Buying Guide for Baby Strollers
A vast range of strollers is available for newborns, infants and toddlers, including special strollers for single children, twins and triplets. Strollers can be categorized as standard and lightweight, multiple seats, jogging, travel system and umbrella strollers. Each type of stroller comes with a specific weight limit. Some models have provisions to carry a slightly older kid in a standing position provided he/she falls within the specified weight limits.
Ask yourself what you need from a stroller before you choose one. Talk to friends who have used strollers and learn about the various types, features, brands and the price range available. This Guide to Buying strollers will help you make a wise decision. The right stroller can take the drudgery out of taking the child out and makes the outings more fun.
- Standard or traditional
- Double and Triple seat
- Travel system
- Buggies and carriages
Standard or Traditional Strollers: Ideal for infants and toddlers up to 40 lbs these sturdy strollers are heavy-duty and provide a smooth ride. With the fully-reclining seats the baby can sit upright comfortably and enjoy the view outside. Standard strollers often feature a large storage bin, usually under the carriage to let you carry along all your baby’s essentials. Ergonomic handles, roomier seats, larger wheels with a wider wheelbase, locking wheel brakes and better suspension are integral features of a standard stroller. Some standard strollers also feature a built-in music system. However, these strollers are heavier and require some effort to lift in and out of the car or home. Being large, these are a bit difficult to move in crowded areas.
Double or Twin Strollers: Similar in construction to standard strollers these twin strollers can accommodate two kids. Consider the kids ages when selecting a double stroller. Twin strollers can be tandem with seats back-to-back or side-by-side. These come as jogging, umbrella or lightweight strollers as well. Go for a model with reclining seats and one or two infant carriers. Some twin strollers allow for one kid to ride standing while the other sits, however these do not have reclining seats. Being large, see how easily manoeuvrable it is, go for one that can effortlessly move around.
Lightweight Strollers: Often used as a second stroller these inexpensive strollers are perfect for taking to the mall or strolling in the neighbourhood. Mostly weighing less than 20 lbs, lightweight strollers come with most of the features found in larger strollers including storage bins, reclining seats and a canopy. Some models come without reclining seats, which is not suitable for a baby who can’t sit by itself. Lightweight strollers are easily folded with a single hand, save space and can conveniently be taken on a bus or an airplane.
Umbrella Strollers: Weighing around 12 lbs, umbrella strollers are great for running errands to the vegetable market or to the park with your child. These strollers have sun shades, curved handles like an umbrella and it folds like one too. Few of them also feature a storage pocket or basket. Economical, these strollers fold compactly, fit easily in the car boot or under the bed, without taking up too much space. Being lightweight, these are easier to manoeuvre around in crowded areas and tight and narrow spaces and can be carried effortlessly on public transport too. However, these often don’t provide reclining seats, so it is more suitable for slightly older kids around 6 to 9 months of age.
Jogging Strollers: With a sleek frame and strong wheels, jogging stroller are designed for mothers who want to get into shape post pregnancy. The hand brakes help to control the speed of the stroller while jogging, while large bicycle-type inflatable tires and an all-terrain suspension provide a smooth ride on uneven sidewalks, gravelly roads and almost any surface. Owing to their design, these strollers don’t fold compact or flat like lightweight strollers. With non-reclining seats, these are not meant for infants less than 6 months of age. Jogging strollers usually have a fixed front wheel; this requires you to lift the front wheel off the ground by pushing down the back wheels when you need to turn. These are lightweight but large hence difficult to manoeuvre in tight and crowded places. Jogging strollers usually have a carrying capacity of around 80 lbs.
Travel Systems: An SUV among strollers, these 40 lbs travel system strollers feature an easily detachable and snap-to-fit car seat that allows parents to conveniently transport the sleeping baby from the stroller to the car and back without disturbing the baby. The car seat base however remains fitted in the car. Once the infant has outgrown the car seat, the stroller can be used as a standard stroller. These expensive, yet sturdy and durable stroller travel system come with all the features found on a standard stroller including the snack trays, canopy, and large under-the-seat storage bin. Its large size, however, takes up most of the space in your car trunk. Most travel system strollers feature a 3-point harness while a few offer a safer 5-point harness to ensure that your child does not accidentally slip out. While most travel system strollers come as a package, some models accept a variety of car seats allowing parents to choose the most comfortable car seat for their infants.
