect for long walks, running and hiking, but they can be quick heavy and bulky (weight ranges from 23 to 31 lbs), and therefore difficult to maneuver in narrow and crowded spaces. This type has also long and high handlebar, which is designed to prevent runners from bumping into the stroller. If you want to walk or run with the baby over bumpy grass and old sidewalks without your baby getting bumped around too much, this type may be exactly what you need. It is designed for parents who want to jog with their baby and let them explore the world while doing it.
If you are looking for a jogging stroller you want it to be safe for your baby. Look for safety certificates that give you guarantee of safety.
Remember: Do not run with your baby until he/she is 8 months old. If you want your baby to keep you company while jogging, use only the jogging stroller. Before you make your purchase make sure your model is designed for jogging with baby. Some models has three wheels and “jogger” in name, but they are not made for running with baby!
My favourite model in this type: BOB 2016 Revolution PRO.
Great for running and walking through forest and parks, especially when they have lockable swivel front wheel. They have streamlined shape, lightweight frame, solid seat belts, big and air-filled tires, which make riding comfortable and the stroller is easy to push. You can use it with heavier children (double and tripple versions can accommodate passengers up to 150 pounds!)
Consider this type carefully, especially if you want it to be your only stroller. Non-swiveling front wheel make it hard to maneuver in narrow spaces, small alleys and crowded shops. This type is also large, heavy and difficult to storage (might not fit into your trunk). The tires are air-filled so they can get flat. It is difficult to use public transit with this stroller.
8. Double and triple strollers
Not only for twins but also for kids of small age difference (but I think in this situation more convenient is to have two strollers, mostly because of the weight difference). If you have newborns you should look for a stroller with fully reclining seats.
Double strollers are more expensive and heavier than single stroller (fortunately not twice heavier!), they weight ranges from 21 to 36 lbs. There are two versions in this type: side-by-side and tandem.
Side-by-side has two seats next to each other. You can put kids of different age into it (even snap an infant car seat into one of the seats). But be careful, because stroller can pull to one side. This option is good for bumby surfaces, going down the hill and works with curbs better than tandem. Sometimes it might be hard to get through the doorway, narrow alleys in shops or between cars in the parking lot. Tandem version let you avoid those problems.
Tandem has one seat behind the other, therefore it is more narrow than side-by-side version. It is easier to maneuver in narrow spaces and get through doorways. The seats are often reversible and kids may face each other, you or the world. This type of strollers have some drawbacks: the rear seat is often smaller, has lower weight limit and doesn’t have the same options and features as the front one. Also when you recline the front seat you are limiting the space for your baby in the rear seat.
There are some tandem models with so called “stadium seat“. It has the rear seat placed higher than the front one and the baby in rear seat can see over the one in front seat. Therefore both children can explore the world while strolling. There are also “sit and stand strollers“. Here the front seat is for younger baby and there is a seat with a platform behind the main seat. Older child can sit or stand on the platform.
My favorite side-by-side model is Joovy Scooter X2 Double.
Pros of side-by-side:
They can negotiate bumps and curbs better than tandem. Some models offer car seat compatibility, but often only for one seat (it will works if you have newborn and older kid). Sitting next to each other can be much more fun than sitting like in tandem version.
Cons of side-by-side:
If kids of different weight ride in the stroller, it can pull to one side. It might be difficult to go through the doorways or elevator openings. Even folded stroller may require a lot of space (twice as much as the single version).
My favorite tandem model is Baby Jogger City Select with 2nd Seat.
Pros of tandem:
They easily fit through doorways and it is easier to navigate them through narrow spaces. Folded tandem is only a little bigger than folded standard-size stroller. Some models are compatible with infant car seats (for one or both stroller seats).
Cons of tandem:
Difficult steering and getting over curbs. Usually parent step on the back wheels and lift the front one. Here you have to lift heavier weight with twice the length of a single stroller. This version is quite heavy therefore it can be difficult to navigate for parents who are small. In some models leg support is limited and the baby in rear seat has little legroom.
Remember: there are also car seat frame versions for twins. You can use them during the first 6-12 months with infant car seats. Nowadays you can also easily find on the market strollers for triplets and quadruplets.
There are also tandem for triplets. Here you can read my review of the best stroller for three kids!
9. Transformable car seat/stroller
This is something new on the market. It is quite similar to car seat frames but there is one difference. Here you have a stroller frame fully integrated with a car seat. The frame and wheels can be folded under the seat and then istall in a car.
