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Being new parents can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. Among other struggles, picking the right baby gear among the multiple options available can prove to be a real challenge. A newborn pram is one such accessory that you will extensively use, but there are quite some options that leave you confused.
Before heading out to buy a stroller, it is wise to understand your requirements based on your lifestyle and area where you will be using your stroller. Your child will be spending a considerable amount of time in that stroller. Hence, the safety and comfort of the child must be of prime importance. If you do not research well before investing in a good stroller based on your needs, you might have to buy more than one for the changing needs of your child as he/she grows. Remember that a baby stroller is an expensive investment.
This 'stroller shopping' can be made easier if we keep a few things in mind.
- Budget: First, you must define a budget. That will narrow down your options to a great extent. Keep in mind that quality may not be directly proportional to the cost. A very inexpensive baby stroller might wear out soon or will not fulfil all your needs thereby making it non-functional in future.
- Safety is a priority: Check if the stroller has a five-point or a three-point safety harness. A five-point will be better if you need to steer on rugged roads. Also, look for the snaps to check if they are secure and easy to buckle. Remember, they shouldn't be too easy for the children to unbuckle themselves. It is important to check how effective the brakes are. The stroller must not trip upon sudden braking.
- Stroller weight: The weight of the stroller is another important consideration as moving around a very heavy stroller can be really inconvenient. The inconvenience increases when you need to climb stairways frequently or if you use subways and public transport. A very lightweight stroller may also feel flimsy. So pick a sturdy yet light model that enables you to move around easily without compromising the safety of the child. The stroller should be able to able to carry the weight of the child without bouncing.
- Handlebar height: Another important aspect to pay attention to is the height of the handlebar. If there is a considerable height difference between the caregivers, an adjustable handlebar is a preferred feature.
- Ease of folding: You will have to fold and unfold the stroller multiple times. You must, therefore, look for a model which can be easily folded with one hand as you may be carrying your baby in the other at that time.
- Storage space: A pocket under the seat of the stroller can also come handy to keep diapers, grocery and any other things you might have to pick while strolling your baby around the city. You may also be interested in a cup holder or a snack tray on the handlebar to carry water or milk or food for the baby. While a little extra storage space is useful, do not overload it to avoid tripping
- The positioning of rear wheels: The rear wheels should be well placed to not obstruct your way as you walk behind the stroller.
- Durability and term of use: Take into consideration, your present as well as future needs from the stroller. If you do not wish to buy a new stroller as the baby grows, buy a stroller that will last up to toddlerhood.
- Width: While choosing a stroller from the plethora of options available, focus on the width of the stroller. Make sure it is less than the width of the front door, in order to allow easy movement through the door
- Reviews: Look out from first-hand recommendations from friends, family and parenting forums.
- Ease of cleaning: Look for a stroller with removable seat cushions or liners that can be removed and washed easily.
- Additional accessories: Other important additional features in the stroller can be a rain guard, a mosquito net or a sun shade. These add on facilities will go a long way in making your stroller more comfortable for your child.
- Compatibility with your car: If you use a car, look beforehand of the stroller can easily fit in when you want to fold it and take around.
- Consider a travel system: A stroller with a car seat can be really useful as you can transfer your sleeping baby from the stroller to the car without having to wake them up.
- Terrain: Think about the terrain you will be strolling over. If you are going to majorly use your stroller for a trip to the mall or the park, smaller wheels may be okay but if the terrain you will be moving your stroller on is uneven, you must look for bigger tyres with good suspension so that your baby doesn't feel the jerks.
- Travel: Extensive travellers require lightweight umbrella strollers that can easily be taken from one place to another and are easy to fold and carry.
- Number of babies: It is a no-brainer that twins will need to be carried around in a double stroller, however, if you have two kids, apart only by a small difference, double strollers are the right choice.
- Preowned stroller: Before accepting a hand-me-down or picking one up from the thrift store, assess the condition. Look if the wheels are properly aligned and if it is easy to stroll around. Also, look out for any cracks or dents on the frame and test the brakes for functioning.
- Unnecessary gaps, grooves and hooks: Check for any nasty hooks or grooves that may be a potential hazard of injury to your child.
It is a good idea to assess all your options before you plunge into a decision. It may seem good to buy the most beautiful print, but a stroller is a lot more than just the physical appeal. Once you buy the stroller online, examine it properly and return if any of your criteria are not met. It is also a good idea to try at a store first. Enlist the pros and cons of the stroller and weigh them against your requirements before making a decision.