Babies adore being carried on a chest or on a hip, and if asked, would prefer baby carriers to strollers. Unlike them, many parents prefer strollers, and there is a strong reason why. Strolling makes walking with a kid easier, it soothes and helps the baby to fall asleep, is relatively safe with its sunshade and protective frames, and helps carry all your heavy stuff like handbag, diaper bag, grocery, shopping, etc. This is why you may still think of buying or borrowing a stroller for your baby, even if you plan to use a baby carrier in the first few months.
There are six main types of strollers:
Standard-size or full-size stroller offers plenty of storage, semi-reclining or fully reclining seat, maneuverable wheels, and most probably a car seat adapter. The price range is $20 – $900 and beyond.
Lightweight (umbrella) stroller weights between 8-17 lbs., and is compact and easy to carry. However, it has smaller wheels, is less maneuverable, and does not offer a car-seat adapter, which means you cannot use it until your baby is at least 6 months old. The price range is $15 – $600.
Travel system combines a baby stroller and a car seat in a single package. The price range is $150 – $500.
Jogging stroller has large air-filled tires and shock absorbents that reduce the impact of bumps and curbs and roll smooth while running. The price range is $90 – $800.
Car seat frame stroller becomes more and more popular nowadays. This stroller is relatively cheap and is a good solution for babies under 6 months. The price range is $50 – $190.
Double and triple strollers have two or three side-by-side seats and vary from $80 to $600.
How to Choose a Standard-size Stroller:
A good stroller can be expensive, but a carefully chosen stroller can become a good investment. Consider the features that are the most important for you first and then those that you can live without. Some features, for example a reclining seat, big sunshade, and storage basket, can be non-negotiable, while others can be more flexible. Here are the key functional elements that you would like to keep in mind when choosing the right stroller for your baby:
Maneuverability. If you plan using a stroller every day, its maneuverability will become an important performance factor. When choosing a stroller for your baby at a store, remember that empty products are easier to maneuver. Put some 25 lbs of weight in the seat and try to maneuver it with one hand.
Wheel type. Best baby strollers in terms of maneuverability have larger rubber wheels and air-filled tires. Such strollers are commonly found among jogging options. However, they are heavier and bulkier, so may not be very convenient, if you frequently need to put it in and out of the car or use a public transportation.
Weight and size. If you need to drive or take a public transportation before strolling, you might want to consider a lightweight stroller instead of a standard size stroller. Alternatively, you may consider having both.
Folding mechanism. It is indeed convenient to be able to fold the stroller with one hand, but manufacturers tend to overrate this feature.
Storage. While all strollers offer a basket underneath the seat, a large storage can make its daily use more convenient.
Seats, padding, and materials. Look for a padded seat covered with a durable material. Additional points go for eco-healthy and/or washable materials.
Adjustable handlebars. While adjustable handlebars may seem convenient, they usually affect the maneuverability. Think twice if you really need this feature.
Trays and cup holders. Trays may provide some additional space for storing minor things, but they can make a stroller bulkier and heavier. Most parent trays have cup holders that do not securely hold a large bottle or a cup over baby’s head. A child tray is mostly useless in practice.
Unlike many other baby products, a good quality stroller will serve you for years. It can work well for next kids or passed-on to friends. If you have time, choose a stroller carefully: make a list of preferred features, talk to other parents, check them at stores, and read baby stroller reviews. And, please, make sure to share your own tips for our moms in the comments below.