My favourite model: Donna Car Seat Stroller.
You use car seat as a stroller so there is less baby gear you have to buy.
It is quite heavy (not for moms who had C-section recently) and difficult to lift. There is no basket or any storage at all (you have to buy it separately).
10. Convertible stroller
It has everything you will ever need because it includes many different add-ons. If you plan to have many kids and you want to invest your money in a good stroller that will serve you for years, this is the best type for you. You can start with bassinet, then swap it out and use regular stroller seat. When you have a second child, you can add a rumble seat for the older one, and a running board for the toddler, when you welcome your third child.
Sometimes this type might be heavy and bulky, but some models are not much bigger than standard-size stroller and even lighter that jogging type. This type of stroller is for families with many (also future) kids and parents that appreciate flexibility.
My favourite convertible stroller is Baby Jogger City Select.
You can use many add-ons depending on your needs. This stroller will grow up with your children.
Pretty big and heavy.
When you buy a stroller, especially for the first time, you may want to considering also couple useful accessories. I present you few stroller add-ons and extras, that in my optinion are worth considering.
- Umbrella – protects baby from sun and rain.
- Boots or protective leg coverings or foot muffs – you can fasten it over baby’s legs for warmth. Remember, if you are buying boots that weren’t made specifically for your stroller, make sure they don’t interfere with harness use.
- Cup holder – one for you and one for your child. Remember not to use it for hot drinks.
- Parent tray and child tray.
What do you really need?
Now, we have some basic questions which will help to determine what do you and your child really need. Answering those questions will help you to define what feature and functions your stroller should have. You will be able to choose the best stroller that suits yours and your child’s needs.
1. How old is your baby?
Are you looking for a stroller for newborn or maybe your child is at least 6 months old?
-From newborn to 6 months
For the first 6 months, your baby can’t sit up and doesn’t have sufficient neck and head control. Therefore, in this period you should use either a bassinet, a fully reclined seat (less than 10 degrees) or an infant car seat adapter.
I can say from my experience that the third option is very convenient. Think about a sweet three or four month old baby sleeping in a car seat during a trip, then you can simply remove the infant seat from its base in the car with the baby sleeping in it and just snap it right into the frame. And there’s no need to disturb your baby’s nap!
It made my life much easier, when I discover car seat carrier frame, when my Haley was 4 months old. Before that I used bassinet and car seat and everytime I drove somewhere I had to have in my car both of them and take Haley out of the car seat (which often woke her up) and then put her in the bassinet and try to get her fall asleep again. With car seat frame the problem was gone! But I must admit, I am a big fan of using bassinet during long strolls with an infant, it offers perfect (flat) position for sleeping. Car seat might be better option for quick running errainds.
-6 months and older babies
When the baby can sit up and has good neck strength (around 6 month old), he or she can be driven in a lightweight stroller. Remember, when your kid gets older you still need many stuff while strolling: bottles, food, snack, toys, diapers, wipes, clothes… therefore, the stroller should have enough storage for baby’s stuff.
If you are looking for a stroller for older baby you should concider what is better for you: lightweight stroller or umbrella stroller?
In many models of lightweight strollers the seat can be reclined. It is very convenient: when your baby falls asleep during the stroll, you can recline the seat and he or she can sleep in the open air.
Another advantage is reversible handlebar. Thanks to it you can change the direction your child is facing. She or he can see your face or look at the surroundings.
Also, notice what material the stroller is made of. Will your child be sweating in it? The canopy is also very important, it should protect baby from sun, wind and rain.
Check whether the stroller has an adjustable footrest and proper ventilation. Safety belts are also very important. The best option is five-point harness with adjustable straps for proper fit.
2. How long do you want your stroller to last?
You should also concider if you want to buy a set 3 in 1 or 2 in 1, like a stroller with bassinet or car seat adapter or would you rather prefer to buy a pram first and when the baby grows up buy a lightweight or umbrella stroller.
Buying all in one is definitely cheaper, but remember – stroller can be very good as pram, but not as a lightweight. If you want to buy a set you have to check if each product has features your child will need (like removable seat that reclines nearly flat and easy folding canopy).
