Pushchair, buggy, pram, carry cots, stroller—many names that serve one basic purpose—transport babies or children. Since its invention in the 1730s, strollers have transformed the way we carry or travel with our babies. With its successive patenting by William Richardson in 1889, parents have learnt to embrace this invention and move on from their traditional slings and backpacks. Today, most homes with a baby have a stroller. ‘Buy a stroller’ is a common item in most ‘to-do’ lists. But choosing the right stroller need not be challenging if you keep in mind these simple tips.
When to buy
When to buy a stroller is a decision that you have to make. Some prefer to buy one right after the baby is born but some wait until the baby is 3 to 6 months old or when they are a toddler.
If it’s for your new-born, consider a stroller that is sturdy and well-built, power-folding, easy to clean and has a full recline, lockable breaks and a good umbrella cover. At this point, safety and durability is most important and not fancy high-tech features like lights on the stroller, LCD screen, or mobile charging unit. Remember, extra features come at a huge price so it’s up to you to decide if the extra features are really worth it. Purchasing a wind or rain cheater cover for emergencies is a good idea. Most strollers have an underlying basket or tray to help you pack some emergencies, diapers, water or milk and take the load off your shoulders. Buying a stroller at this stage will help you get away from the house, take time for a small walk around the park and introduce the new surroundings to the baby.
However, some prefer to buy a buggy a little later on, when their baby is able to hold its head steady and have more control of their body. At this point, remember that babies begin to move around and may not like the idea of being strapped to a stroller. Not all babies are same, so if you have decided to buy later, understand the behavioural patterns of your baby before choosing the right one.
The third option is to get one when the child is 2 to 3 years old. At this point, they move around a lot and often get tired waiting. At this point, the stroller will give them the much-needed break and rest for their tired feet. An umbrella stroller which is light and foldable is very effective. For those who travel, these strollers are a big help as they can easily fit into the hand luggage and is not bulky. The only thing to keep in mind is that it is light weight and therefore easy to topple if the child is active or trying to climb over.
Of course, for the parents who can afford more than one, a transition to a light weight model from a carry cot, a pram which also works as a car seat and an umbrella folder is very useful. For parents with twins, triplets and so on there are various options available like the side-by-side strollers, double-decker strollers etc.
Find your personality
Your nature of work and your place of residence are also big factors when you buy a stroller. Are you a jogger? Brisk walker? It’s important to find the purpose for buying a certain kind of buggy. If you are not into jogging, why buy the advanced jogger stroller? If you like wearing a sling to carry your baby, then how does a stroller add value?
Many couples buy a stroller without even realising the actual usage. The main difficulty is in the manoeuvring. If the partner accompanies you during the purchase and you let him/her try the features and later you realise that you are unable to move it or fold it, then it’s a problem. If a grandparent is going to take the baby for a walk, and the stroller is heavy and unmanageable, it is a waste of money. If you have a heavy pram and you lack adequate roads in your area, it’s just going to add to the frustration. Take the person who will use it the most to try out at the store, fully loaded (if possible) just to get a feel of the pram before buying it.
Finally, everything comes down to the budget available to buy one. Look at a variety of options, drop in to more than one store and check multiple brands that are available. Speak to your friends and family and take their experiences into consideration before buying one. If you are going to use the stroller only for a very short time, then why buy an expensive one? Why not try the second-hand options? You can easily source one from the online forums in your area, eBay, or network with parents from school or your community.
Your baby is going to spend some memorable moments in a stroller. So, remember to pick one which blends in with your lifestyle and your needs.