The Savvy Shoppers Guide To Buying A Stroller
Babies in their strollers are sweet, but the time you spend pushing them around is comparatively short. You want to enjoy this initial phase; be able to manoeuvre your baby in comfort and with ease, not have to wrestle your pram into and out of the car while cursing under your breath.
Read these tips and pointers and you will be well on your way to knowing more about what you want out of a stroller and how to go about getting the best choice for your little one when buying a stroller.
Test drive your stroller – loaded.
Going to a store and checking how your stroller manoeuvres around the aisles is great. Until you add your baby, your shopping, your coffee and your baby gear. When you’ve added some weight – anything will do, you don’t have to borrow a baby – try pushing the stroller around the store.
Now do it one handed. Your stroller should man oeuvre easily with little pushing or pulling on your part. How well your loaded stroller moves is the most important factor when choosing your stroller.
Folding and opening your stroller
You need to check how easily your stroller opens and closes – also make sure you can do this one handed. While so many strollers are advertised for their low weight, in the long run buying a stroller which opens and closes easily will compensate for a little extra heaviness.
Learn the Lingo of Buying A Stroller
If you have never had to buy a stroller before, the language can be a little confusing. Here’s what you’re looking at when you are shopping for your baby carriage…
Carriage – another name for a stroller, often where the baby faces whoever is pushing.
Pram – used to describe old fashioned carriages where your infant lies down. Think of this type of stroller as a bassinet on wheels. Useful for newborns, not so practical as they grow up.
Travel System – a stroller that also comes with a car seat that snaps in. Move the seat from the car to the stroller without unharnessing your little one.
Stroller Frames – a frame that your infant car seat snaps into. Inexpensive, but they are not suitable for long term use as once your baby grows out of their infant seat you need to purchase a seat stroller insert for your stroller frame.
Standard Stroller – the most common group in the stroller family, this is probably what you are thinking about when you imagine buying a stroller. Most commonly they have features such as reversible seating, hoods, cup holders, baskets for storage and adjustable features like handlebars, cushions, snack trays and canopies.
Jogging Stroller – made for those who want to run with their baby. They are three wheeled and more sturdy than a regular stroller. There are also jogging strollers designed for parents who like the look of a jogging stroller but don’t intend to run with their baby. These are heavier and more difficult to manoeuvre but they give a baby a smooth ride over bumpy terrain.
Umbrella Stroller – a small and lightweight stroller with less structure and support (read less weight); this is one that your baby will move into once they can sit up. Small and lightweight, you will love this more convenient mode of transport.
Double strollers – allows two children to ride in one stroller. If you’re having twins, then a double stroller is a necessity. If you have two children close in age, talk to other people in a similar situation. Double strollers are big, awkward and harder to move around store aisles. You may find it easier to carry your infant strapper to you, your existing stroller may accommodate an accessory such as a toddler step or seat you can buy or you may just have to encourage your older child to walk for themselves.
Important Questions To Ask Before You Buy
Is the handle high enough? Always push test a stroller to make sure that you’re not uncomfortable with your stroller. Handlebars which are too low can cause you to stoop or kick the wheels as you walk. Everyone’s gait is different; make sure that your stroller will accommodate yours and your partners comfortably.
Is there enough storage space? Diaper bag, baby gear and groceries can all wind up resting in your stroller. Be careful not to hang too much on it as your stroller can tip backwards, but good storage and baskets are essential. Other nice additions are cup holders, side pockets and handlebar storage, but you will soon get a feel of storage accessories you like when buying a stroller.
How easy is it to fold? Most people will have to fold their strollers every time they use them – sometimes even to get them in and out of the house. You want a stroller that is easy to open and close – preferably one handed. You want something that locks shut – a stroller popping open at the least bump is not a great situation.
Can you steer it? If you’ve been out shopping already you may have seen strollers described as an SUV for your baby. This is all well and good, but we want to ask these manufacturers – have they tried to squeeze these giant strollers through shopping aisles? Always test drive a stroller. How easy is it to turn corners? How easy is it to turn back quickly when you r little one has thrown a shoe out of their pram? Can you get around in tight places with little fuss or maneuvering?
How much does it weigh? While it’s true that the lighter your stroller is the easier it will be to push, carry and lift, this is definitely not the most important consideration. There are a variety of strollers, weighing from 8 to 40 pounds. That wasn’t a typo. As a new parent you may worry that a light stroller means poor construction, but this is not a rule of thumb.
What features are you looking for? Do you want a swing bar on the front so your toddler can get themselves in? Do you want a snack tray? Is a coffee holder a deal breaker for you? All quality strollers have locking wheels and harness straps. Make sure that it’s easily washable. JPMA certification is essential when buying a stroller and you will know your pram has met basic safety standards.
Nice Wheels… These are more important than you would think. If the wheels of your intended stroller are plastic, do yourself a favor and keep looking. Brakes are also handy as are lockable wheels. They should be sturdy and move easily in a fully loaded baby stroller.
Budgeting When Buying An Infant Stroller
It’s your baby – so spend as much or as little as you like! Remember that you may need to buy another stroller within the first twelve months to suit your little one as they grow. An umbrella stroller is lighter and smaller than the stroller you begin with, it can be used from about six months until the child no longer needs a stroller at about three years. Because of this some parents choose to spend more on the stroller they will use for longer. Other parents choose to buy only one stroller that is lightweight and adaptable to suit infants through to 40 pound toddlers.
There are fashionable strollers, useful strollers and strollers better suited to celebrity fads, but no matter which you choose, make sure that it is a reflection of your lifestyle and budget. When you buy your stroller it’s a good idea to shop around after you have chosen your model. You will be surprised at some of the price differences out there for the same make and model of infant stroller.
Its not only exposed springs, sharp edges or anywhere that could trap small inquisitive fingers you need to look out for when buying a stroller. Before you buy your carriage you should always check its safety record, regardless of whether you’re buying new or second hand. Make sure that your model doesn’t have a recall and check the manufacturer’s safety history. Use this quick link to SafeProducts.gov and easily check your intended stroller.
All content is an opinion; I’m a mom who researches online to help other mom’s. If you have any questions regarding safety and baby gear you should always consult a professional.