Shopping for a Stroller: 4 Questions to Ask

A stroller is a big purchase not only because of the cost, but because it needs to be safe and durable for your child, and perhaps subsequent children, to use for many years. While strollers should make life easier and safer and eliminate the physical strain of carrying a young child, the wrong stroller can end up being such a hassle that you don’t even want to use it. Before buying your first, or next, stroller consider the following questions:

What’s Your Budget?

We all wish the sky was the limit when it comes to providing the essentials for our children, but the truth is most new parents must be mindful of their budget. Of course you don’t want to skimp on safety features, but deciding on your budget first will help you steer clear of strollers with fancy extras or costly designer labels that really don’t affect their function.

Is It Safe?

The three main safety features to check are the stroller’s stability, its harness and its brakes. Throw a full diaper bag, shopping bag and purse over the handles and walk it around the store before test driving a stroller with your baby in it. If a stroller doesn’t stay upright during an easy trial like this, chances are it won’t be stable enough for daily use. The safest type of harness for infants and babies is a five-point harness. A three-point harness is fine for toddlers and small children. Run your hands all over the stroller looking for sharp corners or places where little fingers might get pinched. Foot-operated rear brakes are ideal and provide the parent full control without stooping.

Does it Fit Your Lifestyle?

Families who frequently ride public transportation need a different type of stroller than parents who take their baby jogging with them every day. Be realistic about your needs. If an all-terrain stroller really is the best fit for your lifestyle, buying a lightweight stroller to save money will only be a disappointment, and you’ll probably end up buying two strollers in the long run. Consider how often you’ll fold up the stroller to get it in and out of your car, how much space is in your home or car to store the stroller and whether or not you have to haul it up a flight of stairs every day. Which type of stroller is best for you ultimately depends on day-to-day use.

Is It Functional?

If either parent has to stoop at an uncomfortable level to push it, the stroller is not functional. Strollers with adjustable handles, seats that recline for napping and storage nets are the most versatile. Cup holders and built-in busy toys are nice features, but a sunshade provides both safety and comfort.

Typically a walk around the store will help you determine if the stroller pushes smoothly, is stable and maneuvers easily. Try the fold-down features, snap the harnesses and test every aspect of the floor model before making a final decision. After all, if a stroller can’t hold up to 15 minutes of your poking and prodding, it will never endure years of real-life use. You may have your heart set on a certain design or brand, but that can change if you take the time to answer these questions honestly.

Holly is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other reputable brands. She enjoys running in marathons, doing yoga, watching horror movies and baking healthy treats for her kids.

Image Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stroller%26baby,japan.JPG

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