Whether you are preparing to go for a vacation or strolling in the park, a stroller is a must-have item for a life on the go with a baby. That said, it can be hard to determine the type of stroller you need and what features to look out for, and overwhelming especially with all the different types of strollers available. Read on for a comprehensive stroller buying guide so that you are well-prepared next time you go shopping and pick something that will ensure that your little one is happy, comfortable, and safe.
Factors to consider when choosing a baby stroller
When it comes to pushing your baby around in a stroller, safety is the top priority. The basic safety features to look for when stroller shopping include:
- A 5-point safety harness strap
5-point safety harnesses are pretty standard these days, although some umbrella strollers tend to skimp with a 3-point harness. Before making a purchase, test the snaps to ensure that they are secure and easy to buckle and unbuckle, but not for a kid.
Make sure that the stroller has reliable brakes. Make sure that you test the brakes to determine the ease of use. Do you find yourself having to hit the brakes when you don’t intend to? Can you stop the stroller securely? Are the brakes easy to disengage when you’re ready to hit the pavement?
- Hinges and edges
You want to be careful when it comes to hinges and edges on any type of baby product, and even more so when looking at strollers. This is because a child’s toes and fingers can easily get caught in these tight spaces, so keep an eye out for any sharp edges and protrusions.
Check if the stroller model you intend to purchase features a sticker that indicates is certificated by the JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association).
There are probably other things that you will want to bring along with you on your outdoor excursion apart from your baby. A storage basket underneath the stroller is very convenient for storing a purse, diaper bag, and grocery bags.
Cup holders (where you can keep your little one's sippy cup or your drink) and small storage spaces for storing phones and keys are also quite useful. This stroller features a large under-the-seat storage area that can hold the various items you bring along with you.
3. Ease of use
- Can you keep the stroller in the car trunk?
If you intend to put the stroller in the trunk of your car regularly, you need to go for a model that can be easily folded. Some stroller designs that feature large wheels may not fit in all car trunks. Before you purchase a stroller, you want to measure the trunk of your car and compare it to the size of the stroller when it is folded.
- Can you carry the stroller up and down flights of stairs?
If you have to walk up and down the stairs to get around, the weight of the stroller is an important consideration. Your newborn might weigh 6-8 lbs, but keep in mind that babies grow very fast, so you may often find yourself lugging up to 50 lbs, depending on how heavy the stroller is. If this is a concern for you, you may want to consider a lightweight stroller like this one.
- One-handed fold
Being able to close and open a stroller with only one hand is a feature that is worth your consideration, especially if you find yourself having to constantly balance your baby in your other arm. A bonus feature is if the stroller can stand up on its own without tipping over. For this feature, this stroller is a great place to start.
- Is the fabric washable?
Babies are very messy. Your stroller seat will inevitably experience snack accidents, drool, spit-up, and drippy bottles, so it’s convenient if you can effortlessly remove the seat cover and toss it in the washing machine.
A canopy that can be easily adjusted is a must-have feature if you'll be taking your little one on sunny walks. A big canopy will provide plenty of shade from harmful UV rays and other harmful weather elements, as well as offer your little one a bit of privacy when they nap. A lot of canopies, especially the bigger ones, feature small windows through which you can peek in on your child now and then.
5. Adjustable handlebar
Look for a stroller that comes with an adjustable handlebar. This makes the stroller easy for different people to push, regardless of how tall/short they are.
6. The age of your little one
Are you purchasing the stroller for a new-born or a one-year-old child?
- 0-6 months old
For the first few months, your baby is unable to sit up on his/her own and lacks sufficient head and neck stability. As a result, you will want to invest in a bassinet, an infant car seat that is attached to the frame, or a fully reclined seat (not more than 10 degrees).
- 6 months and older
When your little one can sit up and has a stronger neck, you can push him/her around in a lightweight stroller. The stroller seat should be easy to recline to ensure your child remains comfortable.
7. Your lifestyle
Are you a suburban mom who needs a stroller for short excursions away from home or walks around your neighborhood? Or are you a city mom who needs a stroller to get around daily? Do you intend to stick to one stroller for all your needs or want to buy an all-purpose stroller and add on a jogging or travel stroller as your child gets older? The stroller that you choose should match your lifestyle to ensure that you get the most out of it.
A stroller is a big purchase and an important piece of baby gear, finding the right one for you is crucial. All you need to decide on the type of stroller to go for is a bit of knowledge on what is available on the market and have an understanding of what your own needs are, as well as have a budget in mind. In no time, you and your little one will be hitting the pavement in style.