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Anyone want a customized Batmobile stroller?
You’d certainly get a few funny looks in the park..
..even more so if you or your baby dresses as Batman 🙂
Of all the purchases Sasha and I made before Mia was born, by far the hardest was choosing a stroller.
It can be a stressful experience (with some arguments along the way) especially if you don’t understand the differences between them.
However, knowing the pros and cons of each, as well as how to pick the best stroller for your needs, will prevent you from making an expensive mistake.
So here it is..
…the ultimate guide for choosing the right type of stroller for you and your family!
History of baby strollers
In layman’s terms, a stroller is simply a chair that is placed on wheels. They are typically folding and can be used for a young child or a baby to be pushed on a walk.
The baby carriage was the precursor to today’s modern stroller. They were a 4-wheeled device that generally had a sun shade to be retracted.
They were pushed by someone on foot, and the baby was usually on their back or sitting up, unrestrained.
Baby carriages were first invented by William Kent in 1733.
However, it wasn’t until 1889 when William Richardson patented today’s modern stroller, and they became significantly more popular. He added wheels that moved independently and a baby basket that could be reversed.
Over time, strollers evolved from being a luxury item that was only available to the wealthy to something that you see every day on the streets.
During the late 1800s, strollers were designed for twins.
Early models looked like a trolley and had a very long wheel base that was difficult to turn and to control.
However, it wasn’t until the 1960s when the umbrella stroller was invented that today’s modern strollers really took off.
An avionics engineer created the foldable aluminum frame that we all know and love and helped spark new types of strollers.
What to consider when buying a stroller
Shopping for strollers can be really overwhelming since there are so many types, brands, and varieties on the market.
To make it as easy as possible, there are a few things that you need to consider before going to the store.
The first thing to think about is the budget that you have for your new stroller. While many strollers have a similar price point, some, like jogging strollers, tend to be much more expensive, while umbrella strollers have a lower price.
What do you really need from a stroller?
You also need to consider the purpose of your new stroller and how you are going to be using it.
Active parents or caregivers will need to make sure to shop for a stroller that will be able to stand up to regular use outside, while parents who need a lightweight stroller for a trip will have totally different criteria to consider.
Think about the features that the stroller has and how they will contribute to your use of the stroller.
Some features, like locking wheels, storage baskets, and a sun shade, tend to be very common. Others, like cup holders or hooks for toys and rings are not always available on all types of strollers.
Where will you store it?
Finally, consider the space that your stroller will take up, not only when in use, but also when collapsed and in storage.
Some types of strollers are just larger than others, but if you don’t have enough space in your car or home, then this can be frustrating.
Understanding the space requirement of different types will help you choose the best one for your space.
How often will you use a stroller?
Try and think how regularly you will use your stroller each week.
It might be hard at this stage if you’re expecting your first baby, but think about how often you’ll go to the shops and the park.
If your stroller will be used a lot, it might make sense to focus on reliability and durability, as a poor quality stroller will start going wrong with frequent use.
6 Types Of Stroller – Which Is Best For You?
Here are 6 main types of stroller for you to consider for you and your family.
Standard strollers can be difficult to break down to take with you on a trip, but once you have it out of the car and set up, you will see how comfortable they are. They offer plenty of padding and cushioning for the baby, which will prevent the baby suffering from a rough ride.
Since they can be used with an infant, they can be used consecutively for around 4 years. Generally, they have an upper weight limit of about 50 pounds.
These strollers often have extra storage space underneath the seat, as well as comfortable handles, locking wheels, squeeze brakes, and a sun shade.
With all of their included amenities, they make travel very comfortable, even when walking for a long time.
- Offer a lot of features to make travel easier
- Very comfortable for baby to travel
- Solid construction prevents baby from bouncing
- Can be used with infants
- Tend to be very bulky and heavy
If you’re thinking of purchasing a regular stroller, the Chicco Bravo is a well priced option and it’s highly rated by many mums and dads.
Umbrella strollers are a great option for parents or caregivers who love to travel and take their child with them on walks, but who don’t need all of the storage space that larger strollers do. They are the smallest of all strollers on the market.
One reason that these strollers are so popular is that they will easily fold down and lock into a small shape for travel. There are some umbrella strollers that can fit in a shoulder tote, which makes them perfect for use on public transportation.
While they are great for travel, umbrella strollers don’t offer all of the padding of other types. This means that they aren’t going to provide as smooth and comfortable a ride and are a better option for older children.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Fold up into a smaller size for transport
- Not great for rough terrain
- Lack many features that other strollers have
- Can’t be used with infants
If you like being on the go and travelling to different places, I’d highly recommend the BabyZen Yoyo if you’re looking for a reliable, portable and lightweight stroller
Parents who want to be able to take their children with them on a run or a long walk need to invest in a jogging stroller, as these are the most durable option on the market and are designed for this use. These strollers have 3 wheels, with a larger front wheel that is either fixed or stationary.
