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Choosing the right pushchair or stroller for your lifestyle.
Congratulations - you've just found out that you are going to have a new addition to your family! Now comes the fun but bewildering part where you are faced with an array of baby equipment to choose from.
One of the most important items that you will purchase will be the one that you use to transport your baby - and later toddler - safely and comfortably, so you go to the store to buy your pushchair or stroller and there is an overwhelming choice of styles and models to choose from. Where do you start? Which type is best?
Well, here I will attempt to explain the three main types of pushchairs or strollers and the features to look out for so that you can find the perfect model to fit in with your family and lifestyle.
Why not print this guide off and take it with you when you go shopping for your buggy - and don't forget, of course, that you can find some great deals on-line as well.
All-terrain or three wheelers
These pushchairs are great for travelling over uneven surfaces so are popular with parents who want to carry on with an active lifestyle and go on country walks or even jogging with their baby.
They have a long wheel-base and three wheels which aid manoeuverability, but be aware that there are two different wheel types to take into consideration depending on if you are going to be mainly using yours to get around streets in town or braving more rugged countryside:
- Swivel Wheel - these offer great manoeverability when travelling around town, helping you to avoid obstacles and get out of the way of other pedestrians. They are good for a jog around your local park if sticking to the paths.
- Fixed Wheel - these come into their own when out and about in the countryside where you are mainly walking in one direction without the need to make constant adjustments to the steering which can become tiresome - basically you just 'point & go'
One other pont to remember is that these pushchairs normally have pneumatic tyres so there is always the possibility of a puncture. It's best to carry a spare inner tube - especially if you are venturing off the beaten track. Some models come with an on-board foot pump - useful in the event of a flat tyre.
These are lightweight and compact and are often bought as a handy extra to the larger all terrain or travel system. They fold up small and are ideal to keep in the car for shopping trips or to take on holiday - some models will even fit in the aisle of an aeroplane. If you don't have a car, they are quick and easy to fold up and take onto a bus or train.
They generally have three reclining positions and if you are going to use one for a new-born baby make sure that the model you choose has a fully reclining seat. When choosing one also make sure that it is stable and doesn't tip backwards when light pressure is placed on the handlebars.
These are lie-flat prams, suitable for young babies, that later convert into pushchairs. They often come with the optional extra of a car seat which will fit onto the same chassis although these can be expensive to buy separately.
They are designed to be used from birth - when the baby needs to lie flat or to be moved from the car to the pram without being disturbed - through to the pushchair stage without the need to buy another buggy.
They can be more expensive to buy initially but more economical in the long run.
Their are some other factors to take into account when choosing the right pushchair or stroller
- Under seat storage - this should be generous enough to avoid the need to hang bags over the handles as these could easily cause the chair to topple over, especially in lightweight models.
- Adjustable handles - these are useful, as having the handles at the correct height make the buggy more comfortable to push and they are essential if there is a big difference in height between the parents.
- One-handed fold - this is essential if you are trying to cope with a toddler and bags of shopping, especially if you are using public transport. It is common on most makes of strollers but rarely found on travel systems and all-terrain pushchairs.
- Adjustable seat back and leg supports - the greater the variety of positions available the better as this makes the ride more comfortable for your child. A fully reclining seat is essential for your new-born baby.