Strollers are one of the most important purchases for new families. Yet for most parentstobe its the most stressful purchasethere are hundreds of makes and models, and the price for some can be steep. The most important thing to consider when choosing a stroller is your lifestyle and how you will use the stroller: Is it for running errands, do you need it to hold a car seat, do you need it to have the ability to grow with your family, do you need to jog with it, is there a specific budget?
Most parents end up buying multiple strollers: one, such as an umbrella stroller, to keep in the car for quick errands or travel, and one thats full size for everything else. Some may also buy a jogging stroller for outdoor activity, or a double as their family grows.
TYPES OF STROLLERS:
1. FULL SIZE STROLLER TRAVEL SYSTEMS Full size strollers will offer a complete infant to toddler capability. They are typically larger, more durable and more expensive. Most offer a bassinet, which can be used until approximately 6 months of age, and many times can act as a bassinet for the house or when travelling. Full size systems also feature a reclining toddler seat for children up to 4-5 years of age. These reclining seats can face the parent or be turned around for the child to face forward. Typically these strollers are infant car seat compatible (with use of an adapter). This feature is extremely beneficial to parents who live in a car-town, meaning they drive frequently to run errands. A car seat adapter feature allows parents to move the infant from car to stroller easily. Examples: Orbit Infant System, Uppa Baby Vista, iCandy Pear
2. UMBRELLA & LIGHTWEIGHT STROLLERS The umbrella stroller was invented in 1965 by Owen Maclaren and has become the most popular and well known of the bunch. Its the smallest and least-expensive stroller on the market and is designed for infants and toddlers. Umbrella strollers feature cloth or vinyl seats, small wheels, curling double handles that resemble umbrella handles, and the ability to fold up into a very small package. The best umbrella strollers can weigh as little as five pounds, making them excellent back up strollers (a lot of parents leave them in the car for running quick errands) and perfect for travel. If an umbrella stroller does not feature a reclining seat, the stroller should not be used until the child is approximately 3-6 months of age. If the stroller does feature a reclining seat, the stroller can be used from infant and up. Most umbrella strollers will hold a child up to 4-5 years of age. Examples: Uppa Baby G Luxe, Maclaren Twin Triumph, Peg Perego Si
3. SEAT CARRIER FRAMES (also knows as snap-n-go) Seat carrier frames feature a very simple, collapsible four-wheeled frame. These frames are designed to hold an infant car seat directly on the stroller without an adapter. They feature small wheels like an umbrella stroller, and do not offer many additional bells and whistles. They are inexpensive, however are no longer functional once a child outgrows their infant car seat. Example: Maclaren Easy Traveller
4. JOGGING STROLLERS If you love the outdoors, you may want to consider this type of stroller. A true jogging stroller is aerodynamically designed, featuring one wheel in the front and two in the back. These strollers tend to be heavier, and larger, and less maneuverable in small spaces. A key feature in jogging strollers is the front wheel: it can swivel (best for walking and other light activities) or lock in place (best for jogging). They also typically feature an all-terrain suspension system, a safety wrist strap, larger sun canopies and multiple accessories that are helpful for most parents (water bottle holder, child trays, etc). Example: Bob Revolution
5. MULTI-CHILD STROLLERS When parents are inquiring about a double or triple stroller they need one of two kinds: a stroller for twins/triplets or a stroller to accommodate two different aged children.
For parents of twins or triplets, there are many things to consider. To make the first 6 months easy and simple, a double snap n go is a great option. Its lightweight and easy to use, and more importantly will hold two car seats. Almost all twin or triplet snap-n-go strollers feature tandem chairs (meaning the seat positions are front to back). Consequently, these strollers are quite long. After outgrowing their snap n go, they typically move into a double umbrella stroller. Examples: Snap n Go Double, Maclaren Twin Triumph
For parents whose family is expanding with a second child, they will want to consider whether they need a stroller that will hold a car seat and a toddler seat on the same frame, or if they are just looking for a double umbrella stroller. There are some side by side double strollers that feature one seat being slightly wider than the other seat (typically called a 40/60). This allows one seat to receive a car seat and the other seat for a toddler. They might also want to consider a double jogging stroller for trips to the park and walks around the neighborhood. Examples: Maclaren Twin Triumph, Bob Revolution Duallie
Lifestyle and Usage Considerations
When selecting your stroller understand that what works for one family won't necessarily be the best solution for yours. Below are some guidelines we walk are clients through in store. Understand that rarely do parents end up with only one stroller (statistically most parents end up with four, but we'll do our best to help you avoid that!).