If you’re unsure whether to purchase a standard stroller or one with 3 wheel here’s an article comparing the two types.
Jogging strollers usually feature all-terrain wheels so that they can be taken off on the pavement without causing the child to be jostled too much. Due to their use, they don’t have a lot of storage for bringing along a diaper bag, although they do have some extra space.
The seat is very comfortable and the stroller usually comes with hand breaks so that it can be quickly stopped in an emergency.
- Perfect for running with a baby
- Large front wheel offers easy control over direction
- Sturdy frame prevents baby from being jostled or bumped
- Tend to be more expensive
- Large and bulky, and therefore not ideal for use in crowded areas
- Not for use with infants
Here’s the BOB Revolution Flex Jogging Stroller, a good choice if you want to stay in shape and give your little one some fresh air as well.
Parents of twins or those who have 2 children close in age will love having a double stroller, as it makes it easy for one adult to push 2 children at once.
These strollers come in a variety of styles, including side by side and tandem strollers where the children are in a line.
They can be more difficult to push and maneuver, but they offer a lot of storage space, as well as the other features that you will love, such as durable harnesses and sun shades.
Some double strollers can be used with newborns as long as the seats will fully recline, and they will tend to last until the child is around 4 years old.
They are comfortable, but they don’t offer the durability that comes with jogging strollers, so they are better on pavements for smooth control.
- Great for parents of multiple children
- Provides extra storage for all necessary gear
- Much more expensive than regular strollers
- Can be difficult to maneuver
Here’s a highly rated double stroller, the Joovy Scooter X2.
Car seat carriers
Parents who want to completely skip the bulky stroller can instead buy a car seat carrier that will allow them to take their infant seat on the go.
These carriers consist of a durable frame, locking wheels, and handles.
As long as the car seat has been locked securely into place in the frame, then there isn’t any concern of baby being in danger.
However, since they are only for use with infant car seats, this type of stroller won’t work with older children.
One major perk with this type of stroller is how easy it is to open and to close. They often feature one-hand opening so that parents can pop it open for use without additional help.
Another benefit is that the car seat can be moved while the infant is asleep, which will prevent them from waking up between car and stroller.
- Lightweight frame is foldable and doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Makes it easy to transfer sleeping baby from car to stroller
- Won’t work with all types of car seats
It’s hard to recommend a specific model for this, as a lot depends on which car seat you end up buying!
Furthermore, we never bought one or felt the need to purchase this type of stroller.
Travel system strollers
These strollers are generally sold as a set, which makes it easy for new parents to get exactly what they need when they are shopping for a stroller. They include a base for the car so that the infant seat can be easily popped in and out of the vehicle, as well as a stroller and an infant seat.
However, these strollers sometimes require parents to lift their baby from the car seat to move them into the stroller, which can wake them up. While it may be tempting to keep the baby in the infant seat and simply place it on top of the stroller, this can be very dangerous.
In the UK, it’s more common for these stroller types to come with a carrycot. We also purchased some car seat adaptors so we could use the car seat with it, instead of the carrycot if Mia was sleeping.
These systems generally come with all of the features of other strollers, including storage, cup holders, sun shades, and locking wheels.
- Compatible with many types of cars
- Easy for most new parents to assemble
- More expensive than buying a car seat and stroller separately
- Can be difficult to transfer baby
Here’s a recommended travel system that comes with a carrycot, stroller and a car seat. The UPPAbaby VISTA Travel System
How many strollers do you need?
It’s important that parents make sure that they have a stroller that will perfectly meet their needs at the time that they use it. Unfortunately, this can mean buying multiple strollers because each one has its own pros and cons depending on your circumstances.
Since there is no hard and fast answer to this question, parents have to determine what kind of use they need from their stroller. Parents who are athletic will need a regular stroller for traveling with baby in stores, as well as a jogging stroller so they can get out and exercise.
It is very common for parents to also invest in an umbrella stroller, no matter what type they use for their main travel. This is because these light strollers can be folded into a small size and taken on the road, which makes them great for car trips as well as short walks around the park.
When should you buy a stroller?
While you can buy a stroller as soon as you find out that you (or your partner) is pregnant, many parents put off buying one until they find out what they really need. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally overspend, and give you time to research things in more detail.
Overall, it probably makes sense to purchase one around 2 months before the due date, but I wouldn’t do it much later. You’ll have lots of other things to think about as you approach the due date!
Just make sure you have a stroller from day 1 once your baby is on the scene.
What strollers should you use for different ages?
Children of different ages will require different strollers. Up to 6 months old, a parent needs to be mostly concerned with how to keep their baby safe and free from bouncing and being moved around too much. Travel system strollers, some double strollers, and car seat carriers that will fit your infant seat are the best option at this age.
