You may be wondering how to choose a stroller. These days there are so many different options, trying to narrow your choice down to just one can be overwhelming.
Having a baby is such an exciting time! You can’t wait to meet your little one, but there’s also so much to do and learn, and so many things you need to get.
One of the most important accessories in your life will be your baby’s stroller — your life won’t stop once your little one arrives; in fact, it will get even busier, and you’ll need a convenient way to take your baby on the go with you.
Will the buggy hold everything you need to take with you?
Can it handle the terrain you regularly travel?
How can you be sure that it will fit in your trunk and navigate corners quickly?
There has been many times when I wished for features like a drink holder and easier folding.
By taking your time and analyzing your exact needs and lifestyle, you can choose a stroller that will not only keep your baby safe and comfy but also serve your needs and make life easier during this hectic time.
- What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
- Step 1: Analyze Your Needs
- Step 2: Decide Which Type of Stroller Is Best for You
- Step 3: Optionally Decide on a Stroller Subtype
- Step 4: Choose the Necessary Accessories
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
There are certain things you’ll need to choose the best stroller correctly for you and your baby.
An idea of your regular day — do you jog every day? Or will the buggy only be pulled out when you make that once in a blue moon trip to the mall?
You know you need a stroller, but determining what you will use it for is the important thing in figuring out which one is for you.
Be realistic and look at the big picture, realizing that you’ll be using this product for the long run, not just when the baby is a newborn.
A budget — with all of the items you’ll be purchasing over the next several months, it’s important to have a firm idea of how much you’re willing to spend.
Having a budget can help you narrow your options significantly, and also keeps you from getting carried away and overspending on features you don’t need.
It’s easy to convince yourself you need that overpriced designer product that all the celebs are sporting, but will there be enough left to get the sweet nursery bedding you have your heart set on?
Having your financial limits written down in black and white can help bring your mind back to logical reality.
A preferred buying method — are you one of those people who buys everything online? Or do you like to touch and feel every nook and cranny of a product before laying the money out?
Are you prepared to box up and return this admittedly large item if it doesn’t meet your expectations, or will that just be another thing on your list of tasks that you don’t have time to do?
Whichever your preference, be flexible — your local store may not have the exact item you want in stock, or you might find a better deal online.
It’s challenging figuring out exactly what you need before your child even arrives earthside.
Especially if you’re expecting your first baby, you may not have a solid idea of what daily life will look like with a little one and what stroller features will enhance your experience as opposed to those that will prove extraneous.
By breaking each aspect down step-by-step, you’ll be able to identify what you need this product to do for you.
Step 1: Analyze Your Needs
Here is a checklist to go over to help you evaluate your specific needs:
1. Number of Children
How many children do you have? If you’re only planning on having one baby, you’ll be able to get away with a single stroller, which has the added benefit of a typically lower cost.
If you already have a child or are planning on more than one, you may want to invest in a double or a convertible stroller like the Baby Jogger City Select.
2. Living Location
Where do you live? If you live in the suburbs, you can most likely choose a model with standard wheels.
For city dwellers, a slim-line, low profile models like the Bumbleride Flite Lightweight or Stokke Scoot is are an excellent choice.
Models such as these are compact and easy to transport, which makes life easier in situations like crowded sidewalks and on the subway.
Live in the country? Go for a stroller with large, all-terrain wheels that can handle those bumpy rides along gravel roads.
3. Type of Transportation
What’s your usual mode of transportation? Whether you drive a car, minivan, SUV, or hybrid, your options will partially be determined by your cargo space.
Be sure you get the dimensions of the models you are considering so that you don’t get a stroller home and then find out it won’t go in the trunk.
Some baby stores will even bring the stroller out to your vehicle before purchasing so you can make sure.
If you live in the city and regularly take the bus or subway, your primary focus is likely the issue of getting the stroller closed as quickly as possible. Models like the Baby Jogger City Mini GT are ridiculously easy to close.
Do you like to walk everywhere, and live in proximity to your everyday haunts? Look for extra sturdy wheels and lots of storage space for those trips to the market.
How’s the weather? Living in an area with all four seasons means you need a stroller that can handle anything Mother Nature throws at it.
Mid-sized wheels and a canopy will serve you well from sunny days right through to snowy ones.
Severe winters can put a damper on your daily walk with your little cherub, but a stroller like the BOB Revolution can allow you to navigate easily through ice and snow.
Once you’ve got the big wheels, cold protection is all about the accessories (don’t worry, we’ll cover those too).
Warm weather brings an entirely different challenge.
If you live in South Florida, for example, the heat and humidity can cause your baby to sweat and become uncomfortable against heavier, synthetic fabrics. Look for cotton, or mesh like in the Jeep Wrangler All-Weather Umbrella.
