How to Choose a Perfect Stroller for Baby

The right stroller can make all the difference in the ease and accessibility of your daily life with your baby — from that walk in the park to that hike through the mall etc. Here is a comprehensive buying guide for the different kinds of strollers for your baby, so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your little one.
The right choice of stroller not only gives your baby a safe place to sit or snooze, but it also gives a place for you to stash all of those must-haves necessary, from wipes and diapers to a change of clothes and an extra pacifier.

Is there any Perfect Stroller?

There is no such thing as a perfect stroller that has it all. Many parents are looking for a stroller with wheels for all types of terrain, a reclining and reversible seat, a big canopy, adjustable footrest, a large basket under the seat, and easy to fold with only one hand, weighs around 16 lbs.
Different parents have different lifestyles, live in different places, and therefore need different strollers types of Stoller. That’s why request other parents for recommendations on specific models is often pointless. Just because this person has a baby and says that this baby stroller was great, doesn’t mean it will be good for you and your baby. We all have different preferences, needs, and budgets, etc.
I write this buying guide to provide some questions and comparisons that will help to define what needs and find the best stroller for you and your baby.

What looks for when shopping for a baby stroller?

Let’s begin with some crucial aspects to which you should pay attention when you are choosing a stroller for your baby.

  • Certification – safety sign. Check if the model you choose to buy has a sticker showing that it is certificated by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). You can also visit JPMA’s website to check which brands are certified. Usually, it means that the most essential functions and features (like stroller’s stability and brakes, a locking mechanism, or absence of sharp edges) were carefully tested.
  • Wheels – The large and air-filled wheels are the best for long walks and bumpy ground, smaller wheels might be better for city use and running errands. Swivel front wheels give better maneuverability, locked wheels make the stroller more stable.
  • Amortization – This is important because infants have a very delicate spine and don’t have neck and head control during the first few months.
  • Stroller frame – if the frame is heavy, the stroller is bulky, therefore we are looking for quite a light frame. Of course, it has to be enough strong and durable at the same time.
  • Brakes – should lock both wheels at the same time. When the wheels of the stroller are blocked, the stroller should be immobile.
  • Canopy – should fold easily and quietly and also have great ventilation for hot days. It should be big enough to protect your child from sun and wind and give him some room to grow.
  • Adjustable handlebar – it makes pushing the stroller more easily for parents of different heights.
  • Reversible seat – Reversible seat gives you the ability to change the direction your child is facing. It is a very useful feature because parents often prefer when their infant is facing them, but a curious toddler prefers to ride facing the World and observe surroundings.
  • The storage basket underneath the seat –Keep in mind – hanging heavy bags on the handlebar can decrease the stroller’s stability and increase the risk of tipping over. Therefore spacious basket is vital.
  • Removable cover – you will want a cover that can be quickly unfastened and clean up and a fabric that is easy to wipe down, without shrinking or fading. It’s great to have the possibility of removing the seat padding and throwing it into the washing machine.

Okay, so you need some basic features that you should consider, no matter what type of stroller you plan on buying, whether it is your first or third pushchair, and no matter if it’s for newborns or toddlers.

What are the different types of strollers?

There are six basic types of strollers:

  • Full-sized stroller
  • Lightweight or umbrella stroller
  • Jogging stroller
  • Double stroller
  • Car seat carrier
  • Travel system

Full-sized stroller

If you want to invest in one stroller that’ll wheel your baby right through the toddler years, look no further than a full-size stroller. Bigger, sturdier, and possibly more durable, these strollers are the standard option. And many models come with a full range of features that not only make a baby’s ride a joy but it also makes your life easier.
Full-size stroller benefits: The go-to choice for many families, a full-sized stroller covers all the basics and offers nifty bells and whistles for your little one that usually includes:

  • The wide, comfortable, well-padded seat
  • Deep seat recline
  • These models come with the option to mount the seat rear-facing or forward-facing
  • Option to attach a car seat
  • Convertible design that grows with your baby, from newborn use with car seat (or optional bassinet, in some cases) to toddler use
  • Expandable canopies
  • Sturdy tires with decent suspension to absorb shock
  • Roomy basket for storage
  • Telescoping handlebars (especially friendly when one parent is tall and the other is petite)
  • Useful nice-to-haves, like a snack tray
  • or cup holder

Full-size stroller downsides:

  • It can be bulky and heavy (if you take public transportation, climb stairways, or navigate busy streets or small stores with your baby, this can make it difficult to travel with)
  • It may also be a tight fit for a small-space home

Lightweight or umbrella stroller

You might miss a few of the features you can find in a full-sized stroller, but an umbrella stroller scores points for being supremely comfortable to handle while on the go.
Lightweight or umbrella stroller benefits:

  • Often weighing under 15 pounds, a lightweight stroller is specially designed for portability (some even come with a shoulder strap).
  • These types of models are easily foldable, which makes stashing one in the trunk or taking it on an aeroplane, bus, or train a snap.
  • Many lightweight strollers still come equipped with useful features, like a partial seat recline, storage basket, expandable canopy, and built-in cupholder or snack tray.

