Stroller 101: When To Buy a Stroller and How to Choose the Right One


It can be overwhelming to choose a stroller or pram among the dozens available, especially when you haven’t really used one before; so overwhelming you may be wondering if you really even need one right away, or if you can wait until both your budget and mental battery recharge from all the other purchases you need to make for your new baby.

In this article, I’ll explore when to buy a stroller, and how to choose the right stroller for you and your little one; but first, let’s touch explore if you even need a stroller.

Why Do You Need a Baby Stroller?

A baby stroller is a versatile tool to have when you are traveling with your little one, especially when you have errands to run or appointments to attend. It’s a versatile tool that keeps your baby safe and comfortable while also giving you your hands back and keeping your back pain-free as it will carry baby, your diaper bag, your bottle cooler, and even your shopping if the storage is big enough.

If you’re active and like to jog or hike, a good all-terrain stroller will help you stay active

It also acts as a collapsible and portable bassinet for your baby when you are out and about.

When Should I Buy a Stroller?

When it comes to when to start buying baby stuff during pregnancy for your baby like nursery items and such, most sources agree that it’s ideal to wait until weeks 13 to 21 of your pregnancy as the risk of miscarriage drops significantly after the first trimester (13 weeks).

If you’re hoping to buy gendered items this timeline also works because you can find out your baby’s gender around 18 to 21 weeks into your pregnancy.

But when speaking about a non-gendered, bigger purchase like a stroller, the timing can also be delayed by several factors such as:

The first factor is whether it’s a must-have item before your baby arrives or you can wait until your baby is born. Secondly, your little one’s age will also play a factor in the type of stroller you choose.

  • If you already have an infant car seat. If so, then you may want to consider purchasing a travel system that includes a stroller that will accommodate your infant car seat.
  • Whether you want to use the stroller for jogging or outdoor activities. If this is the case, then you will need to purchase a stroller that is versatile enough to handle such activities. A jogging stroller will be perfect for this use.
  • Your budget. Strollers are not small purchases, and they’re also not immediate necessities (such as a car seat, which you’ll need to bring your infant home from the hospital if you give birth at a hospital or birthing center. Because they aren’t day-one necessities, your budget may be a key consideration.

Should I Buy a Stroller Before or After the Baby Shower?

If you’re planning on having a baby shower, it’s best to wait until after the shower before purchasing a stroller. It’s not uncommon for friends and family to gift the expectant parents with a stroller or a baby carrier.

It’s also possible to include a stroller in your baby registry to have a better chance of getting one as a baby shower gift.

Types of Strollers

If you’re going to register for a stroller, or are ready to buy one, it’s good to know a bit about the many different styles and types availabe, so keep reading.

There are several types of strollers to choose from, and the one you choose depends on your needs and lifestyle.

Below is a quick-and-dirty description of the different types of strollers to help guide your decision:

Regular Strollers

A regular stroller is the most basic type of stroller and is suitable for most types of travel. It features a comfortable seat with a safety harness and a storage basket to hold your baby items.

The wheels are also designed for smooth movement on various surfaces, making it easy to navigate through narrow doorways or turn corners quickly. The storage basket is an added perk that can accommodate your diaper bag and other baby essentials.

2. Lightweight Strollers

A lightweight stroller is perfect for parents who travel often. It’s lightweight, compact, and can be folded down easily for storage and transport. It is an excellent option for parents who want a stroller that is easy to carry around without sacrificing comfort.

Umbrella Strollers

An umbrella stroller is designed to be lightweight and compact. It features an easy-to-fold mechanism that allows it to be quickly folded up and stored in tight spaces, such as the trunk of your car.

It is an excellent option for parents who need a space-saving stroller that is easy to transport. The downside to this stroller type is that it usually lacks useful features like adjustable seats and storage baskets.

Double Strollers

A double stroller is designed for parents of twins or two small children. It features two seats that can accommodate two children, and some models can be reconfigured to accommodate taller or shorter children.

It is an excellent investment for parents who want to travel with both children without compromising their comfort and safety. They are available in various types, including tandem and side-by-side strollers.

Jogging Strollers

A jogging stroller is designed for parents who love to stay active. It’s designed with larger, air-filled tires and a suspension system that provides a smoother ride over rough terrain. It also features locking wheels that keep the stroller steady as you jog.

It is an excellent investment for parents who want to stay fit and active without compromising their time with their little one. It’s worth noting that not all jogging strollers are suitable for newborns, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines before making a purchase.

Tandem Strollers

A tandem stroller is a type of double stroller that features one seat positioned in front of the other. This design makes it easier to navigate through narrow spaces easily. It’s an excellent option for parents with two children who need to move around in tight spaces.

Side-By-Side Strollers

A side-by-side stroller features two seats that are located next to each other. Some models can even be configured to accommodate additional seats for extra children. It is an excellent option for parents who want to keep their children close together, and who want to give their little one the opportunity to interact more.

Travel Systems

A travel system is designed to combine a stroller and an infant car seat. It’s an excellent option for parents who want to invest in one product and are looking for convenience and flexibility.

The travel system has several advantages, including easy compatibility, quick installation, and the convenience of using one system for two purposes. It’s worth noting that not all travel systems are suitable for newborns, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines before making a purchase.