The Peg Perego Pliko features a sunshade that pulls all the way down the front bar if the seat is upright.
5. Travel Habits
Frequent traveling can throw a whole new wrench into the parenting works.
Before your bundle of joy, you only had to worry about your stuff. Now, every time you step onto a plane, you’ve got a whole suite of bulky accouterments to carry and store.
Look for nifty features like the ability to fold to overhead size — the GB Pockit does just this!
If you do not wander or travel, you can go for a less portable version although it’s always good to keep an inexpensive umbrella stroller on hand for those occasional trips.
6. Your Height
How Tall Are You? One traditional problem with strollers has been that more than one person, you and your spouse or the babysitter, needs to use it. If this is the case in your household, choose a model with an adjustable handle.
Have an NBA-sized spouse? The 2016 Bob Revolution Pro and Flex adjusts to 48”!
Another option is purchasing an extender for the handle. An extender can adequately solve the height issue, your partner can attach it when he or she pushes baby, and you can take it off when it’s your turn.
Step 2: Decide Which Type of Stroller Is Best for You
This is the full-size and most common kind, and typically features generous storage, large, comfortable seating, and ample wheel size. Most provide an available car seat adapter.
Also known as umbrella, are compact and portable, but it’s a tradeoff because most can’t recline fully flat nor hold a car seat. And the small wheels are a challenge in rougher terrain. For this reasons, umbrellas are better suited for babies old enough to sit up.
Car seat frame
This is just what it sounds like, simply a stroller frame with no seat, onto which you attach your infant car seat. While not as versatile as other models, they’re lightweight and affordable.
The large tires and shock absorbers make joggers perfect for keeping baby comfy on your daily run. Many models are compact enough to replace a standard or full-size.
Double or triple
Have twins, or a toddler and newborn? You can get strollers with side-by-side seats, or one in front of the other. Some models even allow you to face both kids toward you, toward the front, or toward each other (although this could be an invitation to a foot fight!).
Step 3: Optionally Decide on a Stroller Subtype
Travel system — A standard stroller that includes a full-size frame, a bassinet and car seat sold as a combo. Only that you just have to make a single purchase decision.
Sit and stand — Is a lightweight stroller with a standing platform permanently attached to the stroller. They are ideal for when your kids have a separated age, and the older one would sometimes ride along.
Convertible — An adaptable full-size stroller, where you can start by using the bassinet or car seat. Then, switch to the standard chair. And finally, get an extra seat for a second child. Or even attach a standing platform for an older third child to ride along like a sit and stand. If you’re looking to invest in only one stroller, this is the product type for you.
Step 4: Choose the Necessary Accessories
Bassinet — this is, by most standards, a luxury item, and one that’s only available on certain brands and models. It does offer the benefit of allowing your little one to nap while laying down and faces you for easy monitoring.
Rain cover — this comes in handy in drizzly climates and is available in universal models, or brand-specific designs. It may be entirely clear or constructed of nylon with a window.
Sun shade or canopy — since the canopy on most strollers is limited in scope, you may want a shade that pulls all the way down the front to protect your wee one from sunburn.
Foot covers — these keep your angel toasty warm in winter’s chilly air, and come in all types from zippable buntings to entire stroller covers. There are even hand muffs for you that attach right to the handle!
Cup holders or organizers — choose from a wide variety of universally attaching accessory holders. Options go from a one-cup design to a pocketed organizer that covers the width of the stroller handle and holds your phone, diapers, and drinks.
Car seat adapter — this allows your infant seat to attach to your standard stroller. These are typically brand-specific, so prices vary widely according to which stroller you own. If you wish to use an infant car seat in your baby’s early months, be sure the brand you’re purchasing offers the adapter.
Standing platform — this ingenious device attaches to the back of your stroller and allows an older child to stand and ride, turning a single stroller into a double. It has its individual wheels, so you don’t have to worry about straining the chassis. This accessory is individually available with some models.
Safety is paramount. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If your baby is older and known to be a Houdini in his own right, reach out for stroller models with a five-point harness.
Review the return policies as well as warranties. That cheaper model may not be quite such a great deal if a part breaks down the road and you’re left holding the bag.
Make your decision early on in pregnancy, if at all possible. An early decision allows you to register for the model you want before the baby shower, avoiding any possible hurt feelings if a family member or friend decides to gift you with this item.
Little details can make a big difference, and you don’t want to put out a bundle of cash only to look back and wish you’d chosen different features.
Babies are only babies once, and you want the experience to be as fully enjoyable as possible for both of you.
Use this list, and the time you have left with your bun in the oven, to decide on the perfect stroller for you and your family.
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