How to choose a right stroller
The first time I was buying my baby stroller in 2008, I was completely lost and bewildered. It was not an easy task. I had no idea about all the types available, or what type I needed to buy. As a result, I made a costly mistake buying 5 different strollers throughout our first 4 years of stroller use. Now I know pretty much what works and what doesn’t, especially living in harsh, long Winter climate in Calgary, AB. Here you will find some tips to help you out in the stroller jungle and accessories. Choosing your baby stroller comes down to your baby’s comfort and your lifestyle. Feel free to ask us for help at any time!
“Buy quality, cry once” - how true this saying is for baby strollers! You should be able to find one, at most two strollers to last you for one child, and perhaps for a second one or more. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy the most expensive stroller on the market. There are brands, where you have to spend a fortune for accessories, or they don’t offer as much functionality. You are going to use the stroller for a number of years, so fabrics that tear easily or those that are non-washable, brakes that fail, or a folding mechanism that drives you crazy, WILL drive you crazy! It is cheaper overall to buy one good-quality stroller, than buy multiple strollers when you realize that you made a mistake. If it costs you more to buy your perfect stroller, just do it - you won’t regret it. It will be cheaper in the long run, and it will save you from frustration, and save your sanity.
Safety should be on your number 1 list to consider. How sturdy is the stroller? Does it remain stable with a diaper bag on the handle? What about the harness system? Is it 3 or 5 point? You will want a 5-point for maximum safety. Are the breaks easy to use? Do they work well? Just imagine chasing your running toddler while desperately trying to stop the stroller with useless brakes...
This decision is the biggest trouble for moms-to-be. With so many kinds on the market, how do you know which one is for you? Be brutally honest with yourself - how are you going to use the stroller MOST of the time? What is your family’s lifestyle? Are you mostly spending your time in the malls, or do you prefer to walk daily with your baby to a local park or simply on the street? Are you going to walk in the snow, rough terrain (forest, mountains, parks) or just on paved surfaces?
TRAVEL SYSTEM STROLLERS:
A travel system is sometimes referred to as 3-in-1. This means you will be able to use your stroller in 3 ways: as a bassinet for your newborn, a stroller seat for your toddler, and as a car seat on your stroller frame for up to a year for your baby. All components click right into the frame. These strollers can be from any group, and most of our strollers fit in this category, although we do not sell car seats, just the adapters for your car seat. Maxi-Cosi adapters fit all our full size strollers the best, and they work with Maxi-Cosi car seats except Prezi model, and with Nuna Pipa and Cybex Aton car seats.
STANDARD, FULL-SIZE STROLLERS:
These are the most typical strollers that include all sorts of features you might need. These are the best ones for most - they offer a bassinet for a newborn, a forward or backward facing stroller seat, and accessories like bootcovers, footmuffs, matching diaper bags, optional sun umbrellas, and handle mittens. They last from a newborn all the way till your child outgrows the stroller, so this stroller grows with your child. Be aware that many so called "full-size strollers" found in many stores have seats too small for a 3-4 year old, so you will need to buy another, bigger stroller if your child still requires it. Most of our strollers have seats big enough to accomodate a 3-4 year old. One thing to remember, is that these strollers are on a heavier side, so if you only do mall trips, you may want to consider an urban stroller instead. These strollers will not let you down, in any conditions on your many adventures with your little one, as they offer all-terrain capability.
These are perfect for paved city streets and city parks, if you don’t need the all-terrain functionality. These are still very comfortable for babies and older toddlers, and their functionality is the same as the standard full-size stroller. The main difference is the wheels - they typically come with smaller wheels at the front, and larger at the back. If you are mostly using public transport, and strolling mainly on city sidewalks and malls, these will do the trick. They are not suitable for all-terrain, although light strolling to the playground or a park will be fine. But any deep snow, or a rough forest path, would be a challenge.
