A stroller is one of the most important baby gear items that new parents need to purchase. With the numerous stroller options available to parents, choosing the right type of stroller for your family can be a challenging task. Today there is a different stroller type and model for every lifestyle and budget so the best way to begin your stroller selection is to determine where and how often you plan to use your stroller.
The major factors that will determine which type of stroller will be best for your family include lifestyle, budget, size, safety, maneuverability, weight and durability.
Before you begin to evaluate different stroller brands and models, it is important for you to determine how, where and when you will use your stroller. Parents who plan to use a stroller primarily when running errands should consider the stroller’s size and weight especially if they will be in and out of the car often, use public transportation or need to go up and down stairs frequently.
If you plan to travel with your stroller often, you might consider a lightweight, compact fold stroller that is easy to fold and carry. Athletic and outdoorsy parents generally find jogging and all-terrain strollers to be the most useful in their daily lives. For more information about selecting the right stroller for your needs, read Which Stroller is the Best Fit for Your Lifestyle.
How much you are willing to spend on a baby stroller will help to narrow your stroller search a bit. If you are concerned that you may not be able to find a good stroller that fits into your budget, the article Do I Need to Buy an Expensive Stroller can help you to determine whether you’ll need a pricey stroller or if a more affordable model will be suitable for your family.
Since many parents end up needing two or three strollers to meet all of their needs, you should consider the stroller’s lifespan when factoring the purchase into your budget.
When you are purchasing a stroller size will be a major deciding factor. Observe how large the stroller is when open to determine if you will be able to walk down sidewalks and through doorways with it. Consider if the stroller will fit into your vehicle when folded. You should also keep in mind how much space you will have to store the stroller when it is not in use.
As a parent your child’s safety and well-being is your number one priority so you should ensure that any stroller model that you consider buying meets the ASTM safety standards. Read Stroller Safety Guidelines to learn more about baby stroller safety.
Although the maneuverability of a stroller is subjective to each user, a few basic features will make it easier to push and turn any type of stroller. Swivel wheels make it easier to maneuver your stroller in indoor spaces like malls and shops. A comfortable handle height is vital to ensure that pushing the stroller will be effortless for you. Additionally, a stable wheelbase will ensure that the stroller does not tip when turning corners.
The best way to determine a stroller’s maneuverability is to take it for a test drive. Visiting a local store and testing out the stroller of your choice is a great way to find out if it is the right stroller for you and your family.
Weight & Durability
When it comes to baby strollers, weight and durability go hand in hand. Metal frame strollers are by far the most stable and durable; however, they do tend to be heavier than plastic frame strollers are. An advantage to having a heavier stroller is that it will last longer than a lightweight stroller, and it will be able to hold heavier (older) children.
While the above mentioned factors will be the most important reasons why parents choose a stroller type, some stroller features may also play a large role in the decision making process and sway parents from one model to another such as whether or not a stroller is made with eco-friendly materials. Some stroller features that should be taken into consideration when shopping include:
- Collapsibility - Some strollers are easy to fold quickly while others may require several steps before the stroller is collapsed. Consider how easy it will be to fold the stroller. Many models now have one-hand folding which is the simplest and quickest.
- Harness/Seat belt - A stroller’s harness should be easy to adjust as your child grows and the buckles should be easy for you to use, but not for your child. Stroller Safety Tips for Parents provides more information on how to keep your child safe while using a stroller.
- Reclining Feature - How much a stroller seat reclines can be a major deciding factor for parents when purchasing a stroller. A full recline is necessary for newborns and a slight or partial recline will offer support and increase comfort for an older infant.
- Wheels and Suspension - Larger wheels provide the best performance on curbs and stairs, and air-filled tires provide baby with a smoother, more comfortable ride.
- Brakes - Rear brakes are an important stroller feature, they enable you to lock the stroller’s wheels when parked to prevent the stroller from rolling. The best brakes are linked so that wheels on both sides stop together. Foot-operated brakes are the easiest type to use since they do not require you to bend down to activate them.
- Footrest - While a footrest will give your child somewhere to rest his feet, it will also reduce the odds of him receiving an injury from his feet touching the ground or being caught in a front wheel.
- Optional Accessories - You shouldn’t allow accessories to be a major deciding factor when choosing your stroller, unless of course you are torn between two models that are comparable in all other ways.
Knowing which type of stroller will be best suited for your family can make shopping for a stroller less stressful for new parents. After you have identified which stroller type you will need, our Stroller Comparisons and Stroller Reviews can help you to begin your search for the perfect stroller for your family.