A baby stroller is one of those essential purchases you will need to make for your newborn. But buying a stroller is a little like buying a car – there are so many options and accessories that it can get confusing. Here’s the low-down on the different kinds of strollers available:
The Travel System
This is the biggest and usually the most expensive option – a combination of car seat and stroller that is suitable from birth and through the first few years of your baby’s life. The car seat locks onto the stroller frame for smaller babies, and once they grow, you use the stroller on its own (typically from around 9 months). These systems tend to be bulkier and heavier than other strollers, but the all-inclusive design is usually good value for money.
The Traditional Stroller
This category ranges from the travel-friendly basic umbrella strollers to the high-end lightweight branded strollers. Usually they are lighter and easier to fold down than travel system strollers, but most models cannot be used for newborns.
The Classic Pram
A throwback to years gone by, classic prams are essentially a bassinet on wheels. Built with a traditional curved metal frame and oversize wheels for stability and a smooth ride, prams are cozy and safe for newborns but have little use after the first three months.
The Special Purpose Stroller
If your needs are specialised, you may find a special purpose stroller is required. Examples include jogging strollers, which are slung low with three large wheels for extra stability, or tandem strollers, for parents of more than one baby. Those with two children of different ages may also opt for a double stroller that seats one child behind another (these models are narrower than tandems) or a sit-and-stand style that allows the older child to ride along on a bench or standing up while the baby uses a traditional stroller seat.
What to Consider
Once you know what kind of Lightweight stroller you want, do some research online and find out what features are being offered on different models. Then you can shortlist some options and take yourself down to the nearest big baby product outlet to try them out. When testing each stroller, ask the following questions:
- Does the stroller have all the necessary safety options? Are the buckles comfortable, yet easy to latch and unlatch? Is there a five-point harness or only a three-point one (five-point harnesses – those that come from over baby’s shoulders and around his waist and between his legs – are better). Are the brakes working well?
- Is it easy to manoeuvre and are the handles at a comfortable height for you, or can they be adjusted? Can you steer it with one hand if necessary? Do the wheels swivel easily?
- How easily does the stroller fold down? A one-hand or one-hand/one-foot fold is ideal, as you may find yourself doing this manoeuvre with a baby in your arms on a regular basis. This is a very important point – ensure the stroller has a smooth and easy mechanism for collapsing.
- What level of comfort does the stroller offer? Are there multiple seat recline positions, does it lay down flat for a smaller baby? Is the seat well padded, with support for baby’s feet and legs?
- What is the stroller made out of? Is the frame lightweight, or heavy? Metal strollers are heavier but more durable; plastic ones tend to have a shorter life. Is the fabric of the seat cover washable? Can it be removed for cleaning? Do not underestimate the extent of the mess your baby can make in his stroller!
- How much storage area is available? This is important if you intend to take your baby out shopping with you on a regular basis. Is there a shopping basket, how big is it, and can it be accessed no matter what position the seat is in?
- What other features are on offer? Does the Lightweight stroller come with any extras, like a weather shield (clear plastic cover for rainy days), canopy, foot muff or stroller straps (to attach a baby bag)? Is there a snack tray for the baby, or a parent tray to hold keys, phone or a drink?