When shopping for a stroller, try to visit a location where models are on display and road test them in the store. Take into account the age and developmental abilities to which the stroller is suited, how comfortable your child will be in it, and your own comfort while pushing it.
Look for a sturdy frame, user-friendly brakes, a multi-level reclining backrest, a variable-height handle, adjustable safety-harness straps, reflective trim, a canopy, washable seat covers, an easy folding/opening mechanism and reversible passenger orientation (the ability to alternate the direction your baby is facing between forward and toward you as you push).
You may also want to explore the pros and cons of hard plastic wheels versus air-filled tires. In addition, some models may have special features that turn your head: pretty fabrics, built-in consoles, a large storage bin, even an MP3-player-compatible sound system so your little one can listen to music en route. Accessories that can enhance your baby’s stroller experience can also be purchased separately.
Stroller Dos and Don’ts
More helpful tips to make the most of this baby essential:
- Do be sure to get a stroller made for your child’s age and level of development.
- Do read the manufacturer’s manual and test-drive your new stroller before putting your baby into it. Make sure you know how to work all of its components.
- Do be careful when opening and folding up your stroller. Keep your child at a safe distance from it to prevent him from getting struck or pinched as you work the mechanism. Make sure that the stroller is locked in the open position before putting your child in.
- Do strap your child into the stroller with the harness every time.
- Do always set the brake before you let go of the handle and before you place your child in the stroller.
- Do use the canopy to shield your child from sun and weather.
- Don’t leave your child unattended in a stroller.
- Don’t rely on stroller brakes or let go of the handle if the stroller is on an incline–even just a slight one.
- Don’t hang bags on the handle, the weight could pull the stroller over backward with your child in it.
- Don’t stroll near traffic or at dusk or after dark.
- Don’t take your child in the stroller on an escalator or stairs.
- Don’t run while pushing your stroller unless it is a jogging stroller. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your child is at least six months old before jogging with him in a jogging stroller.)
Everything you should know before hitting the store.
- Prams and full-size strollers are great for newborns and young infants, many of these models have seat backs that recline flat provide roomy, mobile sleeping quarters.
- Car seat-carrier frames are practical and lightweight, these afford young infants undisturbed transfers between car and stroller.
- Umbrella strollers are a compact mode of travel for tots who can sit up unassisted.
- Travel systems that can accommodate the system’s infant car seat or a toddler sans car seat, and a snap-in base for securing the car seat in a vehicle are better.