Walk the Line: Buying Guide to Baby Strollers

A baby stroller is one of the most important purchases parents will make in the baby’s first year of life. Like us, baby needs a place to sleep, and a safe and convenient way to get around. A parent has many options when purchasing a stroller. Find out if a stroller system is best for you, and when you need a midsize or a lightweight stroller.

There are many factors to consider when buying any size baby stroller or baby stroller system. They include:

Price-Expect to pay about $200 for a basic travel system or high-end stroller. This makes a great gift item for your registry, especially if family and friends are going to chip in to buy it. There are some strollers out there that are costly due to a designer name. The features of those strollers are the same as any other stroller. It’s not worth an extra hundred dollars for a fancy label.

Brand – Brand names are more important to some parents than others. All strollers must meet the same safety ratings, so a “brand name” does not always mean a safer or better ride. Some popular stoller brands include Graco, Evenflo and Cosco.

Use-Will your stroller be used for long walks? Short trips that involve the car? Or do you need a jogging stroller?

Portability-Some strollers are more portable and foldable than others. If space is not an issue in your home or your vehicle then portability and storage ability will not factor much into your purchase.

Safety– Five-point harnass is customary. Strollers may also include an infant head rest, which may also be purchased separately if the stroller you want does not have one. Wheel breaks should also be included and be easy to lock an unlock with your foot.

Maneuverability-How well does the stroller move around? Is it easy to get on and off a curb or travel over sand or gravel? Does the stroller move smoothly?

Special Features-All strollers come with small conveniences for parents. Some features that may appeal to you are a canopy with windows, a cupholder, infant head support, storage basket, multi-position recline for comfort and support, and seat comaptibility.

Color or Pattern-Although it is one of the least important factors to consider when buying a stroller, corlor or pattern is the one you may think about most. A solid color or a simple pattern, it’s all secondary to the features mentioned above.

Which type is best for you and your baby?

For many new parents, a stroller Travel System is the best option. Prices for the travel systems range from $129-$399, with an average price of about $200. With a travel system comes a large stroller, an infant seat which snaps into the stroller and one or two car seat bases. For parents who use more than one vehicle it is very convenient to have two car seat bases, one for each vehicle. Having an infant seat that snaps into the stroller makes it much easier to move your baby without disturbing his sleep. Many strollers that come as part of a travel system have large canopies for protecting baby from the elements. Be aware that at some point your baby will outgrow the infant seat and you will only be able to use the stroller itself.

There are also some variations in the stroller travels systems such as compact, full-sized, double and activity travel systems.

Some of the best-loved travel systems are made by Graco and include the Graco MetroLite Travel System with its lightweight aluminum stroller. The seat reclines into different positions including a flat one for and infants. For convenience, there is a one-hand fold mechanism simplifying storage. Another nice feature is that both the snack tray and the parent’s tray come with cup-holders.

One of Graco’s newest stroller, also available as a travel system, is the Graco Mosaic, a compact stroller with many full-size stroller features. This compact stroller is comatible with infant car seats and includes all the extras: compact fold, multiple and reclining positions, cup holders, a rain cover, a windowed canopy, a detachable head pillow, and a large storage basket.

If a Travel System is more than you need, consider a Full-Size Stroller. Some of these strollers have an extended weight limit, up to 50 pounds, rather than the normal 40. One such stroller is Graco’s Quattro Tour(TM) Deluxe Stroller.

For parents with two or three children needing to be in a stroller there are double strollers. Choose either a side-by-side version or the stroller where one child sits directly in front of the other. A popular double stroller is Graco’s DuoGlider which comes in a number of different models. An interesting pick for the infant/toddler family is Baby Trend’s Sit N Stand Deluxe Stroller.

Compact Strollers are the best pick for maximum portability. They are lightweight, foldable and easy to move in and out of any size vehicle. One of the most fun and afforble compact stroller is the Jeep Wrangler All-Weather Umbrella Stroller.

For active parents who want baby along, a jogging stroller is a great option. These strollers tend to be pricier than your average stroller. They come as single or double. One of the most important features to consider on a jogging stroller is weight capacity, the average being 100 pounds. Some strollers only hold 88 pounds while others can hold up to 120 pounds. Other features to consider are the weight of the stroller (before the kids are in), which can range from about 26-35 pounds. Wheel options include swivel or fixed, affecting maneuverability.

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