Stroller Shopping Guide
Most mothers choose to buy a stroller. The wide variety of styles and features mean you are sure to find a stroller that fits your lifestyle. A stroller is an item you should try-out first hand before you buy.
You should first determine how you are going to use the stroller. Will it be traveling in your vehicle for shopping trips or is it for walks to the park. Do you hope to jog with it or do you need it to carry other stuff for you? All these are important keys to determining which stroller is best.
Umbrella strollers are easy to transport and unfold, but generally offer very little storage space and have the worst wheel systems. Double umbrella strollers are available. Check the height of the handles to make sure you can stand up comfortably while pushing the stroller, and check the length of the stroller when folded to ensure it can be stored and stowed easily. Check the folding mechanism to ensure you can do it one handed. Because they offer no additional support, these types of strollers are generally used for babies over 6 months of age who can sit up unassisted.
Jog strollers offer a comfortable, smooth ride for baby and mom. They generally come with a wrist strap to ensure the stroller does not get away from you. Double jog strollers are available, as are convertible jog strollers that become bike trailers. While the jog stroller is very easy to push and maneuver, they tend to offer very little in the line of storage space and so are not the most convenient for longer strolls. Check for maneuverability and size if you intend to take it shopping with you.
Carriage strollers offer a comfortable ride for baby with their large wheels and flat sleeping area, and generally offer lots of storage room for mom. Some models will convert to a forward sitting stroller when baby is big enough. Great choices for picnics in the park and strolls around the neighborhood, carriage strollers are the least convenient to travel with.
Lightweight strollers try to merge the convenience of a foldable stroller with the comfort and storage capacity of a carriage stroller. Some do this well, others do not. Make sure there is no place for baby to wiggle out when the stroller is in the carriage (or lying down) position. Check the folding mechanism to ensure you can do it one handed (baby will probably be in your other hand). Pay attention to the size of the stroller when it is folded to ensure it will fit in your vehicle.
All-in-One systems combine lightweight strollers with infant carrier car seats. Remember when you start combining items you may begin to lose some of the features that make the individual items desirable. Check the features on your all in one to be sure they compare with the other models you are considering.
If your main use will be shopping, does the stroller maneuver easily enough through shelves and racks? Is it small enough to fit in tight spaces? Does it fold easily and small enough to fit in your vehicle? Do you want storage for shopping bags, a diaper bag and coats? Can you see baby without having to walk to the front of the stroller? Can baby have privacy while sleeping? Pay attention to the families using strollers the next time you go shopping to see what features are helpful and what is just a pain.
If your main use will be outdoors, does the stroller roll comfortably across a variety of terrains? Does it come with a rain shield to protect baby and the stroller? Is there a canopy to keep the sun off baby, and does the canopy work at a variety of angles? Does it have enough storage space for the items you travel with?
I loved the jog stroller I bought when baby number two came along. It was easy to maneuver, fit both children with extra stuff and could convert to be pulled behind my bike. It was very convenient for local shopping, but would not have worked for someone who needed to transport their stroller in a car.
I received both an umbrella stroller and a carriage stroller when my baby was born. Although it was easier to transport, we couldn't use the umbrella stroller because babies need to be able to sit up unassisted. It got put in a closet and I forgot about it until I was cleaning out for baby number two. We ended up giving it away with the tags still on it.
- How will I use the stroller?
- What features provide the best benefit to me?