How to pick the perfect stroller… a guideline for parents

Unbenannt-1_03Choosing the perfect stroller for you and your little one is not an easy task. In fact, I remember that when we became parents, we had more than one lengthy discussion about the topic! There’s just too much choice on the market and what works for some parents doesn’t work for others. There is no perfect use-for-all stroller, but it depends very much on your personal situation. I tried to ease the decision by putting down the following questions which you can ask to yourself in order to narrow the choice:

Do you plan to use it mainly on the countryside or in the city?

This is maybe the factor that nails it down for most parents. If you are living in the countryside and you want to take baby for strolls over more rough terrain (I’m not talking about hiking trails, but anything that is not a paved footpath), then you have to look out for a model with some suspension and larger wheels to make the ride more comfortable for your baby. If you live in the city and plan to use the stroller there, collapsible and lightweight is all you want to go for, especially if you are taking the stroller on taxis and buses where it needs to be folded.

Also consider that if you have to use it in colder temperatures or on snowy terrain, you need wheels with some traction and a warm footmuff to add. For a hot and humid climate like Singapore, an extendable canopy made from breathable fabric (such as in the newer Maclaren models or available from Bugaboo as an extra accessory) is a good thing to have.

However, there are some other factors to consider as well:

Are you planning to have a second child soon?

If so, you may want to look for a model where you can easily attach a second seat or an extra car seat, such as the Bugaboo Donkey (a tandem model) or the City Select (a side-by-side model). If you’re planning for more time in-between, a buggy board may do for your older child when he or she gets tired or you can babywear the newborn while the older one still uses the stroller. Hence again, you have to consider that if you’re living in the city, a double pram with the seats side-by-side can be quite cumbersome to use as for example supermarket aisles are often narrow and difficult to navigate.

Do you have to attach a car seat to it?

If you’re riding taxis often or do want to stroll around with the car seat, consider a model that has the possibilty to attach the necessary adapters. It’s also convenient as you don’t have to wake up the baby who who just dozed off in the car. But bear in mind that kids should not stay in the car seat for too long, especially the younger ones as the seating position is not ideal for them for several reasons. Furthermore, after the first year you’ll move to a toddler carseat which sadly cannot be attached to almost any base whatsoever. Which brings me to the next point:

Do you plan to use a bassinet for your younger baby?

A bassinet with a completely flat position is preferred from an ergonomic point of view for the younger babies and not all brands have it as an additional accessory. Bear in mind however that it makes the stroller quite bulky and most kids prefer a more upright position from a certain age on, where they can see more. If you live in the city, a stroller with an almost flat-lay position might be just fine, or try babywearing more often. Just consider that baby needs to be strapped in safely or you have to use specific equipment to make it safe for a newborn, such as the Maclaren Carrycot.

Do you plan to use it for daily grocery shopping?

This is something that I have completely neglected when buying my first stroller, a Bugaboo Frog, that has a ridiculously small basket (it got better with the newer version, the Cameleon). This really frustrated me afterwards. If you have grocery shops around the corner, you can combine taking baby out for a stroll whilst doing your daily shopping and leave the car at home (especially if you are new parents, being able to do multiple things at a time is… just great!). A good combination between foldable with a bigger shopping basket are the newer versions of the Bugaboo Bee.

Do you plan to use it while jogging or inline skating?

Jogging stroller feature three larger bicycle wheels that keep it running straight and smooth, also over more rough terrain. Do your research if you want to use it while doing sports, as for newborns you might have to purchase specific safety equipment.

In summary…

… most parents that I know have bought one or more strollers and are alternating between different models and babywearing. By the way, if you want to keep it easy on your wallet (all that stuff adds up quickly!), you can rely on the vast market for preloved prams and strollers. I bought both my prams second-hand and am now very happy with the decision, as we moved countries with a 6 months old and what works perfectly in Europe (think wide footpaths, no need to fold strollers on public buses, long walks on the countryside) does absolutely not work in Asian megacities!

Do you have anything to add? What makes your stroller perfect or less so for you?

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