Buying two separate strollers may seem less economical, but gives you opportunity to choose what you really need. You could buy a pram for the first 6 months, and then, when you have more experience, more defined needs and chance to actually “try on” the stroller to your 6 month old baby, choose lightweight stroller. Remember – lightweight stroller should have a five-point harness for your baby safety. This is a standard now, with most strollers. It secures your child at or above the shoulders, at the waist, and between the legs. Therefore it prevent baby from sliding or falling out, or from climbing out when you’re not looking. Buckle should be easy for you to operate, but difficult for small baby’s hand to unlock.
3. Do you want to have more babies, year after year?
If you want to have a big family and children with small age difference, you may want to buy a stroller that you could use not only for the first one, but also for the second or even third one! You should look for a durable pushchair that will serve you for years. Maybe you are looking for a stroller for newborn and toddler? Check out double side-by side or tandem strollers.
4. When and where you will use the stroller?
Think about your neighbourhood and places that you will be strolling with your baby. Also think about the terrain – will you visit shopping malls/parks/forest? Will you ride over bumpy sidewalks or even terrain? Answers to those questions will help you define what type of stoller you need.
If you live in the city and there are sidewalks and alleys, you may concider small stroller with not too big wheels.
But if you live in the area with many bumpy and wooded roads, you should consider a stroller with good amortization and large wheels, not necessary pumped, because modern foam wheels also work well on rough surfaces.
If there are wooded paths and smooth sidewalks in your neighbourhood, you may want to consider pushchair with larger rear wheels and smaller front wheels, also with reversible handlebar, so the bigger wheels could also be in front of the stroller, if needed. Thanks to this, you will be able to adjust the stroller to different ground and it will work on bumpy roads and crowded city sidewalks.
5. Where you will store the stroller?
Some strollers are really big, therefore you need to concider where you will store it. If you would like to keep it in your apartment or a car trunk, you should look for a stroller that is small enough to store pretty easily and fold up without too much trouble. Folding should be easy for one person.
Will you bring it up several flights of stairs?
Future parents often assume that they will be carrying the stroller up and down the stairs, but they still buy strollers that weigh more that 30 lb. Newborns weigh 6-8 lb and grow really fast, so often moms end up lugging up every day 50 lb on the third floor. If you will need to carry the stoller up the stairs (or climb on a city bus) you should look for a lighter model (around 15-20 lb). Weight of the stroller is especially important for moms who had C-section.
6. Will you keep the stroller in the trunk of your car?
If you plan to transport the pushchair in your car very often, you need to choose a small model that easly folds up. Some models with large wheels may not fit to the car trunk. Before you decide to buy a stroller, measure your trunk and compare it to the size of folded stroller. If you will be going on a holidays with your child and you will need to bring your stroller, it may turn out that there is no space for more gear than the stroller and some diapers!
7. Three or four wheels?
When I was looking for my first stroller for Haley, I was told that strollers with three wheels are unstable and cranky. Don’t let this opinion ifluence your choice! I tried few models (with load) and didn’t see any problems with stability. Of course you have to remember not to lean the whole weigh on one wheel, but it is also the case with four wheels strollers. Some models with three wheels can be more agile than four wheels pushchairs. You should try what suits you more.
In my opinion, the best option is the stroller with three wheels, but with a double front one. That stroller is still light and practical, but also stable and safe for the baby.
We can also choose different types of wheels, for example: plastic, foam or air-filled. If you will use the stroller in the city the plastic ones should be good for you. But if you plan to use the stroller on wooded and bumpy trails you should consider pumped wheels, because they provide better amortization and the baby is less exposed to shocks.
At the end, I would like to discuss some basic safety rules.
- Always use safety harness. It protects your child from falls and tip-overs.
- Infant in a bassinet should be facing your face, so you could keep an eye on him/her.
- Keep your baby away when you are folding or unfolding the stroller to avoid the risk of cutting baby’s finger or other injuries.
- Make sure the stroller is fully unfold – there is a risk of partially unfold. It may collapse under baby’s weight.
- Never use the cup holder for hot beverages.
- Double check the brakes – after setting the brake, shake the stroller a little to make sure it’s fully locked.
- Do not run with a standard stroller that is not designed for jogging. Do not run with a baby younger that 8 months. Until then, baby’s head is heavy, but their spine and neck muscles are not yet fully developed. Bumps and shocks experienced during jogging can be a real health risk to a developing baby.
- Do not hang anything from the handlebar – it can increase risk of tipping-over. When you hang heavy things on the handlebar there is a higher risk of back-tip. Bottom storage basket is better option!
- Take care of the stroller and its technical condition.