CLASSIC / RETRO STROLLERS:
If you prefer the classic stroller look, we have a great selection for you! They are your typical standard stroller, that can be converted into a travel system. They offer the most storage, with huge wire basket, the seats are big and roomy for your child, and they are very comfortable for both the child and the parent. These are the strollers that are easy to rock your baby to sleep, and they are the only ones to offer the best suspension for your baby's comfort on any rough terrain. They come with the bassinet and the stroller seat, also car seat adapters. The classic look is timeless, and you will always look elegant with this type of a stroller. Big wheels offer great all-terrain capability - snow, sand, forest paths... The child has always a great view, since the frame is a bit taller. Modern classic strollers collapse into a very compact size, so they still will fit in your small car trunk.
JOGGING & 3 WHEEL STROLLERS:
If your plan is to do lots of exercise with your baby, a jogging stroller may be a great choice. Most jogging strollers on the market are not recommended for babies under 6 months of age, so consider one that has the bassinet option (you don't want to have your baby strapped in a car seat for a long time). One thing to remember is that not all 3 wheel strollers are meant to be jogging strollers. A true jogging stroller will have large wheels, and those at an angle offer maximum stability at faster running speeds. A 3 wheel stroller, will be a 3 wheel version of a typical 4 wheel standard stroller. Most jogging strollers will have a fixed front wheel, while a regular 3 wheel stroller will have a front swivel (lockable) wheel. If you only do very occasional and light jogging, a typical 3 wheel stroller may be enough for your needs. We don't recommend these strollers as the only stroller that you ever buy, because the seat is fixed in forward-facing mode only, so with younger babies it is not very practical. However, these make perfect second-strollers. Another thing to consider from our own experience with these, is that 3 wheels are not as stable as 4 wheels when going through a very rough terrain.
Perfect for travelling, or going for quick shopping trips. But, to be honest, your baby will not be very comfortable in a light-weight stroller for longer periods of time, and they are completely inappropriate for newborn babies. On most, the seat has no recline position, so make sure you find one that does offer this feature (check out our selection!). Babies love to sleep in strollers, and sleeping with their head hanging down is not the best for them. They are, however, a great complement to the standard or urban stroller for an older baby, and are very inexpensive.
Are you expecting twins, or will you soon have two young children of different ages? In such a case, a double stroller is very practical, and even necessary. Many strollers on the market offer single strollers that can be converted into a tandem double, by clicking in an additional seat. Another feature worth mentioning, is to have all air-tires to make steering so much easier, as this will be a very heavy load to push! Great suspension system is very useful feature, it makes it easier to lift it up over a curb, and makes it more comfortable for you and your babies. Check out our selection!
To make things more complicated, there are two types of double strollers: tandem and side-by-side. Tandems are great when you want to use the stroller in shopping malls, and in tight spaces, like between the store aisles. Side-by-side are best used for walks, so that both kids are most comfortable, and enjoy the same views, especially if you use it more in the countryside or primarily for parks.
Please make sure that whichever double stroller you buy, it comes with front swivel wheels. Why? Because it becomes so heavy to lift it up even a bit to make every turn. Air tires will make the job even easier!
WHEELS AND HANDLES:
Most strollers today come with adjustable handles, which makes them good for short and tall people. Try to walk around with the stroller to see how it fits, are you comfortable?
Telescoping handles are great, but the handle does not feel very sturdy. A handle adjustment that is on two knobs will be very sturdy, and the handle goes up or down.
Another thing to look out for in a handle, is what is it covered with? Foam is most popular, as it is the cheapest for the manufacturers. However, it's easy to get it damaged. Also, after all day of strolling, it may not be such a comfortable grip any more. Our recommendation is a solid handle surface, such as eco-leather, that is very durable, looks really good, and is nice to the touch.
Wheels are a big consideration. Today we have several choices, from air tires, plastic, to foam tires (sometimes called “no flat tires”). Air tires give your child the extra comfort, and for you this means easier stroller pushing. They do great in the snow, and in any terrain. Some people are concerned that they can get a flat-tire. Possible, but very unlikely, just like with cars or bikes.
Plastic tires do not provide a good comfort, and are hard to push. A much better choice would be foam tire - however, they are still not as soft as air tires for your and your child’s comfort. Pushing a stroller on foam tires takes more effort than on air tires.
