Strollers aren’t cheap, and getting value you get out of yours will depend on buying one — or a couple-that suit your transportation needs. Where will you do most of your strolling? Around your neighborhood, at the mall, the zoo, on the subway?
For the neighborhood and outdoor walks, consider your terrain. Are your sidewalks generally wide and smooth, or are they bumpy? Do you plan to jog or go on unpaved paths? If that’s the case, then a jog stroller with wheels that can be set to roll straight or to pivot will be most useful for navigating uneven ground. If you like hiking and/or walking your dog you might also want to consider a soft carrier and when your baby is about four months a hiking backpack that will let you go anywhere your feet do and keep your hands free.
Do you drive and shop a lot and not take many outdoor walks? If that’s the case, you’ll appreciate a stroller that folds and slides easily into your trunk and has generous storage capacity for purchases and your purse and diaper bag. A travel system with a “baby bucket” that doubles as a car seat and a rolling, locking base can also be handy for going from home to a restaurant or mall, but will only be useful until your baby grows out of the seat.
Do you think you’ll be taking a lot of flights and/or using public transportation like the bus, train or a subway? In that case you’ll want a lightweight, slimline “umbrella” stroller that’s (relatively) easy to use on stairs, escalators, and down aisles, folds and unfolds with one hand and can be carried with a strap or J-shaped handles.
Before you buy or register for a stroller, check stroller recalls at the Consumer Product Safety Commission web site and online reviews and pricing. Note that price is no guarantee of quality or safety: four-figure Bugaboo® strollers, for instance, were recalled three times in two years.
So search online for parent reviews, write down models you’re interested in, and test-drive floor models of strollers at your local big-box store like Target or Babies R Us. Let family and friends with kids know you’re looking- they can tell you what worked for them and may have secondhand strollers to pass on, too.
For any stroller, look for a stable, sturdy model that’s easy to fold up, unfold and roll with one hand. Look for a wide weight and size recommendation and easy to use and adjust buckles and straps. Cup holders and storage are always good. Accessories like a rain hood, stroller blanket or speakers are only worthwhile if you think you’ll take a lot of long walks.