Staying mobile and on the move with a baby can be a big challenge. The best way to keep it going when your baby arrives is with a good stroller. The right stroller can make a trip to the grocery store or park a lot easier. It can even open up new possibilities like a morning jog or an evening run.
Some strollers are designed for newborns and have extended safety features while others are designed for siblings or twins and offer unique seating arrangements. Ultimately the right stroller for you depends on the types of situations you imagine being in with your baby.
Stacy Jackson of www.bestbabystroller.com notes that, “The perfect stroller for a day on public transportation is not the same perfect stroller for a day at a park or campground. Think about how you plan to use your stroller and then read reviews about the best strollers to find what works for you.”
There are five main types of strollers for parents to consider buying: full size, umbrella, jogger, travel system, and double stroller. Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages to consider. The strollers can also vary significantly in price, so shop carefully and remember that while you often get what you pay for, that doesn’t mean it is necessary to buy the most expensive one.
The simplest and most convenient type of stroller to use with your child is a lightweight or umbrella stroller. Umbrella strollers are designed for portability and they typically weigh about half of what a regular stroller weighs.
Opening and closing an umbrella stroller is also usually a lot easier because they do not need complicated folding mechanisms. A tradeoff with umbrella strollers is that because of their size they typically do not offer a full feature set of convenient add ons that most strollers have like cup holders, reclining seats, and storage compartments.
Parents that are using the stroller to navigate around a city or department store appreciate that the small profile of the lightweight strollers make them easy to maneuver around tight corners or crowded sidewalks. The umbrella strollers are also great for getting on and off public transportation because they are smaller and lighter weight.
Remember however that since the umbrella stroller typically has smaller tires and no suspension it delivers a bit bumpier ride to your baby. Also always remember that a child cannot safely ride in an umbrella stroller until they are at least 6 months old because as newborns they can slump over dangerously in the seat.
Since newborns cannot ride in an umbrella stroller or the like until they are at least six months old, their first few months of life are often spent in a travel system. Travel systems are combination car seats and strollers that work together to give parents an easy way to take a sleeping baby out of the car and put them into a stroller without waking them up. Travel systems are designed to work as seamless systems that safely transport babies and move them around from a four wheel stroller to a four wheel vehicle with just a click.
Since the travel systems are designed to work with newborn babies they offer a safe and snug seating position. They also offer increased comfort and extended safety features to protect little ones as they travel. A downside of travel systems is that since babies grow so quickly they often are only useful for a few months or the first year of your child’s life.
After that the stroller has to be replaced with a new one. The other downside of travel systems is that often the stroller is designed to be more portable than comfortable and as a result the ride can be bumpy for parents and children.
Jogging strollers, or joggers, are made for parents on the go who want to be able to bring their child along with them on a morning run or evening stroll through the neighborhood. The best jogging strollers are designed to not only keep your child comfortable on the ride but also give the parent pushing an easy time starting, stopping and steering the stroller.
The strollers are designed with three wheels instead of four for greater mobility. A jogging stroller will also have larger tires than a regular stroller and more often the tires are pneumatic or air filled. The bigger tires help the stroller roll smoothly down the road and overcome any obstacles in the path. Many premium jogging strollers also offer some type of shocks or suspension system so that bumps in the road can get absorbed before they jar your little one and interrupt your stride.
It can sometimes be difficult to not feel cooped up inside the house when a new baby arrives and starts dictating everyone’s schedule. A good jogging stroller is like a gym membership in that it lets the parent and child get out and exercise while still being together. The run or jog gives your child a great big breath of fresh air along with an entire new perspective of the neighborhood or running trail.
Parents of twins or children close in age are often forced to consider shopping for a double stroller. These strollers are designed to carry two young children at the same time in either a side-by-side or a tandem seating orientation.
Both designs have distinct advantages and disadvantages so choosing between them is often determined by how close in age the children are and how old they are. A double stroller can become like a home base or a second home for kids as you park it at the playground and they come and go. One child can sleep in the stroller while the other plays or vice versa.
The bad news with double strollers is that they are heavy with some of them weighing close to 40 lbs. Also the design of them requires the stroller to either be exceptionally long or exceptionally wide and more often than not sort of both.
Moving them in or out of your car trunk is difficult, as is maneuvering them through stores or doorways or elevators. Still, parents get double strollers because they offer a chance for your children to be together and all in one place. Plus there is only one stroller to push so the other parent can be a bit more free. The other good thing about a double stroller is that they offer a lot of storage space in, around, and underneath their massive footprint.
Tandem strollers have one child sit in front of the stroller and one in the back. Sometimes the rear seat is more of just a jump seat or even a standing board instead of a proper seat with a comfortable seat back. Usually the tandem stroller is a good option when the kids have an age gap and an older kid can ‘tag along’ on the ride while the younger child gets most of the space and features of the stroller focused on them. Often the child in the back seat is sacrificing some or all of their view in exchange for a place to sit.
Side-by-side strollers are a blast for kids of the same age because they can see each other and have a shared view of the world around them. These strollers let the kids engage and talk with each other while also being a bit easier to navigate around street festivals or sidewalks. The problem with these strollers is narrow passageways like doorways where the tight fit can have parents scraping their knuckles on the walls and door frame.
Full Size Strollers
Full size strollers are the most fully featured strollers with a number of accessories and adornments all designed to keep your child happy and comfortable as you push them around town. The best full size strollers offer a comfortable ride to your child by providing padded seat backs and plush material.
The strollers also typically have good tires for running over bumps in the road while still being maneuverable enough to deftly move through the grocery store. These strollers also have room to provide extended storage space to parents so that they can stow grocery bags, car keys, and cell phones. The canopy on these strollers is also often oversized so that a sleeping baby can rest without being disturbed or that a small rain shower doesn’t ruin anyone’s day.
Take some time to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each stroller type before purchasing a stroller for your child. Also think about how, when, and where you plan to use your stroller so that you can be sure your investment pays off. There is a lot of baby gear to buy when a baby arrives and the stroller is one of the most important items.