Buggies and Carriages: Roomy yet stylish, these slightly old-fashioned strollers are perfect for newborns. The bassinet style design, allows the child to face the parent during the ride. These durable buggies feature large sturdy wheels that provide a smooth ride. Expensive and heavy, these buggies are difficult to fold and consume too much space. A large canopy provides protection against harsh sunlight and changing weather.
These JPMA certified, Maclaren Strollers are leaders in standard and twin strollers. With a padded reversible liner, adjustable head and foot rest and a canopy, these lightweight strollers ensure a smooth ride and provide a one-hand compact fold. They provide travel systems as well.
Bugaboo Cameleon and Bugaboo Bee, from Bugaboo Strollers, come in a wide range of hip and trendy materials and colours. Bugaboo Cameleon features a detachable bassinet with a aerosleep mattress along with a reversible multi-position seat and handlebar in its stream-lined functional construction. The bassinet can be taken in the car.
Whether you have an infant or an older kid, single child or twins, Graco Strollers offer a vast range of lightweight, full-size and twin strollers to fulfil all your requirements. Feature-laden, these strollers provide reversible seats, roomy interiors, a canopy, cup trays, drop-down storage bins and much more.
Key features to look for in a stroller
The number of children you have or plan to have and your lifestyle can influence your selection of a stroller. Depending on that buy a stroller that lasts till your second or third child. If you are planning to travel with your baby, you need to buy a stroller that is sturdy yet easy to manoeuvre. For fitness-conscious mothers, there are rugged jogging strollers that you can run with. For shopping or a walk in the park, a lightweight umbrella stroller is just perfect. Often parents buy two strollers, one light and one heavy, to suit these different purposes.
1. Harness and Seat belt: To ensure that your baby remains safe in the stroller, it must have a strong restrain system. The belt should be adjustable to accommodate the child as it grows, while providing a snug fit by looping around the waist and crotch. A 5-point harness keeps the baby secured around the shoulders as well, a must-have in all strollers. The buckles should be easy to latch and unlatch.
2. Canopy and seat: Seats that offer multi-position reclining are most comfortable for your baby when it is sleepy. Simply recline the seat as required and let the baby doze off on the go. An adjustable canopy protects your baby against harsh sunlight and foul weather. A peek-a-boo window lets your baby to look around and while you monitor him/her. Few strollers also come with built-in rain and insect shield.
3. Stroller frame: Aluminium, steel, plastic or a combination of these in are often used in construction of the stroller frame. Strollers made from aluminium and plastic are lightweight and easy to move around. Steel frames add to the stroller weight, however they are very sturdy.
4. Fabric used: Babies are likely to spill food and create mess, so ensure that the seat cover and canopy are removable and easy-to-wash. Most strollers come with seats that can be easily cleaned.
5. Brakes: Safety brakes on the stroller should lock the wheels in place while you are engaged and the stroller is briefly unattended.
6. Wheels: For more stability a wider wheel base is mandatory while swivel wheels make the stroller easy to manoeuvre.
7. Adequate storage: Large storage bins are great for carrying your baby’s essentials such as a change of clothes, extra bibs, diapers, wet wipes, sunscreen, food and toys when you are going on long trips with your baby or even to the neighbourhood park.
8. Adjustable handles: Strollers either have two separate handle or a single handlebar that are designed for people with average heights. Look for handles that can be adjusted for taller people as well.
9. Smooth open/close mechanism: Strollers that can be easily folded by one hand or foot while you hold your baby in another are the best. A compact fold allows the strollers to enough to store away under a bed, inside a cupboard or in the car boot when travelling.
10. Trays and cup holders: Most Strollers come with a food tray and cup holders for holding feeding bottles, sippy juice mugs and snacks.
11. Weight: More the features more your stroller will weigh. Check out the strollers’ weight, add to it your baby’s weight and determine the weight you will have to push around. Consider your fitness levels and determine if you can manage that much weight.
12. Built-in toys: Dangling toys figurines and a toy steering wheel keep a child engaged while you chat up a friend or shop.
It is evident that selecting the right stroller that meets all your requirements is not going to be easy given the excesses that we have for strollers in terms of variety, brands, and models. Use this guide to decide on the type and the specific features that you may want from your stroller so as to narrow down the options.
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