Guest Post by Ciara Coleman,
When you begin your stroller search you will start noticing all the features that each stroller model boasts. Some of these features are essential and some will be in the nice-to-have category. Here is some insight into the features that you will see on offer:
Whether you frequently use public transport or mostly drive yourself, this is something that is important where strollers are concerned. If you are about to become a first time parent, you may not yet have thought about the juggling involved when a baby arrives. Every time you leave the house you will probably have a large diaper bag, a stroller, possibly an infant car seat and of course, a baby in hand. The last thing you want, whether it be at the train station or parking lot is to be juggling all if this while at the same time fiddling with the stroller trying to collapse it.
The best folding mechanism that I have seen is that used on the Britax B Agile
or Baby Jogger strollers which require the push of a button followed by a quick release handle that sits under the infants bottom on the seat, below.
I have the Britax B Agile myself and love the fold. I’ve folded and packed this into the car single handed while holding my daughter on my hip with the other hand. Obviously the weight of the stroller is a factor as well. It can also be difficult to manage a stroller that requires some form of disassembly before being collapsed. While manageable when packing it into a car, it really isn’t suitable for using public transport as you won’t have the free hands required!
A reversible seat is certainly a feature that is great to have but it is up to each parent whether this is a must have. I personally loved having the option. When my daughter was very little, it was great to have her facing me as it obviously made it easy for me to see her and interact with her. At a certain stage your little one will find it more interesting to observe the world around her and at that point a rear facing seat feature won’t seem so important.
Another feature to check out which may take the place of a rear-facing feature is the compatibility with an infant car seat. This may make for a more comfortable set up for the first few months as you will be closer to your little one.
Five Point Harness
When you choose a stroller, there are many safety aspects to consider. A safety harness should always be used. When choosing a stroller, a 5-point safety harness is a better choice than a 3-point harness. A 5-point harness consists of two straps at the shoulders, two straps at the hips and one at the crotch.
Weight & Width
The weight and width of the stroller impacts the ease of storing as well as the maneuverability of the stroller. Most fully featured all-terrain wheels are heavier, bulkier wheels than the lighter weight standard strollers but they do offer greater functionality in terms of terrain and stability.
If it is an all-terrain stroller that you are seeking, the greater footprint is something that comes with that. If you are looking for something more convenient for an urban lifestyle and easier to maneuver through store aisles the Uppababy Cruz,
the Bugaboo Bee (below):
or the Britax B Agile would be worth looking at.
You will also find that those offering a second toddler seat tend to be wider and heavier so if you are purchasing for your first child, while the feature of a second seat is attractive it may be worth considering the weight and whether you really want that functionality immediately.
Growing with your Family
A popular feature is the option to turn a single stroller into a double through the addition of an extra toddler seat. This is a great option for those planning on having their children close together. The most popular strollers with this feature are the Uppababy Vista,
the Britax B Ready,
and the Baby Jogger City Select,
All of these strollers allow for an extra seat to be added which turns the stroller into an inline double stroller. They each have multiple seating configurations allowing for two children to be very comfortable.
It is worth bearing in mind that this type of stroller tends to be heavier and wider than a usual single stroller.
One other factor to consider when deciding on a stroller is the weight capacity as a single stroller. Some strollers may have the durability to last for years but if they have a low weight capacity they may not take you very far. One prime example is the Bugaboo Cameleon3 below. With a capacity of 37.5 lbs, this stroller may not take you much past two years.
It’s a fact of life that sometimes you buy a product to have it break only days after purchase. When you have decided on the stroller you are going to buy be sure to check out the warranty.
In some cases you are required to retain the original receipt of purchase so keep it somewhere safe. Customer service is such an important factor in the unfortunate event that something does go wrong. I have found UPPAbaby to have excellent service. They are quick, responsive and very helpful. Another one to consider is the customer service of the store. Amazon also has fantastic customer service and will take back most items (if not all) purchased within a year. It’s an extremely hassle free process and can all be done online for additional ease.
Some money saving tips include:
Hold off on buying a full feature stroller until after baby is born. A car seat frame and infant car seat can get you through the first six months easily so if you would rather wait until the baby arrives before deciding that’s definitely an option. You can also manage with a carrier for a newborn for quite some time. Babies love being close to their parents and the close contact is great for bonding too.
Depending on when your little one is due, you could be lucky with the timing. A lot of brands fix their prices through the year and don’t allow them to be reduced until after the new models have been featured. For most, this tends to be some time around October / November with the new models release date set for the following year. If this fits in with your little one’s due date it would definitely be worth holding off for the sales as you could save yourself 20%, if not more.
Sometimes there are not many modifications on strollers from one year to the next but the prior years model will be at a reduced price. It may be worth considering the prior years model in this case.
It really is worth putting a lot of thought into what your needs truly are. There are all sorts of functions and features but you may find a lot of them are unnecessary for your personal needs. Don’t allow yourself to get carried away by an endless list of features or give in to stroller envy!
Choose the right stroller for your lifestyle
Depending on your lifestyle, it may be the main mode of transport you use every day so it is a decision requiring some serious attention. There are numerous makes and models to choose from and although everyone may offer an opinion on what they perceive the best model to be, when it comes to strollers it is not the case that one stroller is the best fit for everyone.
To make your decision a little easier, I have rounded up some of the most popular strollers on the market across three “lifestyle” categories.
- Light use
If you are living a suburban lifestyle where you mostly use a car for getting around and your stroller is used mainly for light jaunts on well-paved streets then your stroller requirements are not going to be too extensive. You will probably find that a light-weight, easy folding, compact stroller fits your needs quite well. My favorite picks in this category are the Britax B-Agile or the Baby Jogger City Mini, within the mid range or the Bugaboo Bee or Uppababy Cruz at the higher end.
- Urban Lifestyle
Speaking from personal experience having lived in New York, a stroller becomes much more than just a baby carrier. Our stroller was the main mode of transport when living in the city. You will find that all-terrain wheels will make life much easier when maneuvering through snow and uneven pavements but be wary of weight if you’re living in a walk-up or plan on taking your stroller on public transport. In this scenario, I would look at the Baby Jogger City Mini GT.
or Mountain Buggy Swift, at the mid range moving towards the Uppababy Vista or the Bugaboo Buffalo at the high end.
I used and loved the Uppababy Vista for my daughter when in the city. It is truly a wonderful stroller with a host of great features.
- Country Roads
Finally, if your day-to-day activities take you along bumpy roads or uneven surfaces, you may find yourself in need of a stroller that has all-terrain, wheels and good suspension to allow a smooth ride for baby. This is where jogger strollers really come into their own. With their larger wheels and improved suspension, they generally make light work of bumps in the road. I would look at the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle.
and the Bumbleride Indie,
and the BOB Revolution SE all great strollers at very similar price points. The deciding factors for parents will come down to style and aesthetics, as they are quite distinct from one another in terms of style and colors.
I’ve rounded up the main eleven strollers I’ve referred to in this side-by-side comparison table for ease of comparison.
What are your favorite strollers?
Ciara Coleman is a somewhat recent resident in the U.S having relocated from her native Ireland with her husband just over 5 years ago. Her last five years have been spent living in New york and more recently, Connecticut. Until the arrival of her daughter four years ago, Ciara worked in finance. Now a stay at home mom to two little ones, Ciara applies the same keenness in her research for baby gear as she once did in her banking career. In an attempt to share her fondness for baby products, innovative designs and good investments, she founded Baby Browsing a website dedicated to highlighting good baby products and toys.