October 30, 2013

Tips for Choosing Your Best Stroller

A stroller is an essential piece of gear for your little one. Whether you’re going grocery shopping, for a walk in the park, or traveling the world, your baby is coming along for the ride.

That stroller is going to get a good workout over the years so it’s important to choose wisely.

Things to Consider

With so many types, brands, and features, it can be a little daunting to determine which stroller is best for you. Before you get started, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who will be using the stroller (infant, toddler, more than one child)?
  • How often will it be used?
  • Where will it be used (busy city, outdoors etc.)?
  • What is your lifestyle like (do you travel often, are you sporty, etc.)?
  • Who will be pushing the stroller?
  • Where will it be stored?
  • What is your price range?
  • Size and weight of the stroller (will it fit in the trunk of your car, for example?)
  • Do you plan to use public transportation or travel by plane with your baby in tow?

 

What to Look For

Above all, strollers should be sturdy and safe. There are many other features to consider, some essential, and some simply a matter of preference. It helps to make your own checklist of requirements to identify the best choices for you. These are some of the most common features parents look at:

  • A multi-position reclining seat so your baby can sit upright or lie back to nap in comfort (reclining seat are a must for newborns).
  • A sun canopy, preferably with a viewing window.
  • Roomy storage space that’s easily accessible.
  • Easy to clean upholstery.
  • An easy folding system. You don’t want to wrestle with your stroller every time you have to put it away. One-hand fold system is a plus.
  • Maneuverability is crucial. Swivel wheels and easy steering make your life so much easier.
  • A maximum weight of at least 40 lbs so you can get a lot of use out of it.
  • Good suspension for a smooth ride.
  • Five-point harness to secure your baby.

Some convenience features that are nice to have are not critical include:

  • Adjustable handles, especially for tall parents.
  • A snack or play tray to keep your little one entertained (many strollers don’t include it buy you can buy later as an extra accessory).
  • A parent tray or cup holder.
  • One-touch brakes. A reliable brake system is a must on any stroller, but the one-touch system just adds a little extra security.

 

Types of Strollers

Traditional Strollers They come in a variety of weights, sizes, prices and equipped with a variety of convenience features. Some convert from carriage to an upright seat stroller.

Pros: Generally lightweight and easy to use and fold.

Cons: Depending on the model, you may not be able to use it for more than a few months.

Price range: anything from $20 to $900 and beyond.  

 

Travel Systems

Travel systems combine a car seat that snaps onto a stroller, making it easy to move a sleeping baby from the car to the stroller and back. Once Baby can support his or herself, you can use the stroller on its own.

Pros: Offers more bang for your buck and provides good coverage from the elements.

Cons: They can be very bulky, and some of the car seats only hold infants so you would need to purchase a bigger car seat later on.

Price range: $150 - $500  

 

Umbrella Strollers

Lightweight and easy to maneuver, umbrella strollers are ideal for traveling or as secondary strollers.

Pros: No fuss, easy to fold, fit almost anywhere.

Cons: Because they are so basic, they often lack many convenience features such as storage space or reclining seats.

Price range: $15 - $200  

 

Jogging Strollers

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, jogging strollers will be your (and your baby’s) best friend. With large rubber wheels, shock absorbers and excellent brakes, they are perfect for negotiating uneven surfaces.

Pros: Practical, maneuverable even in tight spaces so they are good for busy city sidewalks and stores as well as the outdoors.

Cons: Most are designed to be used by babies older than six months, so they are not an option for infants.

Price range: $90 - $800  

 

Double Strollers

If you’ve got twins or two children close in age, double strollers are the way to go. They come in two options: tandem (one child sits behind the other) and side by side. There are also triple and quad strollers on the market now.

Pros: A single stroller for all the kids.

Cons: Heavier and bulkier than regular strollers. A good rule of thumb when buying side by side strollers is to make sure they are 30” or less in width so they fit through standard doorways.

Price range: $80 - $800  

 

Modular or Multi-Component Strollers

Also known as seat carriers, these strollers are relatively new to the market but are fast becoming more and more popular. They basically consist of a simple frame where you can snap on interchangeable seats (car seat, bassinet, second seats, etc.)

Pros: Ultra versatile, can be customized as your baby grows.

Cons: Pricey, all components must be bought separately.

Price range: $300 - $1,000  

 

Prams

These are classic carriages that are basically bassinets on wheels. They’re beautiful, elegant, and cozy for your newborn.

Pros: Great suspension ensures a smooth ride.

Cons: Aside from being expensive, they are intended for infants only; you will need a new stroller when your baby can sit up. They don’t fold up which makes them hard to travel with or store at home.

Price range: $800 - $1,200

See all Strollers