If you're like most parents, you'll likely get at least one stroller for your baby. With so many designs and types of strollers, however, how do you choose? Understand how to pick the best stroller for your baby and important stroller safety tips.
What should I consider when looking for a stroller?
When looking at strollers for your baby, consider:
- Your needs. For outdoor errands, you might need a sturdy stroller to maneuver along sidewalks. You might also want a lightweight umbrella stroller for quick trips or for use while traveling. If you plan to run with your baby, consider a jogging stroller.
- Your family. If you have an older child, you might want a double stroller or a stroller with an attachment for an older child. If you'll be using an attachment, read the manufacturer's weight guidelines.
- Accessories. Do you want your baby's stroller to have a storage basket, rain cover, blanket, sun shade or cup holder? Some strollers aren't compatible with certain accessories.
What type of stroller is safe for a newborn?
If you plan to use a stroller for your newborn, make sure that the stroller reclines — since newborns can't sit up or hold up their heads. Some strollers fully recline or can be used with a bassinet attachment or an infant-only car seat.
Also, most jogging strollers aren't designed to recline. As a result, they aren't appropriate for babies until about age 6 months.
What do I need to know about travel systems?
If you have a car, you might look for a stroller that can hold your baby's car seat. Some car seats and strollers come in matching sets, while others require separate attachments that allow the strollers to be used with certain car seats. Once you strap your baby into his or her car seat, these kinds of strollers will allow you to easily move your baby between the stroller and car.
If you use a travel system that allows you to move your baby's car seat from your vehicle to a stroller base, you might be tempted to let your baby finish car naps in the car seat. However, using car safety seats for sleep when not traveling can pose a risk to infants. Experts suggest not letting your child sleep or relax in the car seat for more than two hours.
What other features should I look for?
Consider checking for safety features, including:
- Practical brakes. Look for a stroller that has brakes that are easy to operate. Some strollers have brakes that lock two wheels — a special safety feature. Make sure your baby can't reach the brake release lever.
- A wide base. Strollers that have wide bases are less likely to tip over.
- A single footrest. If you're looking for a side-by-side double stroller, choose one with a single footrest that extends across both sitting areas. Small feet can get trapped between separate footrests.
How can I keep my baby safe in his or her stroller?
To prevent stroller accidents:
- Stay close. Don't leave your baby unattended in his or her stroller.
- Be careful with toys. If you hang toys from a stroller bumper bar to entertain your baby, make sure that the toys are securely fastened.
- Buckle up. Always buckle your baby's harness and seat belt when taking him or her for a stroller ride.
- Use your brakes. Engage your stroller brakes whenever you stop the stroller. Never park the stroller on a slope.
- Properly store belongings. Don't hang a bag from the stroller's handlebar, which can make a stroller tip over.
- Take caution when folding. Keep your baby away from the stroller as you open and fold it, since small fingers can get caught in stroller hinges. Make sure the stroller is locked open before you put your child in it.
- Keep it out of the sun. During hot weather, don't let your baby's stroller sit in the sun for long periods of time. This can cause plastic and metal pieces to become hot enough to burn your baby. If you leave the stroller in the sun, check the stroller's surface temperature before placing your baby in the stroller.
- Check for recalls. Return the stroller warranty card so that you'll be notified in case of a recall. If you're considering a used stroller, check that the stroller hasn't been recalled.