Homestroller buying guide

How to Choose A Stroller

How to Choose A Stroller
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Getting that perfect stroller for your newborn could make most of your daily activities with your infant a lot easier and even fun. The accessibility and ease a baby stroller offers while carrying out your daily activities with your baby cannot be overemphasized. 

choose a stroller
Image Credit: Napoleon Cole, Flickr.com

To choose a stroller, consider the following:

1. What type of terrain will you mostly use the stroller on?

2. What is your daily routine?

3. How often will you travel with the stroller?

4. Number of kids will you want to use on the stroller at the same time?

5. The age of the child that will use the stroller.

6. Your lifestyle. 

From taking a hike to grocery shopping at the mall and even enjoying that walk at the park, having a stroller comes in handy.   

It is important to note that you might not get a stroller that will satisfy all your stroller requirements. As always, you might have to make a little compromise. 

What Are Important Things To Consider When You Choose a Stroller 

  1. Your Terrain
  2. The Stroller Suspension 
  3. Storage Basket 
  4. Removable Cover 
  5. Is The Stroller Safe for Newborns?
  6. Ease of Use

Types of Baby Strollers 

The following are the different types of strollers:

  1. Umbrella or Lightweight Stroller
  2. The Double Stroller
  3. Travel System
  4. Car Seat strollers
  5. Full-Sized Carrier
  6. Jogging Stroller

Before you choose a stroller, make sure you are certain it is the right type that will serve your needs.

Umbrella or Lightweight Stroller

What is an umbrella stroller?

An umbrella stroller is a type of stroller. Renowned for its lightweight and an easy to fold mechanism.  Designed for easier navigation, certain models can even be strapped to the shoulders as they can be folded easily.

One of the strongest features you will discover is that this stroller is light and very easy to use. So, stashing the stroller in your car’s trunk or boarding the airplane with it is quite convenient. If you get on the train or bus regularly the umbrella stroller is ideal for you. 

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Some umbrella stroller models come with enhancements such as expandable canopy, seat recliner, cupholder, and storage basket. 

Although some lightweight strollers come with car seat adapters, they are generally not ideal for newborns below six months old. 

Also, due to the lightweight feature of the stroller, most of these umbrella strollers do not provide the cushiest of rides. 

Double Stroller

What is a double stroller?

A double stroller is a type of stroller that allows you to carry two kids on one stroller at the same time. This type of stroller is ideal for you if you have twins or two kids within a close age bracket.

What are the types of double strollers?

There are two types of double strollers. One lets the children sit alongside each other and is known as the side-by-side seating, while there is the tandem seating. It lets the children sit one in front of the other.

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The double stroller allows you to carry two kids in one stroller. If you will choose a stroller like this, pay attention to the width of the stroller as they tend to be bulky. 

Find out if the stroller can pass through doorways. Also find out how easy it can be maneuvered as mobility could be a challenge with this type of stroller. 

If you have a car or consider using this stroller in cars, ensure you find out if you can fit the stroller on one car seat or on two seats. 

Travel System Stroller

What is a travel system stroller?

A travel system stroller is one that has a stroller and a car seat. This stroller allows you to attach your infant car seat to the stroller easily. A typical travel system joins the infant car seat and the baby stroller. There are lightweight, full-size, and jogging baby stroller travel systems. Making it easy to pair the travel system with the stroller that is convenient for you.

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The travel system stroller lets you convert your baby car seat into a stroller. This greatly reduces the money you would have spent if you had to purchase a stroller and a separate baby car seat. 

Also, being able to move your baby car seat into your stroller directly is very convenient. You do not have to wake your baby up if he/she was asleep on the car seat.

This stroller will last into your child’s toddler years. However, your kid might quickly outgrow the baby’s car seat. If you have the combo models, then you can just move on to using the bigger toddler carrier it comes with. 

If you have more than one car and decide to choose a stroller like this, you will need to get an extra infant car seat to use with the other car. Travel systems strollers are relatively big and heavy.

Frame Stroller

What is a frame stroller?

A frame stroller is a stroller skeleton that can combine with your infant’s car seat to become a stroller. They usually do not cost a lot and are easy and convenient to use. Car seat carriers are usually lightweight and compact making the whole system easy to use. They provide little fuss from switching from stroller to infant car seat. It is just like the travel system, but the difference is that it does not come with the main seats. It comes with just the stroller frame. 