Factors to consider when choosing the right stroller

When choosing the right stroller for your little one, these are some essential factors to consider:

Safety Features

Safety is a top priority when it comes to any baby product. Ensure that the stroller is equipped with safety features such as:

  • Brakes Look for linked, foot-operated brakes on both rear wheels so the left and right brakes can be activated by a single action rather than applied individually. Get an idea of how well they work by applying the brakes and then trying to push the handle. Check they actively lock into position. Foot-operated brakes save you bending down, but make sure your feet fit under them easily – some need to be flipped up from below, plus low-lying pedals may interfere with walking.
  • Five-point harness consisting of two shoulder straps (attached to the backrest at shoulder level), a waist strap and a crotch strap. The waist straps in particular should be securely linked to the stroller’s frame so the child can’t lean out and tilt it. Tug at the harness to check the seat doesn’t pull away from the frame. The straps should be adjustable to allow for growth and the buckles easy to use (for you, not your child). The mandatory standard allows harnesses without shoulder straps, but we believe a five-point harness is the best option.
And check for:
  • Protruding parts that can hit your child’s head, or small parts that can detach easily and pose a choking risk.
  • Gaps that could trap fingers – yours or your child’s.
  • Sharp edges or points.
  • child-resistant mechanism for locks.
  • Stability Is the stroller stable enough not to tip easily?

Always check for safety certifications and endorsements to make sure you’re purchasing a safe product for your little one.

Comfort

When it comes to baby gear, comfort should be a top priority. Consider purchasing a stroller with an adjustable seat, a reclining backrest, and a padded handle for your comfort.

It’s also important to look for strollers with a comfortable footrest, canopy, and headrest for your baby’s comfort.

Storage

A storage basket is an essential feature of any stroller. It’s important to select a stroller with ample storage space for your diaper bag, baby clothes, and other baby items.

The location of the storage basket is also important as it affects the stability of the stroller. A storage tray that is located beneath the stroller seat is more stable than one that is located at the back of the stroller.

Wheel Type

Different types of wheels are available for strollers, and the type you choose depends on your lifestyle. Here’s a quick rundown:

Three-wheelers are:

  • wider, longer, and heavier than four-wheelers.  
  • usually easier to push around, due to larger wheels (which are often on bearings so they pivot easily) and inflatable tires that help absorb the bumps. 
  • easier to maneuver, but also more likely to roll away if left unattended. 
  • prone to tipping, particularly when turning corners or mounting a curb.

Four-wheelers are:

  • more compact (especially umbrella types) and generally fold into a smaller package, so they can be a better option for public transport. 
  • Some have two small wheels at the front and two large wheels at the rear, which provide the stability of a four-wheeler with the maneuverability of a three-wheeler.

Swivelling front wheels are:

  • easier to maneuver, but it’s useful if they can be locked for traveling at higher speeds or over rough terrain. 
  • Large wheels tend to be better on curbs and stairs; inflatable wheels can puncture but generally give a comfier ride. 
  • Check instructions for recommended tire pressure, and use a manual pump – service station pumps are too powerful for small stroller tires.

No matter what type of wheel setup a stroller has, it’s also important to note that air-filled tires are more suitable for rough terrains and jogging while solid tires are better for level surfaces.

Price

Strollers are sold for wide range of prices, so it’s important to select one that is within your budget range. It’s not advisable to overspend on a stroller, especially if you need other baby items.

The best approach is to compare prices and features before making a purchase to ensure that you are getting the best stroller for your money’s worth.

f. Size

  • Measure the stroller to make sure it fits into your car without needing the wheels removed.
  • Try folding and unfolding it in the shop to see if you can carry it comfortably.

Extra Features

Other features worth considering are:

  • An adjustable backrest that can move to at least one semi-reclined position. Many strollers have backrests that recline flat (or nearly flat) and so are suitable for babies under six months.
  • Reversible seat or handle lets you choose whether your child sits facing forward or facing you.
  • detachable front bar that the child can hold onto when seated upright. It can also serve as a barrier.
  • footrest reduces the likelihood of injury through the child’s feet touching the ground or getting caught in the front wheel.
  • An adjustable handle that can be adjusted to a comfortable height to suit different users.
  • canopy that can be extended to provide shade or shelter. Some have a viewing window so you can still see your child when it’s extended.
  • Storage A basket or tray under the stroller for carrying things such as nappies, baby food or shopping. Some have a pouch behind the seat or other small pockets where you can keep small items.

Stroller Extras to Consider

The following features may not be provided as standard, but may be available as optional extras. Check the instructions or ask your retailer.

  • Tyre pump A hand-operated pump for inflating tyres.
  • Leg cover An attachment you can pull over the child’s legs in cold weather.
  • Rain cover A clear plastic sheet to drape over the stroller.
  • Insect cover A mesh cover to protect the child from nasties.
  • Removable liner This provides additional comfort and can also help support smaller babies.

There are several popular stroller brands available in the market, including:

– Baby Jogger City Mini
– UPPAbaby Vista
– Bugaboo Cameleon 3
– Graco Modes Click Connect
– Chicco Urban
– BOB Revolution Flex 3.0
– Joovy Caboose Too Ultralight
– Thule Urban Glide 2.0

Conclusion: Evaluate Your Situation

A stroller is an important baby product to consider. Strollers provide a safe and comfortable way to transport your little one and can be very convenient, especially if you live an active lifestyle, like to take walks, or go shopping often.

It’s important to consider several factors when choosing the right stroller for your needs, including your lifestyle, safety features, comfort, storage, wheel type, and price.

Choosing the right stroller is crucial as it can impact your experience as a parent. It’s important to invest in a stroller that is comfortable, functional and meets your needs. A little research beforehand can help you choose the perfect stroller for you and your little one.
 

Ayesha Shahzadi

Ayesha is Mom to Esha. Ayesha holds a bachelor's degree in Retail Management (BComm (Hons)). Before becoming a mom, Ayesha worked in retail management in the baby and child space where she gained first-hand experience in consumer preferences and product quality. Her unique combination of both theoretical and practical knowledge, combined with her personal parenting experience, makes her our expert in baby product reviews. Now working from home in the online marketing space, Ayesha is keen to share both her knowledge in the parenting retail space and her passion for creating helpful content for her readers.

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