Lightweight stroller downsides:

  • If you want a stroller that you can use from the newborn months on, a lightweight stroller won’t do. While a few models can safely carry newborns with car seat adapters or bassinet attachments, but most umbrella strollers are designed for babies 6 months or older.
  • Usually, it does not have a convertible option, which means if you end up having a second (or third) baby within a few years of your first, you’ll likely need to purchase a new stroller.

Jogging stroller

On the run — literally? The jogging stroller might be a good option. Normally it has larger, sturdier wheels and better suspension to take bumps and alternate terrain in stride.
Jogging stroller benefits:

  • Superior suspension lets you walk, jog or hike and keep your baby in comfort while on and off the trail.
  • Many jogging strollers come along a front-wheel that can swivel (for flexibility) or be fixed (for stability at higher speeds).
  • Depending on the model, many other advantages may include compatibility with a car seat (for use from newborn through toddler stages), deep reclining seats, telescoping handlebars, and generous storage space.

Jogging stroller downsides:

  • It can be a bit heavier and challenging to assemble.
  • If space is tight, so usually can’t fold up as small as an umbrella stroller.
  • Jogging strollers are wider than many full-size strollers, which means maneuvering them through tight spaces can be a challenging task.

Remember that while most three-wheeled strollers are referred to as “joggers,” not all three-wheelers are optimized for runners. Some of the three-wheelers are “hybrid” strollers that lack hand brakes and other safety features, and therefore, aren’t intended to be used for jogging with a baby. Serious runners will want to do a test drive to make ensure their jogging stroller has the appropriate safety features and functionality.

Double stroller

If you’ve got twins — or a toddler who’s not ready to give up their stroller days — then a double stroller is the best way to go. It comes in two formats: tandem, where one child sits behind the other, or side-by-side seating option.
Double stroller benefits:

  • With multiple kids, this enables you to swiftly manage only one stroller.
  • These models are on the bigger side, there’s usually ample storage space.

Double stroller downsides:

  • A double stroller tends to be bigger and bulkier, weighing in at up to 40 pounds and with a much larger footprint.
  • Though there are some good lighter options, these are not without issues, as they don’t tend to take bumps and alternate terrain properly. When you shop, consider width (does it fit through your door?), mobility (is it well balanced? how does it turn?).

Car seat carrier

These wheeled frames are built to transform your baby car seat into a stroller in just a snap.
Car seat carrier benefits:

  • Car seat carriers are lightweight and compact.
  • For a no-fuss transition into and out of the car, they are convenient and great for travel purposes.
  • Some car seat carriers can even accommodate multiple kids.

Car seat carrier downsides:

  • It is best for short-term use since the baby outgrows the baby car seat quickly. Some full-featured strollers function as a car seat frame, then transform into a toddler-friendly stroller.
  • Generally do not have any extra features like cup holders or storage.

Travel system

A travel system is an easy-to-connect pair together an infant car seat and stroller. There are full-size, lightweight, and jogging stroller travel systems, so you can choose a system for your baby the type of stroller you like best.
Travel system benefits:

  • Having a baby car seat that connects to your stroller with an adapter (usually built-in) means you can move your sleeping baby from the car to the stroller without waking her up.
  • Being able to buy both components as a set may save money.

Travel system downsides:

  • While it will usually last into the older toddler years, your baby will outgrow the infant car seat much sooner than that.
  • If you’re a multiple-car family, you’ll need to buy a separate car seat or base to use with your other car.

What should I need to consider when buying a stroller?

A safe, reliable, and easy-to-use stroller is a definite must-have. But stroller can be range in price from $30 to upwards of thousands of dollars, you’re going to want to ensure you’re getting the best option for your dollar. These basic questions can help you.

