What should I consider when buying a stroller?

Stroller

A stroller is a definite must-have safe, reliable, and easy to use. But as a stroller can range in price from $30 to upwards of thousands of dollars, you’re going to want to make sure you’re getting the best option for your dollar. These basic questions can help to select the stroller.

  • Where will you use it? Many mid-range models can be big and bulky — not ideal if you’re navigating narrow city streets. But a smaller umbrella stroller might not work for you if you need a stroller basket big enough to handle your purse, diaper bag, and other essentials. Know where you’ll go with your stroller — that’s half the battle.
  • Is it newborn-friendly? Check the details. Some strollers offer a deep recline or bassinet mode, which means you can put your newborn in them from day one — with no add-ons needed. But many models are more suitable for infants who have some neck control or can nearly sit up unsupported, which usually doesn’t happen until month 6. You may need to attach a car seat or optional bassinet to make some models infant-ready, so know what you’re getting before you buy.
  • How long do you plan to use it? While you may pay more upfront for certain models, adaptability from newborn through toddler stages could save you cash in the long run. Do you plan to use the same stroller for multiple kids? If so, shop for long-term value, and consider a model you can add onto — a car seat, a stand-and-ride bumper, or an additional seat for a new baby.
  • How easy is it to use? Once you’ve done some research and narrowed down your choices, it’s smart to do a test drive in person, so you can see how your favorites compare — and consider that a flat and shiny store floor may not reveal how a particular model will do on uneven sidewalks or hilly terrain. Can you steer it smoothly? Can you maneuver it with one hand? How does it handle a tight turn?
  • How easy is it to fold and unfold? You’ll likely be holding a baby — and more — when you need to fold or unfold the stroller, so easier is better. Many models tout a one-hand fold, but try before you purchase — not all one-handed folds are as easy as they sound.
  • How heavy is it? When you’re on the road, a lighter is better. But note the details, because some manufacturers will call a 25-pound stroller lightweight, while others can weigh a mere 12 pounds. If you live in a city, for example, that can be a big difference when you’re carrying a baby, a diaper bag, and a stroller up endless staircases or squishing onto the subway.
  • Do you need more than one? Perhaps you’d prefer to have an umbrella stroller for the road, but a full-sized model for busy days in the neighborhood. For some families, one stroller just doesn’t cover all the bases, no matter how cleverly designed. If that’s the case, consider splitting your stroller budget rather than investing heavily in one. You might need a basic full-size model for home and a separate umbrella stroller for travel. Read More

Helpful features

  • Safety features: Above all else, make sure the stroller you have your eye on meets basic safety requirements.
  • Quality wheels: You won’t log many miles with flimsy wheels — they get stuck on uneven terrain (including bumpy sidewalks) and are more prone to snapping.
  • Sun canopy: Look for long or adjustable canopies to keep baby shielded from sun, rain, and other elements. Some models even have ventilated or clear windows, so you can protect the baby, but still keep a close eye on her. 
  • Storage: Babies come with a lot of gear. A stroller with a large undercarriage to hold items will make your life much easier on the go. 
  • Washable fabric: It’s no secret that babies are messy. Combine baby’s messes — snack crumbs and snot, for instance — with regular wear and tear, and your stroller will certainly take a beating. A model with easy-to-wash fabric will help you keep your stroller in good shape for longer. 
  • Longevity: To get the most bang for your buck, look for a stroller that will grow with baby — and possibly beyond, if you choose to add additional children to your brood. 

Choosing the right stroller

Before deciding on a stroller, it’s important to consider three things: cost, lifestyle, and family size. 

  • Cost: As previously mentioned, stroller prices vary wildly. And while top-dollar models do often have plenty of added convenience features — adjustable handlebars, rain shields, large undercarriages, and even multiple seats — they aren’t always necessary.
  • Lifestyle: This is where lifestyle comes in. Do you anticipate heavy near-daily use? Or do you need a stroller simply for occasional outings? Other lifestyle factors to consider: Can you transport your stroller via the car? Or, will you be lugging it through the city, up subway stairs, and in and out of apartments? Answering these types of questions can help you figure out whether you should gravitate towards more basic, lightweight models — or if you can swing a heavier model with all of the bells and whistles.
  • Family size: Finally, consider your ideal family size. If you ultimately plan to have more than one child, it often makes sense to make a larger investment in a model that can eventually accommodate more children. Though you’ll have to be able to stomach the bigger price tag now, it’ll ultimately save you from having to buy more than one stroller. Read More

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