Buy Graco NimbleLite Lightweight Stroller on Amazon

If your baby is still a toddler, you can use your infant car seat with the car seat carrier stroller. After this time usually around 6 months and above you may have to buy a stroller suitable for a kid who can sit upright. 

Consider this frame stroller if you have little storage space. If you want something easy to carry, this is also a good option for you. 

You can also consider using the car seat carrier stroller until you figure out what works best for you. This might come in handy if you are a first-time parent.

Full-Size Stroller

What is a full-size stroller?

A full-size stroller is a type of stroller that is ideal for everyday activities This type of stroller provides a very cruisy ride for the baby and it also comes with various enhancements or accessories. Enhancements like stroller boards make it possible for the kid to stand on the stroller while taking a stroll. Other features include a cup holder, storage baskets, and the ability to change the direction the kid faces while sitting on the stroller.

Some models can even allow you to add an extra seat to the stroller. 

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If you are looking to invest in one stroller that will last your child throughout toddler age, then the full-size carriers might be your choice. A lot of features it comes with not only make life easier for you but also make the kid’s ride fun.

Convertible designs or models which grow with your baby allow you to use the carrier with the toddler car seat when your baby is below 6 months. Then you can switch to the optional bassinet when the baby outgrows the infant car seat. 

Decent suspensions coupled with sturdy tires help to pillow any shock that the baby might feel while in the stroller. Expandable canopies, a roomy basket to store your items, telescoping handles, and a snack tray are other nice features of the full-size stroller. 

Note that the stroller can be a bit bulky and heavy to carry. You might feel inconvenienced while strolling through a busy street or taking public transportation. 

If you must climb the stairs often or visit small malls regularly with your baby in the stroller, this type of stroller may not be ideal. It can pose a challenge due to its sheer size and weight. 

For people with limited storage space or tight fit homes, you might find using this stroller a bit difficult. 

Jogging Strollers 

What is a jogging stroller?

A jogging stroller is a special type of stroller with a three-wheel configuration specifically made for parents who will like to jog while pushing their baby on the stroller. They come with a lot of improved features for safety and comfortability. Its superior suspensions let you run, hike or jog and keep your baby comfortable and safe. 

Choose a stroller like this if you want to keep fit and want your baby to come along with you while you jog or run.

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The three-wheel configuration that has only one tire in front provides improved maneuverability. The added feature that allows you to lock the front wheel provides stability at high speeds. Unlocking the front wheel improves flexibility and allows your stroller to swivel while on the move. 

Your jogging stroller is also compatible with your toddler’s car seat. This lets you use the stroller for newborns below six months old. Its deep reclining chair allows your baby to sleep comfortably while in the stroller. The telescoping handle feature is convenient for partners with different heights. 

5-point harness, hand brakes, and a wrist strap amongst others is an important safety feature. Do not go out for a jog with a baby stroller that does not include these features. 

Compared to the umbrella stroller, this type of stroller is a lot heavier. Also, if storage space is a concern, you should know that this stroller will not fold so small as the umbrella stroller will. Assembling this stroller initially might be a challenge. 

There are a lot of hybrid strollers which have the three-wheel tire configurations. 

Note that not all three-wheeler strollers are suitable for parents who will want to stroll the kid along while they jog. Therefore, runners should test drive strollers first to ascertain the safety of the stroller.

What Factors Should I Consider When Getting A Stroller

Consider the following factors when getting a stroller:

  1. How Long Will You Use the Stroller? 
  2. Is It Safe for Newborns? 
  3. what is the Stroller Weight?   
  4. Folding for Storage  
  5. Ease of Use 
  6. Removable Cover 
  7. Storage Basket  
  8. Stroller Frame 
  9. The Stroller Suspension 
  10. The Type of Wheels  
  11. Where You Will Be Using the Stroller 
  12. You Might Need More Than One Stroller 

An easy to use, safe and reliable stroller is a must-have for all parents. There are different models with varying price ranges. It is very important that you get some value for your money.

So, before you buy a baby stroller, you must first consider some factors. This will help you decide what type or model to buy. 

Where You Will Be Using the Stroller

How does terrain affect how I choose a stroller?

The terrain you ply your stroller frequently will determine what type of stroller is ideal for you. Big and bulky strollers are not ideal for parents who always navigate narrow streets. If you will frequently visit narrow places with your stroller, choose a stroller that has a compact design, such as the umbrella stroller.  Most averagely priced versions of strollers come in bulky sizes.