When your baby starts sitting upright and has more head control, then you can opt for a different seat that has more cushioning and support. Up until your child is around a year old, using a standard stroller or double stroller is a good idea. Many parents continue to use their travel system stroller at this point, as well.
As children become more independent, curious and have more control over their head and body, you can opt for strollers that don’t have as much support. Jogging strollers and umbrella strollers can now be used.
Umbrella strollers are especially great for busy toddlers who want to have the option to walk around but still need to ride from time to time.
What’s the difference between a pram and a stroller?
“Pram” is simply short for “perambulator,”. They have flat bottoms that are very soft and allow babies to sleep lying down while they are being pushed around on a walk. Strollers, on the other hand, are chairs that allow a child to sit upright.
Prams generally have large wheels that are durable and designed for easy movement. In addition, prams often have a wide canopy that can be easily pulled down over the carriage so that the sleeping infant is covered and protected from hot sun. This canopy can also keep dust from landing on the infant.
Strollers are much better suited for older children who want to be able to look around at their surroundings when they’re on a walk.
In addition, they have a safety restraint system to keep the child from getting out or falling out. While they also come with hoods to protect the child, they often have additional features, such as cup holders and ergonomic handles.
Is a baby carrier or a stroller more essential?
While it all comes down to personal preference, there are some instances when a stroller or a baby carrier has a distinct advantage over the other.
Strollers are great for parents who want to take their child on the go, and they allow the child to see out around them. While they are bigger and bulkier than baby carriers, they often have storage space for necessary items, which makes it easy to travel without having to physically carry a diaper bag.
Many parents choose baby carriers because it allows them to feel close to their baby while feeling they have a lot of control over them. Babies held in carriers can have direct eye contact with the parent and will often receive more visual stimulation. An added benefit for mothers is that it is often easy to nurse a baby who is in a carrier without having to stop and sit down.
Why are some strollers so expensive?
While it is true that some strollers are made from higher quality materials, there are also some that are simply more expensive because of some extra features that aren’t really essential for many families.
Some features that will instantly raise the price of a stroller include extra seat padding, shock absorbing wheels, larger basket space, ergonomic or adjustable handles, and cup holders.
If you are interested in these features and think that they will add to your enjoyment pushing your child, then you need to be prepared to pay a little more.
Are there any strollers where toddlers can stand?
Not all strollers offer places where toddlers can stand, but ones that do are called “sit and stand” strollers.
These strollers are designed for parents who have 2 young children but who aren’t close enough in age to be seated in a double stroller.
The great thing about this type of stroller is that the older child can sit on the flat surface facing towards the parent or has the option to stand and face forward. This helps prevent children from getting bored on their trip.
Rather than making the older child ride all of the time, which can lead to a grumpy kid, or making them walk, which can cause them to be exhausted, a sit and stand stroller allows them to have the best of both worlds and choose whether they want to ride or walk.
What are the most popular stroller manufacturers?
Check out this chart (click to enlarge) which shows the most popular stroller brands based on monthly search volume online. Graco comes up top, with BOB a close second.
What age can a baby go in a stroller?
It’s usually around 6 months. This is because newborn babies need to lie on their backs because they can’t support their heads yet. As strollers can’t recline fully, you’ll need to use a pram or carry cot until they can sit up properly.
It’s also around this time that you can put your baby in a stroller without a car seat.
Is it bad luck to buy a pram before birth?
This seems to be an old wives’ tale which has passed down through the generations. It’s more to do with tempting fate, which many superstitious people can apply to all walks of life.
So there you have it.
In the end, my wife and I chose the Silver Cross Wayfarer for our stroller.
It’s a travel system stroller, which was ideal for the first 6 months when Mia needed to be placed in the carrycot, and it was really useful for using with the car seat.
The storage underneath could have been better, and it did take up a bit of space in our hallway, even when folded.
But overall, I think for modern day living, a travel system stroller is a must.
It makes much more sense to buy one of these, than a car seat carrier type stroller, which is far less versatile. Not to mention you shouldn’t keep your infant in a car seat for significant periods of time
Just make sure you pick a travel system with longevity in mind.
Will you use it as forward facing stroller once your baby is bigger?
We started to, but in the end we purchased a regular stroller the MacClaren Quest (see image below) for everyday use. This does the job fine, it’s easy to maneuver and it folds and unfolds easily.
Furthermore, as we’ve travelled a bit in the past couple of years, on holiday and visiting relatives, we purchased the BabyZen Yoyo.
This has been a superb purchase, and if you travel a lot on public transport, or if you plan on flying anywhere, I’d definitely consider buying one.
So there you have it..
…my ultimate guide on choosing a stroller.
So what stroller did you buy?
Would you recommend it?
Please leave any comments below.
Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a “little noise” about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.