Strollers can help make parents’ lives a lot easier but choosing the right stroller for a baby and then maintaining it for long lasting use requires parents to have adequate knowledge. Strollers have come a long way from their initial heavy-weight designs. There is a wide variety of light-weight and durable strollers available today to suit a child’s needs and lifestyle and it becomes increasingly difficult to make a decision about which one to buy. The following buying tips can help you find the one most suitable for your child.
Choosing one stroller out of the several types that you will find in a store can be a hard job. Follow these tips to make the right choice more easily.
- Safety Features: Safety, as with all other baby accessories, is the foremost concern of a parent. First of all, before buying a stroller, ensure that it has adequate safety features for your baby. (For details of these features go to this article.)
- Walk the Stroller: Before buying the stroller you like walk in the store to get a feel of it. Walking a stroller will help you decide whether you are comfortable with or not. For instance the handle height might not be adequate for you. A comfortable handle height is usually at the waist level or a little below. For taller parents or those who have a significant difference in height, strollers with adjustable handle heights are very convenient so that both the parents can walk them easily. Handles covered with foam also add to the comfort of the parent or caregiver.
- Steering Ease: Before making a purchase check that the stroller runs easily and can be pushed in a straight line without veering by using one hand only. A good stroller also does corners smoothly, this is important when strolling a baby in crowds. Usually the bigger the diameter of the wheels the easier it is to negotiate curbs and sidewalk irregularities. Make sure all four tires are aligned. In case of double wheels, all eight wheels should make contact with the floor and rotate when the stroller is in motion. Also try walking the stroller at a fast pace to see if your feet bump against the wheels.
- Weight: When buying a stroller it is importance to keep its weight and folding ability in mind. There are several models of lightweight strollers these days that weigh less than 20 pounds and have the same features as heavyweight strollers. These strollers are also foldable and can easily be stored in a car’s truck for traveling. If you have a smaller car, keep in mind the size of the trunk and make sure the stroller you purchase will fit in the trunk when folded. It is always hard for parents to choose between a plastic or metal stroller. Metal strollers have sturdier frames and last longer. However plastic strollers are lighter in weight. It is a tradeoff between weight and sturdiness and the parent has to decide for him/herself which to buy. Perhaps if the stroller will be used for several children then a metal one would be a good choice. A plastic stroller can be more convenient for parents who travel frequently.
- Convenience Features: For s stroller to be convenient and easy to use there are a number of features that you should look for. Always look for a stroller with an adjustable seat. As your baby grows the inclination of the seat that is comfortable for him changes. So the angle that was comfortable for your six month old baby will not be comfortable for a one year old. A stroller should always have an extra storage area for the baby’s accessories or even parents’ use if he/she goes shopping. Before buying s stroller check that it has a good balance and does not topple over if you hang a baby bag with the handles. A stroller must always be made of a washable fabric as no baby is above making mess. Sooner or later the stroller will get dirty enough to want washing. The stroller must also include a canopy to protect the baby from sunshine or rain.
- Multiple seats: Sometimes when a couple has twins or two children close in age, they need to buy a stroller that can accommodate both. There are strollers available with up to four seats but those are rare. The most common ones with multiple seats are those that have two seats. These seats can be side by side or tandem style. The side-by-side style is appropriate for twins but not for children of different ages as they weigh differently and the heavier side has a chance of toppling over. The tandem style outsells the adjacent seat style because even with children of different weights it has no chance of toppling. Furthermore, the tandem style, when folded, occupies almost the same amount of space as a normal one seat stroller. However, a stroller with adjacent seats occupies double the space.
- Price: Lastly, price is always an important factor in deciding which stroller you want to buy. Remember, expensive strollers are sturdier and have better materials in manufacturing. They last longer. So if the stroller is intended to be used for several children, an expensive one would be a good long-term investment.
A stroller suffers outdoor wear more than any other baby equipment. Following are tips to keep a stroller clean and prolong its life and usability.
- Park the stroller inside after use and protect it, as much as possible, from dust, dirt and dampness.
- Check the stroller for loose screws, worn out parts or torn stitching from time to time and mend it immediately.
- Clean metal and plastic surfaces regularly with a damp cloth.
- Oil the moving parts of the stroller, for example axles, hinges, joints etc. occasionally with light household oil.
- To clean vinyl upholstery use mild soap and water, rinse thoroughly afterwards and allow it to dry naturally.
- Strong detergents, bleaches, solvents and abrasive cleaners may damage vinyl and fabric.
- Avoid soaking the stroller completely with water as it may soften pressboards and seat pans etc.
- Follow any special cleaning instructions if given by the manufacturers.