Guide to baby strollers
Your baby stroller is going to be one of the most important purchases you make for your new arrival. You will depend on it to get you out and about with relative ease for both you and your baby. Catalogs are a good guide, but it is always best to test drive the strollers in the store to see what appeals to you.
Consider these points before buying your stroller:
- Safety: Your baby's safety is your main concern. Check to see that the seat belt buckles are secure and easy for you to lock and unlock. Ensure that the belt fits snugly around your baby's waist and has a crotch strap that would prevent baby from slipping out.
- Height, handles, braking and wheels: Check that its height is comfortable for you. Some strollers are available with adjustable handles. These will appeal to taller parents. Assess your grip on the handles. The stroller should be comfortable to use. Test the brakes thoroughly, ensuring that they lock firmly when applied. Maneuver the stroller to get a feel of the ease with which you can turn. Swiveling wheels are usually preferred.
- Seat, canopy and storage: Adjustable seats that recline backwards are preferable for infants because they are unable to sit up on their own. It is also a plus for babies when they want to sleep as you move about. Check the fabric on the seat. Most strollers have washable seats that can be easily removed when in need of cleaning. Canopies on the stroller are an added convenience that will protect your baby from either the rain or the sun. Check out the storage area of the stroller. Different strollers have different storage capacities. See what applies to your needs.
- Open-and-close mechanism: Try closing and opening the stroller to see how easy it is to do so. Also, you will be able to assess the space you will need to store the stroller when it is folded away, either in your car or in a closet at home.
- Weight: Lightweight strollers are economical, convenient and easy to lug around - great for those trips to the mall or zoo - but remember these are not applicable for infants. The heavier and larger strollers often have more room, bigger and easy-to-maneuver wheels and larger storage space. They do, however, take up more storage space, are heavier to lift and are sometimes difficult to use in crowded places.
- Number of children: If you are expecting more than one child or have other children, consider the strollers available with multiple seats. Consider the reclining mechanism in the seats. Depending on the age of the children, you may or may not need all seats to recline.
- Your lifestyle: If you expect to be taking your baby along with you as you jog, there are stroller models available for joggers. Be aware, though, that these are not recommended for infants under 6 months.