Moms strolls and baby rolls! Strollers and baby carriages are a great way to get your baby or child from Point A to Point B and keep them happy along the way. Since most parents intend to use them for several years, it’s important to spend some time deciding on products that suit your specific needs and are built to hold up to a growing child’s weight and activity.
How do I know what type of stroller to buy?
The right stroller can make or break your outings with baby. So before you purchase one, think about how you’ll use the stroller most and what features are important to you. Is the stroller for your newborn, infant or toddler? Is your baby a stomach baby? Do you need a lot of storage space for your diaper bag and shopping bags? Is it important to have cup holders for mom and dad? A snack tray and cup holder for your child? These may not seem important, but if your baby stroller isn’t convenient, you won’t use it as much.
Medium to heavy-duty strollers are the sedans of the baby world: roomy and reliable, though not very flashy. These strollers often have larger seats than lightweight strollers, a well-padded seat cover for baby’s comfort and almost all of them have at least two seat positions. Select a stroller with multiple seat positions or one that fully reclines for ultimate flexibility. Standard strollers feature double wheels for a smooth, stable ride and front swivel wheels for better maneuverability. Nearly all standard strollers fold, but some fold more easily than others. If you plan to fold it flat for frequent travel, make it easier on yourself by choosing a model with a one-handed system that’s also fairly light when you lift it.
In recent years, travel systems—which include a stroller and coordinating infant car seat—have been a popular option for parents. The benefit of travel systems is that the car seat is made to attach securely to the stroller, so you can let a sleeping baby stay asleep when it’s time to go from the car to the store.
If you’re interested in travel systems, make sure you choose products with high safety ratings for both the stroller and car seat. Once your baby gets a little bigger, you can remove the car seat and have a regular stroller. A great choice if you drive often and a stroller that grows with your child is important to you.
Lightweight strollers, also called umbrella strollers, make sense when you’ll be using it for a shorter period of time, don’t need the storage provided by a traditional stroller, and when portability is key. Many people buy one of these to keep in the car as a second option, but end up using it all the time.
Some lightweight strollers are stripped down versions of standard strollers, only offering your child a place to ride. The good news is that they’re very economical. Others offer many of the same features as traditional strollers, including seats that recline and storage areas. Select a lightweight stroller that best fits your needs.
Double strollers are very popular for moms with twins, though they’re equally handy if you have two young children or plan to have two children close in age. Some double strollers come with seats arranged one in front of the other, which may be good if you live in an urban area with crowded sidewalks. Other models offer seats next to each other, which is optimal for giving both children a great view of the world.
Another option in multiple-passenger strollers is a ride-on model, which gives the younger child a seat while the older child stands on the back. These are good for quick trips, but even an older child will get tired of standing before too long.
If you and/or your partner is a jogger—or simply enjoys going off road—you may want to consider the benefits of a jogging stroller. These models have three large, sturdy, bicycle-like tires and a suspension system made to withstand the impact of almost any surface for very smooth riding. If you’re a jogger with twins or two small children, a double jogging stroller may be right for you. Some parents use a jogging stroller as their everyday stroller, but remember that they’re not designed for use with babies under six months old. Also, they typically don’t fold as flat as traditional strollers, though companies such as Baby Jogger are changing that rule.
- If your stroller folds, try it out to make sure you’re able to quickly and easily fold it down. Also make sure it fits into the trunk of your car.
- Check its sturdiness by taking it for a quick test drive.
- If you’ll be loading it down with bags and packages, do so during the test drive to make sure it doesn’t collapse or tip over.
- Make sure the wheels maneuver easily and that you can lock them in place.
- Check the handle height to ensure it will be comfortable for both you and your partner to push.
- Make sure it has enough storage for everyday use and that it has the convenience features (cup holders for you/snack tray for your child) you’re looking for.
- Check the weight limit of the stroller to ensure it will be safe for your child well into the toddler years.
- Investigate the stroller’s restraint system. A five-point harness is the gold standard in child safety belts, though a three-point harness may be fine for quick trips to the mall.
- A canopy that’s fully retractable provides great flexibility for keeping the sun out of baby’s face while allowing mom to retract it when it’s not needed or to get a quick peek at the child.
- Make sure all fabric is washable. Seat cushions that are removable for machine washing are even better.
- Look for strollers that lock into place when assembled and also lock when folded.
Are baby carriages making a comeback?
The cliché that everything old is new again is true with baby carriages. Lots of new moms love the romantic style of a baby carriage or pram and the fact that they come in a variety of styles and colors—from eye-catching to subtle. They also love the option of having their newborn face them. Let your baby ride in comfort and style in an enchanting carriage. Your baby needs a comfortable place to rest and sleep all the time – inside and out.
Traditionally styled carriages are typically made for babies under one year, so you’ll need to purchase an additional stroller for later use. However, some companies—such as Inglesina—offer models that transform from a carriage to a stroller by replacing the infant basket with a stroller seat. With carriages, it’s especially important to check the age and weight limit so you know whether you’ll need an additional stroller later.
What stroller accessories are useful?
Accessories can make your stroller more convenient for both you and your child. These are some fantastic accessories to improve your experience:
- Stroller rain covers are great for shielding your child when raindrops begin to fall.
- Netting that covers the stroller helps protect your child from annoying bugs.
- Handle bar extenders are useful if you’re tall and your stroller doesn’t have adjustable-height handle bars. Simply attach them to the handles, and you won’t have to lean over to push anymore.
- A bunting bag cocoons your child in warmth on cold walks. These bags are designed to fit into the stroller and have cut-outs for safety straps.
- Attachable toys entertain your child while you’re on the move or browsing in a store.
The Bottom Line
Strollers come in many different varieties. Determine which models and features are right for your lifestyle and then research your choice to make sure that it’s safe and will endure for years to come.
Our Mom Expert
Caron Webber, 37, is the mother of five children, ages 2 to 12.
“Eventhough I have five kids, I don’t have a double stroller—though looking back it would have been nice! Instead, I purchased relatively inexpensive stroller connectors that allowed me to connect two umbrella strollers together, essentially transforming them into a double stroller. It made quick trips with all of the kids much easier.”