BabyZone's Ultimate Stroller-Buying Guide
Starting to shop for a stroller? Keep calm and carry on... this handy guide with get you in-the-know
The most expensive strollers, such as Bugaboo and Peg Perego, tend to score well in reviews. If you plan on putting a lot of miles on your stroller, the extra cash might be worth it. Additional brands such as Graco, Kolcraft, Combi, Evenflo, Century, and Baby Trend offer a variety of great products, often with the same features as pricier models.
When choosing a stroller, consider the following:
- The season during which your baby will be born: This may be one of the first deciding factors in what kind of stroller you buy. If you’re due in the winter and you live in Colorado, you may not be venturing outside often and need only an infant car seat for the first few months. Conversely, if you live in a locale that’s sunny most of the year, you might be thinking more about a lightweight stroller.
- Your baby’s developmental stages: During the first few months of your baby’s life, she won’t be able to sit or support herself. You will either need to purchase a stroller that will grow with your baby (either by reclining positions or by hooking in a car seat), or look for a stroller to use during different times in your baby’s development.
- Where you live: Do you live in the city or the suburbs? If you live in New York City and don’t own a car, your stroller will likely get a lot of wear. If you drive a lot, your stroller may sit in the trunk.
- Your travel needs: How you live is just as important as where you live. If you don’t plan on long walks in the park, but instead short jaunts between errands, you may opt for an infant car seat carrier versus a full-blown stroller. But if you plan on walking everywhere with baby then you might be more willing to spend money on a top-of-the-line stroller.
- Borrow from friends to test out what you think is the right stroller.
- Check out manufacturer recall lists to make sure the stroller you’re looking at hasn’t been recalled. Even the priciest models sometimes have problems.
- Test drive strollers at your local baby superstore, but don’t feel like you have to purchase them there. Once you know what you want, shop for the best price online or suggest it as a shower gift.
- How easy is it to fold?
- Does it have a five-point harness to secure the baby?
- Does it recline? How many positions does it have?
- How easy is it to use the brakes?
- Are the handlebars adjustable?
- Is the basket too low? Too high?
- Is the basket big enough for your needs?
- Does the stroller have cup holders?
- Is it too heavy? Too light?
- Is it easy to steer?
- Do the front and back wheels swivel?
- Does the stroller fit into your car’s trunk?
- Does the stroller have the JPMA seal?
- What is the store’s return policy on the stroller?
- Is the stroller on a recall list?
“Check to make sure that the stroller you purchase has the JPMA seal,” advises Anne Marie Lisko, product manager for strollers with Graco Children’s Products. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association seal ensures that the manufacturer adheres to certain safety standards.
Lisko also recommends that parents carefully read through the instruction manual that comes with the stroller. “The instructions contain important warnings about how to use the stroller properly and how to assemble it correctly.” Lisko gives the incentive that parents are likely to find additional features on their stroller they might not know about if they don’t read the manual.
Buy with Confidence
So you’ve figured out your due date, factored in where you live and how you live—you’re ready to buy the perfect stroller, right? Not so fast! Before you buy, consider the following tips to help you make the best decision for you and your baby:
Stroller Checklist for Your Test Drive
Strollers make parenting much easier—keeping your baby asleep from car to grocery store to home when she’s small, and keeping her out of trouble while on walks and visits to the zoo when she’s a toddler. Take time to find the stroller that will fit your family’s needs.
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