With an abundance of different types and styles of strollers on the market it can be overwhelming to find the perfect fit for you. This quick guide will help you how to buy a stroller, figure out your needs and wants are, so you won’t be stuck with a stroller you (or your baby) hate.
How many strollers do you want?
This may seem like a silly question, especially if you only have one child, but strollers that have multiple functions such as a travel system may be bulkier than you are willing to take out on an everyday basis. An umbrella stroller is compact, but doesn’t have the storage space or infant car seat attachment that you need in the beginning. Decide if you would rather have one larger stroller that does it all or two smaller models–one for a single purpose like a jogger for running, and another for every day use.
For baby the seat is the most important aspect of your stroller. Touch the fabrics and make sure they’re soft to keep baby’s skin from scratching. Check the label to ensure the fabric is machine washable. Dry cleaning or hand washing just doesn’t make much sense in a baby’s messy world. Make sure there is adequate padding so baby is comfy.
How adjustable do you need the seat to be?
Do you want one that reverses so you can see your baby while strolling? Will you be okay if your stroller doesn’t have a full flat recline option? Do you want the seat to adjust to a bassinet-like setting? If your stroller is for an older child, do you need a recline option at all?
Other Adjustable Features
Think about who will be pushing the stroller. Do you have a tall husband, but you need a stool to see over the refrigerator? You will want a stroller with an adjustable handle bar so nobody has stoop or feel like a kid pushing her mother’s grocery cart. Foot rests can have multiple positions ranging from a simple choice between 2 positions, to flipping up to create a bassinet or removing completely. There are even strollers that can alter according to toddler’s whims with both a sitting and standing option.
Babies require a lot of gear. It’s nice to be able to stash it in the stroller when you are not using it. If you plan to shop with baby in tow you are going to need at least a small under-seat basket for a purse and small diaper bag. Larger baskets are great for more vigorous shopping, but you might end up sacrificing other things like a fully reclining seat in order to get more storage. Look for features like pockets inside the stroller to hold baby’s toys, zippered pockets in the canopy to hold keys and cell, or organizer trays for coffee mugs, or baby’s snacks.
Besides the basic functionality of the stroller, what are the features you need the most? For one parent it may be storage or sun protection. For a parent who strolls near water, a bug protection net may be high on their list. Thankfully, if you find a stroller you absolutely love there are several add-on features like a car-seat attachment or stroller organizer that you can purchase separately. If your particular stroller brand doesn’t offer these there are universal add-ons that may work with your stroller. Check with these before starting your stroller search from scratch.
You will be using this stroller for several years—possibly 10 or more if you have 3+ children. It’s worth it to research your options and find the one that will work right for you. Asking other parents and reading online reviews helps tremendously, but don’t leave baby out! He will let you know if he isn’t comfortable in a certain stroller, so wait until you can take him along. Your baby and wallet will thank you.