Once you’ve gotten over your initial anxiety about taking your baby outside, you might start wondering how to choose a stroller. As a new parent, you may not know what to look for. By following safety specifications, your price range, and the needs of your family, you should be able to find what you need.
Use this guide to learn how to choose a baby stroller so your baby is comfortable, your budget is satisfied, and you have all the features and conveniences that you need. You can also check out the Consumer Reports buying guide for some more information.
New parents always get a punch in the gut when they see how much strollers actually cost – models on the higher end can run as high as $1,000. You need to plan ahead for how much you want to use this stroller when you budget for it.
Use this catalog from Netparents to start figuring out your options.
You may not be able to plan this far ahead and that’s okay. However, with the price tag on the average stroller, you need to consider whether you might have room in your family for more babies in the near future. If you think you might have another kid in a few years, there are larger strollers that can fit as many as three babies at once.
If you know your plans ahead of time, you can buy one stroller that will last you the infancies of the next five years. It will be a pricey overhead, but a far better alternative to buying and pushing two single strollers at once.
These guidelines by the Consumer Product Safety Commission detail what you should look for in a stroller by demonstrating the main safety hazards of most models.
You want to look for complex wheel chassis that look sturdy and have multi-functional support and swivel features. You want a stroller with lots of locking mechanisms that don’t look flimsy. When you’re wondering how to choose a stroller, you’re looking for a balance of sturdiness and features.
If you see sharp or snappy hinges that could cut fingers, you want to look elsewhere. Lastly, check the seat belt. Many models feature belts that kids can escape from on purpose or on accident. You want something that will keep them strapped in.
4. Type of Stroller
Other than the price, size, and safety of the strollers you’re looking through, you need to decide which type of stroller is right for you.
Different models come with different safety features, different uses on different terrains, and different options in terms of your needs as a family.
All-purpose strollers are the main models. They typically feature one seat but can be bought in larger sizes with two seats or a stroller board where an older child can stand up while riding. They’re good for pretty much all occasions. If you’re wondering how to choose a stroller for the park, beach, or neighborhood walks, then an all-purpose model should have you covered.
Jogging strollers, by contrast, are sturdier. They’re for parents that want to run with their babies. This is why they feature advanced suspension springs and larger wheels so that you have more control and a smoother ride for the baby. Look for jogging strollers that have handbrake controls as well so you can stop on a dime if you need to.
If you plan on taking this stroller on vacation or to a theme park, you might want to consider a lightweight stroller model. These can be folded into airplane compartments or car trunks for easy portability. Their low storage footprint comes with a flimsier construction, however, so don’t expect to jog with one of these models.
There are a few essential accessories you need to watch for when you’re looking at strollers. The most important is a rain cover or canopy that will protect your baby from the rain – every stroller needs one of these. You also want to look for cushion bunting that will keep your baby warm on cold morning walks. How important these accessories are to you will vary depending on the climate of the area you live in.
For convenience sake, you also want to choose a stroller that has enough cup holders and containers for snacks. Just because your baby is in a stroller doesn’t mean they’re automatically occupied. Look for a stroller that has toy attachments too to keep them amused.
Stroller boards, as mentioned, allow you to carry another toddler on the stroller while standing, which can maximize the usefulness of your stroller and is an especially good investment if you’re a single parent (or are often alone with the kids) with multiple children to watch.
In addition to little cup holders and containers for snacks, you want to make sure the stroller you buy has enough storage space for your diapers, bags, toys, food, and whatever else you need for your baby. You might think that your cheap, lightweight stroller is enough (why not save a few bucks?), but your breezy walk to the park could quickly become a burden.
Imagine an infant in a thin stroller, then a toddler you’re leading by the hand, then a diaper bag and toy bag slung over both shoulders. You want a stroller that can hold everything – it will be worth the money, believe us.
If you’re wondering how to choose a stroller, you need to read consumer reports and look at shopping guides. But most of all, you need to figure out your needs and the needs of your family.
Once you’ve figured out which model you want based on the size and child capacity, you need to check its safety features, its storage capacity, and its extra features. You want to be able to store your bags in it, keep your kid occupied with toys and snacks, and be able to jog with your baby if you want to. Once you know your needs, you can use this guide to figure out how to use them to choose a stroller.