How to Choose the Best Stroller
As baby strollers are bound to be put to good use for the first several years of a child’s life, it’s only reasonable to do your research prior to purchasing the best baby stroller for your child (and you). At first, it may seem that there’s such a wide range of strollers and baby prams that it will be impossible to make your decision.
When browsing for the most ideal model, parents are often faced with a tough choice: should we go with a heavier stroller that flies over bumpy terrains but gets stuck on the stairs and in aisles, or should we pick the lighter one that won’t handle off-road rides that well?
And those really are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself - where will you live, where will you take the baby for a walk, how many kids you plan on having, which transportation will be you using, and so on.
Newborn prams vs baby strollers
A pram is designed with newborns in mind - prams are sturdy and allow babies to travel lying down. They are also known among parents as bassinets and come with a soft flat bottom that provides absolute comfort for an infant.
Strollers that do not flat recline are a better choice for a child who is older, around 6 months or above and can assume a sitting position. However, note that there are strollers which come with an adjustable seat and can be reclined for newborns.
“Stroller” or “Pram” terminology is now commonly interchangeable and often refer to the same product. We will now define features like compact strollers, lightweight stroller, umbrella prams, or comfort stroller.
Matching the parent’s needs
While looking for the best stroller to meet the needs of your child, it’s advisable for parents to think of their needs as well. In fact, the stroller should match your character - avid traveller, a regular jogger, or a frequent shopper.
Namely, parents who know they will have to take their kids to the supermarket regularly should opt for a slimmer and lighter stroller that will allow you to navigate the crowded aisles easily.
On the other hand, big and bulkier strollers are for physically active parents who want to take their kids along with them on their morning jog or off-road explorations.
Finally, if you plan on travelling with your kids often, opt for the travel compact pram designed for airport travel or the boot of a car. Since they are fairly light in comparison to other models, travel strollers are also suitable for those who live in buildings without elevators, as they will have to carry baby strollers up several flights of stairs almost daily. They are quite practical for parents who will rely on public transport, as well.
Alternatively, you can opt for an all-purpose stroller of average weight and width. Though they might not be the best option for those who take frequent walks on rocky roads, they are a great choice for parents who are raising their kids in the city.
Features to consider
Safety is without a doubt of primary importance. A stroller frame should lock into position firmly to prevent accidental collapse. It should be smooth, without any sharp edges, protrusions, or uncovered springs that your child can pinch itself on by accident.
A seat is best if it’s adjustable as your child will surely be able to use it for several years. When they are newborns, the seat should be put in an almost flat position, and then gradually adjusted back up as they get older. However, even when they are toddlers, the reclining position is much appreciated in times when a child gets tired during a walk and wants to take a nap.
A harness system should be a 5-point one, meaning that it wraps around the child’s legs and waist, and goes over the shoulders.
Handles should be at the same height as the parent’s waist, or even slightly below. Since in most couple’s cases it is difficult to find a universal baby stroller that will suit them both, look for baby prams with adjustable handles, or purchase handle extenders.
Shade is intended to keep your child protected from the sun and other weather conditions. To ensure utmost comfort, get the baby stroller with an adjustable canopy that’s made from fabric with UV protection.
Removable insert is also quite practical because it allows you to unfasten them quickly and clean up. We also advise checking whether it can be thrown into a washing machine - spills are inevitable, and it’s surely the best and fastest way to get the seat spotless and ready for the next ride.
Design and materials
Again, your daily requirements will affect the choice of design and materials a stroller is made from.
Depending on the types of wheels and tyres, baby strollers can be subcategorised into:
- Strollers with plastic tyres that are not as adequate for off-road strolling and bumpy roads, but are suitable for daily rides in the park.
- Strollers with air-filled rubber tyres that can handle any surface as long as the tyres are properly inflated. They ride easily over long stretches of gravel and cobblestone.
- Strollers with foam filled tyres, also known as never-flat tyres, provide a comfortable ride on even the bumpiest roads.
When it comes to suspension, there are three types of strollers:
- Without suspension that is suitable for smooth surfaces.
- With only front or back suspension that handle moderately-uneven surfaces.
- All-wheel suspension appropriate for off-road strolling.
You might also notice that strollers and baby prams come with either 4 or 3 wheels. Namely, 3-wheel prams and strollers are often longer and heavier, but since the wheels are larger than average, they are easy to push around and stroll across uneven surfaces. 4-wheelers are more compact and can fold, which makes them more practical for parents who are often in their cars or need a lighter stroller in public transportation. Some 4-wheel models come with bigger back wheels that make them more stable and easier to maneuver.
Some baby strollers come with cup holders, pouches, and snack trays, but these features are not considered a standard. If the newborn pram model you prefer most doesn’t come with these built-in accessories, you might consider purchasing a nappy bag. They are designed in different sizes, so be sure to check which dimensions will be appropriate for everything you plan to take with you every time you leave the house with a baby - nappies, bottles, snacks, wet wipes, toys, and whatnot.
Planning in advance
Have you always dreamed of having a big family? If you already have baby number 2 planned, consider a single baby stroller that converts into a double. That way taking a stroll around the block with more kids won’t take the fun out of the day spent in the fresh air. These strollers also take out of the equation sibling rivalry over who gets the chance to ride in the stroller seat - once they are tired, older siblings can hop on a double stroller or a double pram and relax.
Instead of a double, you can opt for a twin stroller, which is without a doubt the best possible options for parents who are expecting twins. They are either designed side by side or for stadium seating - again, it is up to you to decide based on your lifestyle which one you feel will support your everyday needs.
In addition to selecting the stroller that meets both yours and your baby’s requirements, check whether it passes the Australian standard AS/NZ 2088, preferably the latest (2013) version. It ensures that the baby stroller is made from the best quality materials and in accordance with the construction, labelling and performance requirements.