Swivel front wheel is a great option, as long as it can be locked into one position if necessary, for example walking in a deep snow. However, our classic strollers with fixed front wheels are very easy to steer, due to their very soft suspension.
Size of the wheels is also important to consider. Larger wheels are much better in rough terrain or in snow. So, if you don’t plan on walking only on paved sidewalks and malls, consider buying a stroller with at least medium-sized wheels, that are ideally 12" at the back, and 10" at the front.
Suspension on wheels is another important factor. Most of our strollers come equipped with 2 step rear wheel suspension system, that adds to baby's ride comfort. Some of our newest models, have also additional front shock absorbers, so if you hit a curb, or a tree root in your path, baby won't feel much as the front wheels will bend forward to absorb the impact.
Car seats are essential for safe car travel. However, we always recommend that new parents “keep the car seats in the car”, if going for longer than 1 hour of strolling with a baby.
Today, most strollers come as convenient Travel Systems. This means that to a single stroller frame, the seat, bassinet, and a car seat can be mounted. However, parent’s convenience should not be a priority when it comes to baby’s well-being. Parents need to remember that newborns and infants should not spend more than 1 hour in a car seat. The child being strapped tightly in a car seat, has a limited ability to move and change positions, and may encounter breathing problems.
When parents are planning longer walks than 1hour, such as to the park or a shopping mall, it would be better to use a bassinet instead.
Our bassinets are spacious, and comfortable. We offer largest bassinets that depending on the height of your baby, will last you to around 5-8 months, instead of typical first 3 months. Bassinets are great for infants who can’t yet sit up on their own. Baby is able to move around freely, but without the risk of falling out. Bassinet use should be stopped once the baby can sit up unassisted, and moved to a stroller seat.
Many of our bassinets have a rocking feature, so when placed on the floor, you can rock your baby to sleep. Some also come equipped with a harness, if the baby is able to sit up and still using a bassinet. Our bassinets are not rated safe for night-time sleeping, and should be used only during the day with direct supervision.
The next thing that comes into mind are other features that will make your stroller convenient to use. Is there a large enough canopy to protect your child from wind, sun, snow, or rain? Does it have a mesh for ventilation in summer time? Is there a rain and mosquito cover available, that will snugly fit the stroller? What about toy bars, cup holders, and diaper bags? Is the bassinet included with the stroller, or is it considered an expensive accessory that most likely you will not want to buy? What about footmuffs to keep your child warm in the Winter months?
Most strollers on the market come with most accessories separate. For me it was important to have as many useful accessories that come in with the stroller without spending a fortune. After all, a good stroller has to be equipped for any scenario, and needs to have lots of storage options - your hands will be full by attending to your baby, so you need convenience and accessories that fit your stroller with ease.
Most of our strollers come fully equipped!
Do you have to carry it up and down a lot of stairs?
How easy is the stroller to keep clean?
Seems like most of us don’t think about doing laundry when buying a stroller, but yes, those seats and canopies will get messy! This is a fact that you need to accept, so think about how easy the stroller will be to keep clean. What fabrics is it made of? Is it easy to put child into the stroller with lots of mud or snow on the shoes, without getting that seat dirty in a first place? A removable bumper bar is a must.
Majority of our strollers are machine-washable, and parts that cannot be removed, are easy to spot clean. Eco-leather is very easy to keep clean, even in light coloured options.
What kind of shade can you provide for your child from the burning sun? Does the canopy has the extension, is there a sun umbrella available for the extra shade?
Can you get away with one stroller, or do you need two? Perhaps there is one stroller that can fit perfectly into your lifestyle? We have a wide selection of strollers available for all lifestyle needs, so hopefully you will need only one stroller that “does it all”.
And lastly... are there any toxic chemicals on the stroller fabrics of your stroller, that will be in direct contact with your baby's skin? For your peace of mind, our strollers are completely non-toxic to your baby, and most come with the Oeko-Tex 100 Standard certification. This is broad topic on its own, so please read more here.