  • Where will you use it? Many mid-range stroller models can be big and bulky — not ideal if you’re navigating through narrow city streets. But a smaller umbrella stroller might not best choice for you if you need a stroller basket big enough to handle your purse, diaper bag, and other essentials. Try to know where you’ll go with your stroller — that’s half the battle.
  • Is it newborn-friendly? Some stroller models offer a deep recline or bassinet mode, which means you can put your newborn in them from the first day — with no add-ons needed. But many stroller models are more suitable for babies who have some neck control or can nearly sit up unsupported, which usually doesn’t happen until month 6. You may also need to attach a car seat or optional bassinet to make some stroller models infant-ready, so try to know what you’re getting before you buy.
  • How long do you plan to use it? While you may pay more upfront for certain stroller models, adaptability from newborn through toddler stages could save your money in the long run. Do you plan to use the same stroller models for multiple kids? If so, shop for long-term value, and consider a stroller model you can add onto — a car seat, a stand-and-ride bumper, or an additional seat for a newborn baby.
  • How easy is it to use? Once you’ve done some research and narrowed down your list of choices, it’s good to do a test drive in person, so you can see how your favourites compare — and consider that a flat and shiny store floor may not reveal how a specific stroller model will do on uneven sidewalks or hilly terrain. Can you steer smoothly? Can you maneuver with one hand?
  • How easy is it to fold and unfold? You’ll likely be holding a baby — when you need to fold or unfold your stroller, so easier is better. Many stroller models tout a one-hand fold, but try before you purchase them.
  • How heavy is it? When you’re on the road, a lighter is a better option. But try to note the details, because some stroller manufacturers will call a 25-pound stroller lightweight, while others can weigh a mere 12 pounds. If you live in a city, take, for example, that can be a big difference when you’re carrying your baby, a diaper bag, and a stroller up endless staircases or squishing onto the subway.
  • Do you need more than one? Suppose you’d prefer to have an umbrella stroller for the road, but a full-sized stroller model for busy days in the neighbourhood. For several families, one stroller model just doesn’t cover all the bases, no matter how cleverly designed. If that’s the case for you, consider splitting your stroller budget rather than investing heavily in one. You might need a basic full-size stroller model for home and a separate umbrella stroller for travel.

Some Helpful features to look for in a stroller

  • Safety features: Above all else, ensure the stroller you have your eye on meets all basic safety requirements.
  • Quality wheels: You won’t log miles with flimsy wheels — they can get stuck on uneven terrain (including bumpy sidewalks) and are more prone to snapping.
  • Sun canopy: Go for long or adjustable canopies to keep the baby shielded from the sun, rain, and other elements. Some stroller models even have ventilated or clear windows, so you can protect your baby, but still keep a close eye on her.
  • Storage: Usually, babies come with a lot of gear. A stroller with a large undercarriage to hold items will much easier on the go.
  • Washable fabric: A stroller model with easy-to-wash fabric will help you keep your stroller in good shape for a longer time.
  • Longevity: To get the most bang for your buck, look for a stroller model that will grow with baby — and maybe beyond, if you choose to add additional children to your brood.

Choosing the right stroller for your family

Before deciding on a stroller model, it’s essential to consider three things: cost, lifestyle, and family size.

  • Cost: Top dollar models do often have plenty of added convenience features like adjustable handlebars, rain shields, large undercarriages, and even multiple seats. They aren’t always necessary.
  • Lifestyle: Do you anticipate heavy near-daily use or do you need a stroller simply for occasional outings? Other lifestyle factors to consider: Can you transport your stroller via the car or will you be lugging it through the city, up subway stairs, and in and out of apartments? Answering these questions can help you figure out whether you should gravitate towards more basic, lightweight stroller models — or if you can swing a heavier stroller model with all of the bells and whistles.
  • Family size: If you ultimately plan to have more than one kid, it often makes sense to make a good investment in a stroller model that can eventually accommodate more children. Though you’ll have to be able to stomach the bigger price tag now, it’ll ultimately save you from having to buy multiple strollers.

How do I ensure my stroller is safe?

Almost all kinds of models these days meet basic safety standards, but there are some additional safety measures to consider when you’re stroller shopping.

  • Look for a five-point safety harness. Five-point harnesses are relatively standard these days. But some umbrella strollers may skimp with a three-point harness. Test the snaps to ensure they’re secure and easy to buckle (and not too easy to unbuckle — at least for baby!).
  • Put on the brakes: Be sure to test how easy the brakes are to use. And how easy they are to trip, too. Do you find yourself hitting the brakes when don’t intend to? Do the brakes offer a secure stop? Can you easily able to disengage the brakes when you’re ready to roll on?
  • Examine the hinges and edges. Nooks and crannies in any kind of baby products can be tricky, but be especially careful when choosing a stroller. Little fingers and toes can get caught in tight spaces, so beware of any kind of protrusions or sharp edges.
  • Get some shade. A stroller shade or canopy is a must for walks in the sun (or rain). Consider opting for a model with built-in SPF protection, too.
  • Can baby lie back and relax? How deep does the stroller seat recline? If you’re planning to put your newborn into the stroller, look for a stroller model that offers a flat recline or bassinet attachment.
  • Put all the pieces together. If you’re planning to purchase a travel system, be aware of the safety ratings for the car seat, and check out how the car seat attaches to the stroller. Is it an easy-to-use, one-click system? Are there a lot of straps or an adapter involved? You want it to be as simple as possible (babies are complicated enough!).
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