1. If youre expecting your first child and would like a stroller that will grow with your family, we recommend the Uppa Baby Vista stroller. This is a full-size stroller, with lots of great features such as a bassinet and car seat adapter. Its also a great option for those families who want a great stroller they can be slightly active with (no jogging, but great for walks around the neighborhood and to the park) and folds easily and compactly enough for everyday errands. Even better, theres a second seat attachment for when child #2 comes along. The Uppa Baby provides room for an infant car seat and toddler seat, or two toddler seats at the same time with this second seat attachment called the Rumble Seat.
2. For parents who will use their stroller both for every day use, running errands, as well as for high level activity outside, the most important features to consider are: car seat adaptability and ease of use. You'll want to invest in a stroller that allows you to take the car seat directly from the car and easily attach it onto your stroller frame (for everyday errands). You'll also want a stroller that has good suspension and hefty tires for activity outside. There are two great options for these families:
a. Invest in one stroller like the Uppa Baby Vista or iCandy Apple. Both of these strollers offer full-size stroller features, plus car-seat adaptability and a good suspension base for high level outdoor activity.
b. Or you can invest in two strollers for a similar price as the above strollers: Invest in a Bob Jogging stroller, perfect for very high level outdoor activity and the Peg Perego Si Lightweight stroller, which is a lightweight-umbrella stroller with some durability for outdoor activity. The Peg Perego Si also allows most name brand infant car seats to attach directly to the stroller without an adapter.
3. For parents who want to keep it as simple as possible, have limited space (apartment dwellers), take public transportation, and/or plan to travel frequently, we recommend the Peg Perego Si stroller. It folds up easily and is very lightweight, and most name brand infant car seats attach directly to the stroller. This is also the perfect solution for grandparents who want to have their own stroller.
4. If you're a serious runner, you'll need to invest in a great jogging stroller. True jogging strollers, with one wheel in the front and two in the back, are the only strollers that should be used for running.
Were frequently asked whats the main difference between a $200 stroller and a $1000 stroller. It comes down to what we call bells and whistles. The more expensive a stroller becomes, the more it will offer. Typically more expensive strollers offer bigger storage compartments, bigger wheels, better suspension, built-in accessories like a cup holder, and offer car seat adaptability and bassinet features.
There are a lot of bells and whistles to consider when buying your stroller, however we feel the most important after price and functionality are:
1. car seat adaptability: If youll be getting in and out of your car a lot, make sure the stroller you select adapts to your car seat of choice.
2. weight of stroller: If you are petite, make sure to consider how heavy your stroller will be when carrying and lifting it into the car or up and down stairs.
3. size of stroller: If you're limited on storage space, or have a small space in your car, look for a stroller that folds compactly.
4. adjustable handlebar: While not a necessity, for couples where one spouse is on the taller side, a handlebar that extends further may provide an added comfort level.
5. storage basket: The storage compartment on strollers varies widely so be sure you're happy with your storage compartment size if this is important to you.
6. bassinet option: For those families who would like to have a bassinet to use in their house or for on the go, a bassinet option on a stroller can be a great option that eliminates the need to buy a more traditional bassinet.
7. reclining seat positions: You'll find that most full-size and jogging strollers offer adjustable reclined seat positions so that your child can lay reclined or sit upright as appropriate to their age and size.
8. reversible seat directions: While not a necessity, it is nice to be able to have your little one face you when theyre infants, and have them face outward as they get older and more curious.
9. expandability: For those families looking to invest in one stroller that will grow with their family, be sure to look for a stroller that allows for a second seat attachment or a stroller that features a ride-on board attached for toddler-aged children.
Most strollers have several accessories that can be added for an additional cost. The most common accessory purchases are a cup holder and a car seat adapter. When purchasing a stroller we recommend you buy all the accessories you might want in case the stroller model is later discontinued.
1. branded car seat adapters (i.e. the uppa baby graco adapater): If you plan to use your car seat with your stroller this is a must-have purchase. Be sure to ask if there are certain brands that adapt easier to your stroller than others.
2. cup holder: A cup holder is a client favoriteuseful for bottles, drinks or just a place to throw your cell phone.
3. travel bag: If you plan to travel with your stroller frequently, we highly recommend you invest in a travel bag. This ensures that when you arrive at your destination you have no damages to your stroller. We also advise to gate-check your stroller when you have the opportunity.