You should be extremely picky about choosing the right stroller for your child. First, you want a stroller that matches your lifestyle; if you socialise a lot or move around a lot with your child you would probably prefer a lightweight stroller which will easily fit into the car’s dicky. If you do a lot of walking you would probably prefer a stroller with larger wheels, making pushing the stroller considerably easier. If you want a stroller which will last from infancy through the toddler years, you will more interested in a convertible stroller which can serve as a carriage for the infant but will later accommodate toddlers facing forward.
The difference between pram and stroller
A pram is for an infant and generally only when the baby is lying down. The fully reclining type is suitable right from birth. Prams are also available which can be converted to accommodate a sitting child. The back folds up to make a seat for the child. Always test the mechanism two-three times at the shop. Also check that there is a locking device.
A stroller is primarily meant for a sitting child. Some models do have the facility of converting to a reclining model but because of its curved back it is not considered suitable for infants who haven’t started sitting. A stroller is much lighter and much more compact than a pram. It is easier to carry around.
You must decide what type you want.
What to look for in a stroller
- Brand – With leading brands you are assured of a level of quality. With local brands you need to be careful. Do a thorough check – this is not to say that they are not of good quality. A good brand is a must which will ensure child-safety features.
- Age limitations – For what age group are you buying the stroller. If you are buying it for a newborn than you need a model with extra head support and protection. If you are planning on using the stroller only once the baby starts holding his head than you don’t have to look for extra head support. Or if you want something that can be used as an infant grows into a toddler look for something that covers the requirements of both age groups.
- Weight – Is it light enough for you to carry up stairs if necessary. This is especially very important for mothers living in flats. Try lifting the stroller yourself to test for the weight.
- Strength – Is it strong enough to take all kinds of treatment, like banging against stairs to being dumped in the car boot? Unfortunately, a strong pram usually means a heavy one, so this is a choice you have to make.
- Size – Will it fold up small enough to fit into the car boot? Is it big enough to carry your baby till he is a toddler (if you want to use it till then)?
- Pushing – Does it move well? Do you have to stoop to push it? This is very important as if the stroller is not made well it will require too much effort on your part to be pushed, as a result you will be reluctant to use the stroller when going out.
- Carrying – Can you carry it with one hand or does it bang into your legs all the time? Is the design compact enough for you to carry it?
- Wheels – Do they swivel or only go straight. Swivel wheels are great when it comes to maneuvering. If they swivel can they be locked into a straight position. This is essential if you ever have to push it over rough ground or sand.
- Brakes – How good are they? Do both the wheels lock or only one wheel locks? The efficiency of the brakes is one of the most important thing to take into consideration when buying a pram or stroller.
- Handles – Are the handles at the right height for you to push the stroller comfortably? No point buying one that will strain your back.
- Canopy – A canopy protects the child from sun and weather conditions. An adjustable canopy will at least retract fully or may have an additional two or three positions, while some simply remain in place.
- Harness Type – Like high chairs, strollers have harnesses to keep babies and children safe and to keep them from squirming or wriggling out of their seat. Try it out – is it secure enough.
- Reclines – how much does the seat recline? Some strollers have seats that will recline just a little bit, so the child can lay back and doze, or a seat may fully recline so kids can really stretch out and sleep.
- Storage Compartments – Storage compartments on strollers are very helpful in keeping all sorts of packages or baby supplies that you may need to carry when taking the baby out. These compartments may include a basket, usually located beneath the child seat, or a pouch or pocket located behind or next to the child seat. Baskets are usually large enough to carry some packages, toys, and a water bottle for example. Pockets on the other hand are much smaller and can carry a few snacks and perhaps your wallet. Check what kind of storage the stroller offers. Is it enough for you?
Hanging shopping bags on the handle of a pram or a stroller is dangerous as it can cause it to overbalance.
- Price – One of the most important feature, is it within the range you are looking for? Local brands are available from Rs 750 to Rs 1000, depending on the number of features you are looking for. There are a lot of imported brands in the market like Mama Love, Golden Eye, Graco, etc. These are sold anywhere from Rs 1500 to Rs 10000.