The smaller umbrella stroller may not be able to contain your bags, diapers, and other things you would have easily kept in a stroller basket. 

Knowing where you will regularly use your stroller will determine the type of stroller you will buy that will suit that terrain.

The Type of Wheels

How does the type of wheel affect my stroller?

The type of wheel on your stroller will determine what terrain is most ideal for your stroller. Large air-filled wheels are ideal for long and bumpy walks like in rough terrain. Smaller wheels are more suitable for flat, smooth, or paved surfaces. Front wheels that can swivel provide increased maneuverability. Locked wheels provide more stability for strollers. 

The Stroller Suspension

How does stroller suspension affect my stroller?

The suspension on your stroller acts as a shock absorber on your stroller. The suspension system prevents the child on the stroller from feeling the bumps on the road. Children have a very delicate spine when they are young. Therefore, it is essential to get strollers that have great suspension systems. This is to prevent your child from absorbing the shock from a stroller ride on a bumpy surface. 

Strollers with good suspension and sturdy tires are good shock absorbers that help to cushion shocks that would have been felt by your child.

Stroller Frame

Light, strong, and durable frames are the best. The heavier the frame the heavier the stroller will be. Heavy stroller frames give rise to bulky strollers. 

Storage Basket

Having a spacious storage basket is an added advantage that is helpful at any time. For example, it provides a room where you can keep items while grocery shopping. You can also keep your baby valuables like a diaper, change of clothes, and so on in the storage basket. 

Remember that hanging a heavy bag on the stroller can make the stroller unstable causing the stroller to tip over. 

Removable Cover

The stroller cover should be detachable. Get a stroller whose covers are made of fabrics. They can be cleaned easily without the material fading or shrinking. 

You can also check if the stroller cover fabric is washing-machine safe. That way, you can wash the stroller cover in a washing machine. 

Ease of Use

Test drive the stroller before buying a stroller. Remember that the stroller navigation on the smooth floors of a mall is different from a ride on the sidewalk or on hilly terrain.

Pay close attention to this feature. How easy can you maneuver the stroller? Can you steer the stroller with only one hand? Is the stroller good in tight spaces? How well does the stroller turn in tight corners?

The answers to these questions will help you to determine if the stroller is easy to navigate.

Folding for Storage

Just because the stroller is touted as single-hand fold does not mean you can easily fold and unfold them using one hand. The stroller should fold into a compact size and unfold easily with one hand. 

Most times you might have the baby in one hand and having just your other hand to unfold the stroller. The easier it is to fold and unfold the better. 

Stroller Weight

The weight of the stroller is an important factor to consider before buying a stroller model. Some manufacturers might call a 25 pounds lightweight. While you could get some other strollers weighing almost 10 pounds. 

The difference in weight could become so obvious when you are climbing endless staircases carrying your baby, a stroller, and other baby essentials. 

Is It Safe for Newborns? 

How to determine if your stroller is safe for newborns.

To determine if your stroller is safe for newborn babies, check if the stroller has a bassinet or a deep recline. Strollers that come with a bassinet or deep recline allow you to put your infant in the stroller from the first few days of birth. Because infants cannot support their necks for about four or five months after they have been born. You must make sure you put your child in a stroller that provides the needed neck support for their fragile spine. 

You may have to attach the bassinet or a toddler car seat to your stroller to convert it into one suitable for an infant. Make sure the features of the stroller are suitable for your baby before you purchase it. 

How Long Will You Use the Stroller?

Some models of strollers allow you to carry two kids at the same time comfortably. When choosing a stroller, consider getting a model that you can easily add more accessories. For example, some strollers allow you to add an extra seat for newborns. 

Others can let you add a car seat and later switch to a toddler carrier. Consider buying a stroller that can also serve your future needs. In other words, one that will grow with your baby.

You Might Need More Than One Stroller

Why will I need more than one stroller?

You will need more than one stroller to conveniently carry out your daily activity. For some parents, one stroller will not do; despite how unique the stroller is designed. You might need an umbrella stroller while you are in transit. And then a full-size stroller when you are at home.

Do not spend so much on one stroller. Rather spend moderately on two that suit your needs per time or on one that will serve you more, if possible. 

