How to Choose a Stroller
- August 10, 2021
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hi mamas and papas! Melissa here. Today I want to shed some light on the bewildering world of strollers for you. If you’re a new parent, then you know that you need now or will need soon a stroller so that your baby can more easily accompany you on your activities, whether that’s a shopping trip in Manhattan, a walk around your suburban neighborhood, or a stroll on the beach. But you’re probably paralyzed by the vast array of choices and options–I know, I remember the feeling! This guide will give you the lay of the land.
How Much Does a Stroller Cost?
A stroller will be one of the largest purchases you make for your new baby. You can find a lightweight and no-frills single stroller for around $50. If you want to accommodate two babies or ride your stroller on more rugged terrain, you’ll be looking at something in the range of $150-300. Finally, if you’re in the market for something especially fancy, you can find high-end strollers costing over $1,500! Whew, there’s certainly a stroller for every budget.
How Much Should You Spend on a Stroller?
Now that you’ve got a picture of the range of prices, it’s a good idea to decide what your budget for a stroller is. Having a figure in your head will help you to navigate the options presented in this guide. But for most needs and wants, I expect you wouldn’t have to go over $400.
Here’s something to keep in mind, though. If you’re planning to have more than one kid, you can “amortize” the cost of your stroller over several kids! I got a Bugaboo Frog for my first baby, and went on to use it for four more! Also, depending on the stroller you choose, it may be able to support your baby for a couple of years. So a good stroller can be a long-term investment.
When Can Baby Sit in Stroller?
Your baby needs to have developed the ability to sit up on their own before you can put them in a typical stroller. According to the Mayo Clinic, your baby will reach that milestone some time around the age of six months.
In the meantime, however, there are some options for you. When shopping for a stroller, the description might indicate that it is “newborn-ready” or something similar, meaning that the stroller can recline. If the stroller is reclinable, then it can support babies who aren’t yet able to support their heads on their own. Other strollers can be used with a bassinet attachment or an infant-only car seat.
Which Stroller Is Right for Me?
Besides the said factor of cost, you will also want to take into consideration your family’s lifestyle as well as the number of kids you have or expect to have. If you live in the city as I do, then you will use your stroller so much that it’ll become like an extension of your body. But if you live in the suburbs or the country, then you probably use a car much more often and hence only have more occasional need for a stroller. The more you intend to use a stroller and the more rough terrain you will use it on (going in and out of the metro vs. going for leisurely walks around the neighborhood), the more important it is that it be robustly made.
The third major factor is family size. If one child is all you’re going for, then you’ll need only a single stroller. Or perhaps you intend to wait a couple years before thinking of another kid. In that case, too, a single stroller is just fine. But if you think you’ll be having another kid in the next three years, then consider either a double stroller or one that can be converted into a double. Here are the types of stroller you have to choose from:
All-purpose strollers are also known as full-size strollers. These are the vanilla flavor of strollers. They typically come equipped with ample storage for your baby gear and other accessories, but they are a bit on the heavy side for that reason. They are most useful for everyday activities like shopping for groceries or taking a stroll through the neighborhood.
Lightweight strollers are also nicknamed umbrella strollers because they fold up like umbrellas. They are also very light, maximizing portability. Of course, that portability comes at the price of being less durable and offering fewer features like storage. Still, they are handy for urban parents like me, since it’s easy to move them in and out of public transportation and carry them around town.
Travel systems are strollers with detachable infant car seats. Their purpose is to enable an easy transition between the car and the stroller, for the least disruption to your little one. They’re an economical choice, since you often get both a stroller and a car seat in a package deal! However, it is also possible to mix and match strollers and car seats from different brands, in which case you should be mindful of compatibility. Clearly, these are especially handy for suburban families that make regular use of cars.
As the name implies, double strollers let you sit two children in the same stroller. In most cases, they take one of two configurations: either side-by-side or facing in opposite directions. Having had six kids, I have always recommended the side-by-side double strollers, because I find that the kids love the company.
Convertible strollers are strollers with multiple seating configurations, so that you can convert them from a single to a double and vice versa. Sometimes, they even can support three kids. I would say that the choice between a simple double stroller and a convertible comes down to the age gap that you expect among your kids. If they will be very close in age, or even twins, then a double stroller is a better choice for you. But if there will be a little more time between them, making for long periods of needing a stroller for only one kid, then a convertible will suit you better.
Athletic parents will appreciate jogging strollers for bringing their kids on their runs. They offer better stability and shock absorption than standard strollers, so that your babies can ride along in comfort while you get sweaty. Be sure to use the strap, so that they don’t go zooming away from you!