Tips for Buying Strollers
A stroller is one of the earliest and most significant buys for those embarking on the adventure that is parenthood. Whether you’re heading out for groceries or walking to the park nearby, it is going to be your constant companion. And while safety for your baby is a must, you also have many other factors to consider, such as design, storage, adaptability and most importantly, comfort. Here’s a detailed list of what you need to look out for when making your purchase.
Safety, obviously, is key, so begin by going over the basics. Pick a stroller that is well-balanced, and one which straps your baby securely in place. A 5-point harness is the safest, but a 3-point harness is good as well. The wheels of a stroller come in many materials, but air-filled ones similar to bicycle tires are the most sturdy and comfortable.
While these might need to be filled from time to time, they make for a much smoother ride as compared to plastic wheels. All-terrain wheels are naturally a better choice for smooth sailing in any environment. Also, baby-proofing is as important for the stroller as for the home, so make sure the design does not have any sharp edges.
With the safety taken care of, let’s look at the comfort factor. We’d recommend that a stroller have a reclining seat so the baby is comfortable both sitting and sleeping. Check the padding in the seat cushion for softness; you don’t want your baby sitting on what feels like a wooden bench. Look up the wash care instructions. A seat cover that can be put in the washing machine is a real blessing when you consider how messy things can get sometimes.
Then there are the physical dimensions of the stroller to be considered. The stroller has to be small enough to get through a normal door. Taller parents must look at adjustable handles so they don’t have to stoop while walking. Also make sure the stroller doesn’t start tipping if you weigh down a bit on the handles. Weight-wise, you’ll find strollers in every range, with the lighter ones generally being pricier. Whatever your budget, you want to keep in mind that a heavy stroller will be that much more difficult to push around once you add the child’s weight. Check how much weight the design can carry, to know the age till which your child will be able to use it.
Depending on where you live, you’ll want to consider the storage space the stroller will take up. Those that fold easily are better choices especially for parents who use the car a lot. Also, with diapers and sweaters and snacks and drinks, you’re going to need all the storage you can get, so look for one that has storage space beneath the seat.
There are many types of strollers in the market today, from umbrella strollers to double strollers to joggers. Umbrella strollers, while lightweight and easy to carry, are not the best in terms of storage or comfort, especially for babies who need head support. Double strollers are obviously a great choice for parents with kids who are in the same age range, but there are a few things you should look at before buying. If its side-by-side seating, can the stroller get in through the average door? If it is stadium seating (one behind and slightly above the other) can the child in the rear seat see ahead clearly. Needless to say, you’re going to require double the storage space, so don’t go for a choice with little space.
Joggers, as the name suggests, are the best choice for parents who are likely to go running, but pay close attention especially to the safety features when going for this style. Pick a jogger with an excellent braking system and don’t settle for anything less than a 5-point harness. Then there are travel systems, i.e., strollers that include a car seat for an infant up to 20 pounds. While these are great in terms of adaptability, do bear in mind that babies outgrow them pretty quickly. To avoid unnecessary spending and last-minute confusion, make sure any choice you make is approved for carrying aboard flights.
There’s a stroller to fit every budget, but prioritize on the features you’ll need and go for the choice that offers the best quality within your price range. Among brand names, Graco and Maclaren are sound choices both in terms of quality and price. For those who are looking to spend more, Uppababy, Bugaboo and Baby Jogger are popular names among luxury strollers. Choosing excellent quality over affordability will save you a lot of trouble replacing the stroller every year, and give your bundle of joy plenty to smile about.