How to Keep Your Baby Safe On A Stroller? Stroller Safety Guide

The Following Are Safety Features to Look Out for When Buying A Stroller

  1. Certification 
  2. Does It Have A 5-Point Harness?
  3. The Brakes
  4. Check Out the Edges and The Hinges 
  5. Inspect the Stroller Canopies 
  6. Make Sure the Recline Is Perfect  
  7. Assemble All the Parts 
  8. Register the Stroller After Purchase

Safety is the first thing you should consider when choosing a stroller. Almost all strollers these days come with so many safety features. 

Be sure to properly examine the stroller before you buy it. 

Certification

How do I know my stroller is certified? 

To know if your stroller is certified, find out if the stroller you want to buy has a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) sticker. This shows that it has been certified. 

Also, important features such as stroller stability, locking mechanism, brakes, and absence of sharp edges have been carefully verified.  

A fivepoint harness is a form of seat belt that contains five straps that are mounted to the car frame. It has been engineered for an increase of safety in the occurrence of an automobile accident. … This invention has also been used to secure infants and young children in child safety seats.

Does It Have A 5-Point Harness?

What is a 5-point harness on a stroller?

A five-point harness is a safety feature on strollers. It comes in the shape of a seat belt. It has five buckles mounted to the stroller frame. The 5-point safety harness is designed to keep baby safe and comfortable on the stroller. It has become a regular feature in most strollers today.

However, some strollers have a 3-point harness system. The 5-point system is the best as it ensures your baby is safely strapped to the stroller seat.

Make sure that the stroller straps snap securely and firmly. They should not be too hard to buckle, nor be very simple to unbuckle especially for the toddler. 

The Brakes

How do I test the brakes on my stroller?

To test the brakes on your strollers, give it a test drive. While driving, apply the brakes at random and find out how easily you can stop the stroller with the brakes. Test if the stroller stops safely after you have put the brakes on. The stroller brakes should lock both wheels at the same time. And when the brake is engaged, the stroller should not be able to move. Be sure that the stroller does not trip when you apply the brake. 

Do not forget to test the brakes on the strollers while test driving the stroller.

Check Out the Edges and The Hinges

Nook and crannies are crucial for baby products as they could be tricky. Be very careful when choosing a stroller. 

A baby’s little fingers or toes could get stuck in some tight spaces. Pay special attention to any sharp or protruding edge.

Inspect the Stroller Canopies

What do I look out for in a stroller canopy?

Look for canopies that have an in-built SPF protection. SPF stands for sun protection factor. SPF is a measure of how well the stroller canopy will protect your child from the UVB rays from the sun which causes sunburn, damaged skin, and skin cancer. Look out also for canopies that fold easily and quietly. They also need to have very good ventilation for hot days and should be big enough to protect your kid from the wind and rain. 

Stroller canopies are an important feature for strollers. They come in handy while going for a walk in sunny or rainy weather. Some strollers have an added layer of protection for the canopies.

Video: How to choose a stroller

This video will show how to the perfect stroller for your child. 

Make Sure the Recline Is Perfect

This is necessary especially for newborns. If you are going to put your newborn in the stroller from day one, make sure to find out how well the seat reclines. Look for a model that has a complete or near-complete flat recline. 

You could also consider getting a model that enables you to easily attach the baby’s car seat. It is a very handy feature especially if you are moving babies from the car to the strollers while they are sleeping.  

If you are getting a model that allows the seats to be reversed, make sure to check that the seat locks in after every reversal. Reversible seats give you the ability to change the direction your kid is facing. Some parents want to keep an eye on their kids while riding in a stroller. 

Assemble All the Parts 

Get a stroller that is easy to assemble; preferably, a straightforward and simple stroller model. If you are buying the travel system stroller, take note of all the safety specifications and ratings specified for the baby car seat. 

Also, check how the baby car seat is attached to your stroller. 

Register the Stroller After Purchase

To ensure you have up to date information about the stroller you have just bought, register it immediately. You should be able to do this by logging onto the website of the stroller manufacturer. 

They will let you know of any updates about your baby stroller like a recall. Also, you can get information about how to assemble your baby stroller.

Final Notes — How To Choose a Stroller

We will like to give some general rules to follow while using your stroller.

Endeavor to make use of a safety harness. It prevents your child from falling and/or tipping over. 

Get a model of baby stroller that allows you to change the direction the kid is facing. Always have your infant facing you while riding so you can always keep an eye on her.

To prevent injuries occurring to your child, keep her as far away as possible while you are unfolding or folding your stroller. Before you put the baby in the stroller, make sure it is fully unfolded. There is a possibility of a partial unfolding. And if you have the baby inside the stroller, the weight of the baby could make the stroller collapse.

