Having a new baby can be a walk in the park — with the right stroller, of course.
The right stroller for you depends on many factors, like when you plan to use it and your child’s age, according to the editors of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, an A-to-Z guide to everything parents need for their babies. For many people, a fully featured combo stroller is the best all-around choice and offers the best value. But if you plan to jog or travel with your baby, you may find that your needs are best met by more than one stroller.
CR recommends spending some time taking practice runs with various models at baby stores. CR’s Best Buys for single strollers include the Graco Quattro Tour Sport ($170), the UPPAbaby G-Lite ($100), and the Evenflo Journey Elite ($70). In the Single Car Seat Carrier category, the Baby Trend Snap N Go ($55) is a CR Best Buy; in the Double Side-by-Side category, CR Best Buys include the Chicco C5 Twin ($200) and the Combi Twin Sport ($200).
Types of strollers
For Babies Younger Than 6 Months. Because newborns can’t sit up without support, they can’t ride in a standard stroller — that is, one that doesn’t fully recline. There are several basic choices for this age group. Car seat carrier frames have no seat of their own. Instead, you attach an infant car seat for strolling. Combo strollers are a combination carriage and stroller. Before your baby can sit up, you can use the stroller’s bassinet or “carry cot.” After that, use the stroller seat attachment to wheel your baby around. Travel systems combine a stroller and an infant car seat. Carriages/prams provide sleeping space for infants.
Multiseat Strollers — Infants to Toddlers. Similar to other strollers, multiseat strollers give you a relatively efficient means of taking twins, triplets, or young siblings of different ages for a ride. Tandem models have one seat directly behind the other and are the same width as single-passenger strollers. Side-by-side models have two seats attached to a single frame or a unit resembling two strollers bolted together.
Down the Road — For Babies Older than 6 Months. Umbrella strollers, named for their curved, umbrella-like handles, usually weigh less than 12 pounds. Traditional strollers run the gamut from lightweight strollers to heavy-duty models that weight 17 to 35 pounds. All-terrain strollers let you push your child on a variety of surfaces, from mall floors to pavement and off-road, while jogging strollers let you push your child while you run or jog.
Features to consider
— Restraint system. Get a stroller with a sturdy safety belt and crotch strap.
— Wheels. Most strollers have double wheels on the front that swivel to make steering easier.
— Leg holes. Fully reclining carriages and strollers must have leg holes that close so an infant can’t slip through.
— Brakes. Check for a good parking brake that’s convenient to operate and locks one or two wheels.
— Canopy. A canopy is a must-have for protecting your baby, especially in glaring sunlight or inclement weather.
— One-handed opening/folding mechanism. This is essential for when you need to open or fold the stroller with one hand.
— Play tray. Strollers may have a tray where babies can play with toys, keep snacks, or rest their hands.
— Footrest. A footrest can help a child sit more comfortably without legs dangling..
— Shock absorbers. Air-filled tires or shock absorbers can help give baby a smoother ride.
— Fabric and upholstery. You’ll want to be able to sponge off spills and launder the upholstery without worrying about shrinking, fading, or puckering.
— Reflectors or reflective trim on fabric. If your stroller doesn’t have this important safety feature, wear light-colored or reflective clothing so you can be seen on cloudy days.
— Large shopping basket. Choose one that’s at least big enough to accommodate a diaper bag.
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Filed Under: Consumer Reports