Stroller Shopping is NOT Car Shopping


You walk into a baby store visibly pregnant, and the friendly salespeople offer to help you out. They’re so nice, so helpful. So why do you feel guilty that you can’t afford a stroller that costs as much as a used car? You are not a bad mom if you cannot afford a “Mercedes” stroller, nor is there something wrong with you if you do want a high end stroller. For most strolling, you have a ton of options. Remember that you have tons of time and can buy a stroller after your baby arrives.

 

Toddler playing with stroller

First Baby Stroller Tips

  • Buy used. If you belong to a local mother’s group or neighborhood group, these are great sources for inexpensive gear. Babies grow fast, and moms need to pass their gear on. Plus, if you don’t love a particular model or outgrow it, you can sell it and usually break even. When testing, be sure to push the stroller around. Ask that parent to show you how the stroller works. Check all buckles. Fold and unfold the stroller. ***Please be careful with online listings. If it’s not a closed group, meet in a public place.*** Stroller Spa (strollerspa.com) can check out your stroller and wash it professionally so that your infant starts out in a clean ride. Don’t forget to check for any recalls, most of which involve installing a small cover or part. This Stroller Spa article provides great tips for buying a used stroller.

  • Shop carefully. If buying new, go to a store that won’t pressure you into making a quick decision or spending more than your budget. Be honest with the salesperson about your budget, and sleep on your decision if you’re feeling pressured.

  • Buy in person. I’ve been tempted to order online, and then received the stroller in the manufacturer’s packaging — needing hours of assembly.  Buying from a store gives you the opportunity to test, purchase an assembled stroller, and ask for advice. For instance, I couldn’t figure out how to change a front wheel on my Phil & Ted’s to swivel instead of fixed position, and had to post on our mother’s group for advice. Our favorite stores are Giggle.com for its small stores and personalized service, and Buybuybaby.com for its broad acceptance of Bed Bath and Beyond coupons.  REI.com sells the BOB strollers, offers periodic coupons to its members and has an amazing return policy.

  • Read reviews. I love the reviews on amazon.com and my local mother’s groups. Read carefully how other moms in your neighborhood like the stroller and any issues related to your neighborhood.

 

Types of Strollers

  • Frame Stroller = Carseat transportation. You want a stroller that takes your brand of carseat, folds easily and is light enough for you to move it in and out of your trunk while juggling baby. When you buy your carseat, keep in mind which models have more options for your ideal stroller. My favorite frame stroller (the kind with no seat, just a spot for your carseat), Maclaren’s Easy Traveler, is no longer manufactured but readily available used. An alternative to the frame strollers, some strollers have optional carseat adapters at additional cost, but consider how hard the stroller is to fold and the weight to lift it in and out of the car.

  • Bassinet option. These strollers come with a bassinet and seat, with the theory that a newborn shouldn’t be sitting up or in the carseat too long.  I was won over; my son was not. He screamed bloody murder in the bassinet, and I spent our strolls carrying him and pushing a large, fancy stroller. Some friends have loved the option to use the bassinet for sleeping, which is another consideration. Our favorite in this category is the UPPAbaby Vista.

  • Jogging. These strollers are a necessity for moms who run, but otherwise unimportant.  Strollers are larger and have a fixed wheel option for running.  If you plan to use casually, be sure you can make the front wheel pivot, or you’ll have a tough time turning. Our favorite in this category is the BOB.

  • All Terrain. Can be jogging or not. Wheels are great for off road strolls, such as fire roads or wide dirt paths. If you plan to do all your walking on pavement, these strollers are not necessary. Our favorite all terrain is the Phil & Teds, which also has a doubles kit.

  • Umbrella. If you are looking for a stroller to keep in your car, use on public transit, or to travel with, umbrella strollers are your best bet. Strollers fold easily for travel, are typically lightweight and have optional recline. To use with a newborn, the stroller must recline completely flat, and then you could use a head support, such as this Snuzzler one. Wheels are often plastic, so not great for long walks. Our favorite umbrellas are the Maclaren Quest and the UPPAbaby Gluxe.

  • In between. My favorite category are the strollers that do a little bit of everything. For some, they are too big of a compromise, but for me, it was good enough. For city use, many moms love the City Mini for its one step fold. I loved our Bugaboo Bee, which has some serious competition

  • Second seat optional. Our friend, Hint Mama, recommends strollers with an optional second seat to save buying a second stroller after your second child. Be careful to check the weight rating on the second seat. Our local store recommended against the Uppa’s rumble seat and instead recommended either the Phil & Ted’s (see above in all terrain) or the City Select. We are happy with the Phil & Teds, except that the basket is filled with the feet of your second child. The City Select is an excellent stroller but very long, which affects the turning radius.

 

What is your favorite stroller?

 

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