Do not put any form of hot liquid on the cupholder. They could tip over and pour on the baby.

While you are test driving the strollers make sure you double-check the brakes. After engaging the brakes, the stroller should not be able to move anymore.

If you want to take a light run or go for a jog, do it with a stroller designed for jogging. Never jog with a standard stroller. It is not designed to handle the shocks and bumps that result from jogging.

The handlebar is not a hanger where you can leave items on. The heavier the item you hang on the handlebar, the more the risk of the stroller tipping over the back. Get a stroller with a large storage basket.

Take care of your stroller, and regularly inspect the stroller for any damage. If you spot damages promptly have it fixed before using it to stroll the baby again.

How to Choose A Stroller — Related FAQs

How Can I Keep A Baby Safe in A Stroller?

To keep your child safe in a stroller and to avoid stroller accidents, do the following:

  • Stay close to the baby always. Do not make the mistake of leaving your baby unattended in a stroller for large periods of time. 
  • Be cautious with the toys. All the toys you hang on the stroller to entertain the children must be firmly fastened.
  • Buckle up. Do not forget to buckle up your kid when going for a ride.
  • Engage the brakes. Use the brakes whenever you have stopped the stroller. Also, do not park your stroller in a sloppy area.
  • Properly store items. Do not hang heavy items on the stroller handles. This will increase the chance of the stroller tipping over.
  • Check for recalls. Return your stroller warranty so you will be notified if the stroller has been recalled. If you want to buy a used one, ensure the model has not been recalled.

What Is the Best Stroller to Buy?

The Best Strollers To Buy In 2020 include:

  1. Nuna Demi Grow Stroller – Lightweight, sturdy, folds with little ease and can carry two kids at the same time.
  2. Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller – Best Stroller on A Budget. Lightweight (13 pounds), easy to use, has a 5-point safety harness system.  
  3. Uppababy Vista Stroller – Best Multi-Kid Stroller. Can transport 3 kids at the same time. Is also newborn ready.
  4. Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller – Best Rugged Stroller. Very easy to fold and unfold. With one hand and in just two seconds, you can open the stroller. It also folds easily.
  5. Thule Urban Glide 2 Jogging Stroller – Best Stroller for Jogging. Amazing maneuverability, cruisy ride, and the enhanced aerodynamic design make it a standout for jogging strollers.     

How Many Strollers Do You Really Need?

The sweet spot for most people is having two unique strollers. Having two distinct types of strollers is ideal for most families. It gives you the flexibility that comes with the possibility of combining the strengths of the two strollers.

For a quick walk around the neighborhood, your umbrella stroller will become handy. And for the longer trips, make use of your more comfortable full-size carrier. Parents who prefer going for a run with their infants may need to get an additional jogging stroller.

Is It Worth Buying an Expensive Stroller?

It is definitely worth buying an expensive stroller. As long as it appeals to your lifestyle. Many expensive strollers come with enhanced features that improve luxury and comfort for both the parent and the baby. An expensive stroller will ensure that the luxury and comfort of your baby is not compromised. We have found out that the Nuna Mixx is the celebrity preferred stroller.

The type of stroller you use is somewhat synonymous to your standard of living, so if you really want to show off, go for the high-end strollers. The Silver Cross Balmoral Pram is currently the most expensive stroller. Let the cost not be the only factor that influences you to buy the stroller. Ensure you get a stroller that fits the purpose for which you want to use it for.

When Should I Buy A Stroller?

The right time to buy your baby stroller is between the second and third trimester of your pregnancy. If you will make use of an infant car seat, tick it off your checklist at around 33 weeks into your pregnancy. Buy the frame stroller in the third trimester. You do not need to fill up your house too early with strollers you will not be making use of at once.

In the same light, you should not buy a jogging, umbrella, or a full-size stroller while you are pregnant.

How much should I spend on a stroller?

You will be spending between a little less than $100 to as much as over $1,000. The amount you spend is largely influenced by what features you are looking for. There is no ‘perfect’ stroller that suits everyone. The best stroller for you is one whose features satisfy the needs of your child and one that suits your lifestyle.

Cost and budget also play a part in determining how much you spend. Added features, styling, and lightweight materials boost the cost of a stroller. You do not have to break the bank to buy a good stroller safe for your baby. 

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