How to Choose a Stroller

There are several varieties of strollers. Some are designed for specific users, such as lightweight strollers and joggers, other strollers are intended for more everyday use. Irrespective of the type of stroller you are purchasing, here are some considerations to look at before you buy your new stroller.

Make absolutely sure the stroller comes with a proper, and effective, restraint system. At the minimum, look for a three-point restraint that wraps the waist and comes up between the legs. The latch should be comfortable up against your child. If you are purchasing a jogging stroller, make sure you get a five-point restraint system (shoulder straps) since jogging will lead to your child being jostled about. The shoulder straps must keep them in place well even when jogging.

Be sure the stroller has a brake. For most casual strollers, this will just be a parking brake. Make sure it works reliably and is easy to use. For jogging strollers, you should also insist on a brake that can be used to brake the stroller while jogging. Be certain that the brake is easy to use and that you can lock up the tire(s) without too much effort.

Just about every stroller has a mechanism that permits the stroller to be folded up for travel. Make sure that you can easily fold the stroller up by yourself; it’s not much fun to be standing in a parking lot in the foul weather desperately trying to fold your stroller. Even more critical than how easy the stroller is to fold, consider how secure it is when it is open. Be certain that when opened, there is a reliable locking mechanism that keeps the stroller from folding accidentally. If this happens when your child is in the stroller, serious injury can result.

Try out the stroller and see how comfortable it is to operate. You should be able to operate the stroller with one hand. Strollers with both front and rear swivel wheels will be easier to operate. Strollers with wheels that only move in one direction are usually more awkward to steer.

Check out the height of the handle. The stroller will be easier to operate if the handle is at waist level. For most averaged sized people, this will not be an issue. But if you are very tall or short, you should consider a stroller with a handle that can be adjusted.

Look for features that can make your child more comfortable when riding in the stroller. These include reclining seats (makes nappy time easier); comfortable padding; canopies to protect and against sun, rain, and wind; cup holders and bins for snacks.

Be sure that the stroller has plenty of storage space for things like diaper bags, bags used when shopping, changes of clothes, etc. The more storage you have, the happier you will be with your stroller.

All kids make messes. If your kids are especially prone to spilling, try to find a stroller with removable fabric covers over the seats. Removable or not, make sure that the fabric on the stroller can be cleaned with water and mild detergent. While a specially designed fabric may look great new, if it can’t be washed the shine will quickly fade.

Carefully check the frame of the stroller for sharp edges or things that can poke or snag. Also look for gaps that could trap small fingers and toes. Check the leg openings of the stroller; make certain that they are not wide enough for an infant to accidentally slip through them.

Before you buy a new stroller, or any other product for your child, check the product recall finder website (http://www.babycenter.com/product-recall-finder) to see if there is a recall against the product you are about to buy.

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