A stroller is a piece of gear that will be needed almost right after a woman gives birth. They're the one thing that needs to be ready to go on outings with a little one, up until a person's child is of walking age and able to walk the distance required. Considering the precious cargo the stroller will be transporting, it’s a crucial decision as to which one a parent should choose. Actually, it may be one of the more important buys we'll make as a new parent because we'll want something that will be comfortable and safe for our little one. At the same time, though, it needs to be able to do a whole lot of things for the parents, too.
Parents will find different strollers that cater to different needs and price ranges, but sometimes the decision-making process can be a little overwhelming. With so many styles of strollers on the market, it can be hard to find the “perfect” one, but if we ask ourselves a few questions before making the purchase, it could help us make the best decision.
Below are 20 tips for picking a stroller that caters to every parent's needs; some are pretty straight-forward, while others will be things to think about.
20 Safety Features Are Important
Perhaps the most obvious question moms ask when they buy a stroller is just how safe it is because it’s going to be transporting some very precious cargo. When choosing any stroller, you need to check the safety instructions, and according to Mom Junction, these should include the harness having a five-point system to keep your child well-secured. The stroller should also have good brakes and a wheel locking system.
According to R for Rabbit, you should also check the frame of the stroller, the wheel function, and whether the axles are straight. These features will help to prevent any accidents and allow you to feel more confident when you’re out and about.
19 Don’t Let The Harness Or Other Pieces Pinch Baby’s Fingers Or Toes
Of equal importance to the safety, is the comfort that the stroller offers for your child, and you want to ensure that the stroller has been designed with this in mind. Mom Junction notes that comfort features include cushions on the harness, but that it’s also important to check for those features that may not be comfortable; for example, pinch points where your baby can get their fingers and toes stuck.
For any stroller, the extra features are always a bonus, but having one that is safe and comfortable for your child are the two most important things.
18 You Need Space To Fit Your Diaper Bag
When you’re on the go, you need to have easy access to your diaper bag and if you’re going to be pushing around the stroller and trying to lug around your essentials, it’s going to become a very uncomfortable trip.
The storage for your diaper bag should be in the form of an under the seat basket, and according to Baby List, the average basket can hold around 10 pounds. This is fine for your child’s everyday gear, but the publication claims you can benefit from looking at the basket specs to see just how much the basket can hold. Also, try to look for a design that is roomier, so you won’t struggle to take out the things you need.
17 Consider Whether You'll Be Lugging That Thing Around Town
Your lifestyle is an important thing to consider when purchasing a stroller, and if you are one of the millions of women who will be accessing public transport on a daily basis, you need a stroller that can adapt to this; whether this is something that is lightweight to lift or easy to fold.
On the other hand, if you live in a rural or suburban area and intend to drive around with your stroller, you need one that can easily fit into the trunk of your car.
16 ...And If You Can Fold Or Unfold It Like A Pro With One Hand
This point really ties into the point above, but when you are getting on to a train or bus, you may find you need to fold your stroller, and you will need to do this with one hand (you’re most likely holding a baby in the other hand, after all).
All strollers fold differently, and some are much easier to fold than others. According to Phil & Teds, it's helpful to practice this folding before you leave the house with the stroller for the first time. You can do this by familiarizing yourself with the instructions or watching video tutorials, so when it comes down to actually folding the stroller you won’t be stuck.
15 If You're Planning On More Baby Making, Then Longevity Helps
If you’re planning on adding to your brood within the next few years, you may want to consider purchasing a single stroller that can convert to a double.
Another argument for longevity is that you shouldn’t buy the cheapest stroller you can find because it won’t last. Baby List notes that the lower the price, the lower the lifespan. The publication also claims that if you purchase a good quality stroller it’s unlikely to break, which may actually save you money as you won’t have to purchase two not-so-great pieces.
14 Other Moms Will Tell You This When Size Really Matters
The only time size really matters is when you are choosing a stroller. According to The Loop, when you are picking a stroller, you have to keep your lifestyle in mind and when, and how, you will be using it. If you are going on pavements, only then you don't need much, but if you're walking long distances on gravel, or if you intend to go jogging, then this is when size matters.
The fewer activities you plan on doing with your stroller, the less size is going to matter.
13 How Adaptable Is This Stroller Going To Be When Your Requirements Change?
As your child grows up, your stroller needs are going to change, and you want a stroller that is adaptable. This is mostly down to the adjustable seat, as Baby Center points out, newborns will need a seat the reclines to almost a flat position until they have head control and are able to sit up. Then for toddlers, a reclining seat is important so that they can have a nap. This feature should also be easy to use, especially if you’re doing it with one hand.
12 Accidents Happen, But Fabric That Can Be Washed Makes Life Easier
Removable fabric covers will make life so much easier because there are always going to be accidents when you have a baby on board the stroller.
Although it's great if the fabric is washable, another thing to consider is the color of the fabric you have chosen, and The Loop points out that you don’t want something that will show every stain — so forget about a crisp white stroller. Instead, pick a darker shade that will be able to mask some of the stains.
11 Having An Adjustable Shade Canopy Will Protect Your Little One From The Sun
There is a wide variety of strollers to choose from and they come with a number of features and accessories, which you should evaluate in order of their importance. One of the most functional accessories to consider is having an adjustable canopy, which is safer than covering your child with a blanket to protect them from the sun. According to Baby Center, the importance of a canopy is provide shade and shelter from the elements and it’s helpful if these fabrics offer UV protection.
