Whether you're running errands or strolling around the city, a stroller is the most efficient and fastest way to get your child from point A to point B. Shopping for a stroller can be quite overwhelming as there are many different styles available, such as standard and jogging strollers. Here are a few basic questions to ask yourself before you begin shopping:
What's your budget?
Where do you live (i.e. a busy city or suburban neighborhood)?
Where will you be using it the most (i.e. outdoors or city streets)?
How much traveling will you be doing?
Will more than one child be sharing the stroller?
Now that you've answered those questions, learn about the different types of strollers and find the one that meets your needs.
Types of Strollers
Also known as a single stroller, standard strollers are the most common strollers on the market. Ranging in styles from simple and inexpensive to luxurious strollers with plenty of features, standard strollers oftentimes come with a comfortable padded seat. For some models, you can change up the orientation of the stroller (i.e. facing forward or back towards the parent). Other features include cup holders, storage baskets, and canopies.
Lightweight strollers are small strollers that don't have many bells and whistles. Some parents purchase lightweight strollers as a back-up or travel stroller (in addition to a standard stroller) because they are extremely compact. This option is more suitable for children 6 months and older. Be aware that hanging anything heavy from the handlebars of a lightweight stroller may cause it to tip, since they may weigh less than 15 pounds. Although this is a less expensive option, it's important to know they don't have much padding and are not easily adjustable.
Basically fabric slings, umbrella strollers are not made for babies 6 months and under. To ensure your child is ready for an umbrella stroller, make sure they can hold their head and neck up on their own. Umbrella strollers are often the cheapest strollers on the market. Since they're lightweight and compact, some parents choose to keep them in the car as a backup for quick trips. Although this stroller is easy to use, they are typically not as comfortable as a larger option like a standard stroller. Similar to lightweight style strollers, hanging diaper bags or groceries off the handlebars could make this stroller tip over.
An all-in-one solution, travel systems come with car seats that snap into the stroller for infants and also feature a stroller seat for older babies. These strollers are popular options for two reasons: they are multifunctional and can grow with your baby over time. Compared to other models, like a lightweight stroller, it is a larger, heavier, and more expensive option.
Great for moms and dads who want to run, hike, or even walk with their baby, jogging strollers feature three wheels that absorb shock for a smoother ride. Sporty jogging strollers can feature a front wheel with swivel or without. While this stroller can carry a child up to 5 years old, it's not suitable for an infant (6 months or younger) because it does not fully recline. Other features include a comfortable seat, parking brake, storage basket, and all-terrain wheels.
These high-end, upscale strollers are like bassinets on wheels and do not have a reclining seat. Inside, babies lay down flat. Because of their old-fashioned design, prams are meant for newborns. However, there are some newer models that look like prams and adjust for use with toddlers and older babies.
Made to fit more than one child, multi-infant strollers come with as many as six seats. The alignment of the seats can be side-by-side or tandem (front and back).
Side-By-Side: Although this a comfortable option, a side-by-side stroller can be a bit harder to move around because it's much wider than a typical stroller.
Tandem: Consider this option so you can tote both of your children around, especially if one is an infant and the other is a toddler. Unlike a side-by-side model, this stroller is easy to maneuver around from place to place.
What to Look Out For When Shopping
Confirm that the stroller's locking mechanisms are easy to use.
Test out the stroller's locking positions to prevent the stroller from folding up or collapsing on your child.
Keep your child out of harm's way by looking out for any sharp edges around the stroller's frame.
Additionally, strollers with wide leg openings are not ideal for smaller children or infants because they might slip out.
Securely buckle up your child with a restraint-system. This is a must-have feature because you don't want your child to accidentally slip out.
A five-point harness is one of the safest options; wrapping around the waist, between the legs, and over the shoulders.
Test the buckle out to make sure it's secure and both functional and comfortable.
Take the stroller out for a quick test to confirm the breaks are fully functional and easy to use. While testing out the brakes, make sure the wheels immediately lock when you want to brake.
Before placing your child in the stroller, test the brakes with the stroller open.
To test out the stroller's maneuverability, determine how well the stroller moves by pushing it in a straight line and then try turning it with one hand. You want this movement to feel as easy as possible.
Wheels that swivel in the front and rear of the stroller are the best option and make turning the stroller much easier.
The handles should hit the person pushing the stroller at waist level or right below.
Since most strollers are designed for the average-size woman, opt for adjustable handles so anyone can push the stroller comfortably. Stroller handle extenders are another option.
For newborns, look for a seat that fully reclines.
A seat that is easy to adjust will come in handy as your child grows. Even though infants need a seat that fully reclines, this option is great for nap time too.
Consider a Canopy
An extra amenity, consider a canopy (weather covers & shields) with an adjustable shade. This feature protects your child from weather elements, such as rain, wind, and even the sun!
In case of emergencies or long travel days, keep baby essentials (bottles, apparel, blankets, etc.) in the stroller in an under-the-seat basket.
Babies can make some big messes, so consider a stroller with removable fabrics that are durable and machine-washable. Take a peek at our seat lining options.
Travel with ease by investing in a travel bag to protect your stroller. Perfect for a family always on the go, find a style that meets your traveling needs, whether you need one for flying or to keep it protected while stored in your garage or car.
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