And Little Baby Gear claims you should choose one that offers good ventilation and is easy to fold.
10 New Or Used, Does It Really Matter?
There is a market for used strollers, and many women list their strollers for sale once they are done with them. But should you be buying a used stroller? According to Parents, this is one of the essentials that are okay to buy used, but they should have been made after 2007 when the safety standards were adjusted to account for stability and safety, among other things.
When purchasing a used stroller it’s very important to inspect it for broken or missing parts, and the publication claims that you should try it out first. Plus, it helps if it comes with an instruction manual.
9 Nothing Beats Long Walks In The Park, But Then You Need A Stroller That Can Handle It
If you are an active mom who loves jogging, you may benefit from buying a jogging stroller which has special features to facilitate running; like rubber tires and all-wheel suspension, as well as deceleration hand brakes.
However, BabyList reports that many moms end up buying strollers with this purpose in mind and don’t end up using them nearly as often as they thought they would. The point here is that you should make sure you really need a jogging stroller because the publication notes they are usually big and bulky, which doesn’t make them ideal for everyday use.
8 Realistically, You’re Going To Be Picking Up Your Stroller, And It Can’t Weigh A Lot
Realistically, you’re going to be picking up your stroller a lot. Whether you’re picking it up to get on public transport or carrying it up stairs... Also, you are often going to have to do this with one hand, which is why, when choosing your stroller, you should also consider the weight. According to Baby List, most strollers weigh between 10 and 30 pounds and those that are sturdy enough for everyday use are usually above 15 pounds.
The publication also notes that this decision should not just be made on your lifestyle, but also the way you gave birth. Women who had a C-section are initially advised not to lift anything heavier than their child.
7 Do You Want To See Baby's Smiling Face Looking Up At You?
When picking out a stroller you can also choose whether you want your child to face outwards (and be able to look at the scenery in front of them) or whether you want them to be seated in your direction (looking at you). This is something that is a personal preference, but Mom Junction notes not all strollers allow for both views, so you need to decide which is better for you.
Little Baby Gear advises that a reversible seat option is a practical option, and this will allow you to watch your newborn initially, but later allow your toddler to look out at the world.
6 Yes, Appearance Matters, After All This Thing Is Going Everywhere With You
Some women may think of their stroller as an accessory to their outfit because while you may have had a good handbag to complete your look before giving birth, you now have a stroller to push around. The appearance of the stroller is definitely not the most important factor, but it should count because you’re going to be pushing around that thing every day.
Keeping that in mind, Phil & Teds notes that you should first choose a stroller with functionality in mind, but then consider personalizing it with the colors and accessories that are available to suit your own style.
5 Your Hands (Or Hand) Will Be On The Handlebars, So Get Something Comfortable
Most moms are going to think about their children first, and when it comes to choosing a stroller, it's their comfort that you will have in mind. But don’t forget to consider your own comfort, too! Pick handlebars that are sturdy and offer a good grip. According to Mom Junction, you should also test out how easy it is to maneuver the stroller, which will be needed when you’re turning corners, as well how easy the functions are to use. You don’t want to struggle to try to get the canopy on, or need a 100-page manual to figure out how to fold the thing!
4 Do You Need Air Filled Tires?
It’s not just a decision on the frame and purpose of your stroller that you have to make, but also on the tires. There are three common types of tires according to BabyList, and these include the cheaper plastic tires (which are fine until you go off pavement), air-filled rubber tires (which are much better suited to different terrains), and lastly there are foam-filled tires (which are for all purposes and are unlikely to get a puncture).
When deciding if you need air-filled tires, consider where you will be walking because if you need to go on a lot of gravel or cobblestones then this is a better option to the plastic.
3 How Much Can You Pay, And When Are You Spending Too Much?
There are a wide range of prices when it comes to strollers, and there is usually something to suit every budget (of course, many of the extra features will drive up the cost). But if you were wondering if you could spend too much, well, the answer to that is complicated. You may feel one of the high-end strollers offers all the features you need, and that may be the justification you need to buy it. But if you are purchasing a stroller just because you saw some celebrity using it, then yes, you can probably spend too much.
2 If A Stroller Has Space For Your Shopping Bags, Then That's One Less Hassle
Having a stroller that offers storage space can make life a lot easier, and while an under the seat basket is a must for diaper bags, it also helps to have a place to store your groceries. According to The Loop, in addition to the size of the basket, you should also consider the strength of it, which will impact how much you are able to transport.
Heavier items like cans, milk, and other beverages will require a sturdy compartment to transport them.
1 Are You The Only One Using The Stroller, Or Do You Need To Think Of Your Partner Too?
If you are the only person who is going to be pushing the stroller then you only need to think about yourself with regards to the handle height, However, if your partner is also going to be using the stroller, then you need to account for your differences in height, and this is when choosing a stroller where you can adjust the handlebars comes in handy; although you could also be able to buy handlebar extenders.
As for the perfect handle-height? According to Baby Center, the handle should be at the pushers waist or slightly below.
References: R For Rabbit, Mom Junction, Baby List, The Loop, Baby Center, Little Baby Gear, Parents, Phil & Teds