Recently an expectant mom friend of mine posted on her facebook: “Mom friends, I need stroller help!”. Her dilemma was that she was unsure of what sort of stroller to purchase for her arriving bundle of joy. Which got me thinking, what if other mom’s had the same question? She said the sales person at the baby store felt more like a used car salesman than anything else and left her feeling very confused (and chances are, being a man, he probably didn’t have a CLUE what’s important to moms when it comes to strollers!). I’ve obsessed over strollers since before my kids were born- here are a few things I’ve learned over the years and probably things you won’t or haven’t considered when purchasing a stroller.
These are the “all in one” system. They will include a car seat along with the stroller. Everything will fit nicely together and be in cute coordinating patterns. Travel systems are great, sometimes. Those first few months they are wonderful. The car seat comes out of the car and clips right into the seat making it a great transition for those sleepy newborns. Chances are though, you won’t be using it much the first month or two. The travel system strollers are great, they have it all. They’ll have a parent tray, a child tray, they’ll recline and they’ll have a nice big basket underneath for storage. The cons to travel systems, in my opinion, outweigh the pros. Travel systems are heavy! They don’t fold up slimly and they can be a pain in the rear end to lift in and out of SUV’s or vans. My kids always were out of their infant seats by about 7 or 8 months and they were then sitting in the regular stroller seat (also your child will likely get too large for the infant seat by about 12 months anyway and you’ll not be even able to use it past that point). The price factor on travel systems can be quite pricey and so in my opinion for the high cost factor along with the short life of the actual car seat + stroller factor makes them a pricey tool. Obviously the stroller is still usable outside of the car seat fact but if you’re buying a travel system for that added convenience think long and hard before you decide. These strollers are also not built for off road purposes or running of any kind. They do best in stores and on paved paths.
I am not a jogger so I can’t necessarily speak on their behalf for running, however, they are obviously designed for that purpose. I have friends who love their joggers and if you are an avid runner you might want to consider this over a regular stroller anyway as they can obviously be used for things outside of jogging. Most jogging strollers will come with car seat attachments that you can purchase so your infant seat will attach like a travel system. Yeah your patterns might not be matchy but if you get similar colors in your jogger and car seat chance are people won’t even realize they were purchased separately. Joggers also can be heavy and bulky to fold up, but never owning one, I’m sure there are lighter weight ones on the market.
Fancy Umbrella strollers:
This is the un-offical name I have given them! These are my favorite type of strollers. They are light weight and offer the same things as the bulky and heavy cousins: the travel systems. You can find a reasonably priced stroller that offers parent trays and child trays. Mine also has underneath storage. They are so much more user friendly and the choice of travel strollers! The one major drawback in most people’s opinions is that they cannot accept car seats. Again, keep in mind that that combination is likely only going to last you about 7 months of needing that car seat + stroller combo. If you want something more affordable and that will serve the purpose of filling that short term need, try a Snap ‘n Go type of stroller. It’s pretty much a metal frame on wheels and simply enough you snap your car seat into the frame and you essentially have a travel system ready! Much more user friendly along with being light weight! You can often find these used (since you can only use them for so long..) and quite affordable at that. Then pick yourself up a fancy umbrella stroller and you’re set for life..and you won’t break your back in the mean time!
In my opinion, some of the must haves are:
Light weight– who wants to lug around a 50 lb stroller with a 25 lb car seat and a 15 lb kid.. yea you do the math!
Parent & kid trays– Totally essential! My fancy umbrella doesn’t have a parent tray so I went out and bought cup holders; trust me you think you won’t use it, but you will!
Size of folding– the smaller the better! If it’s too big when it folds it won’t be easy to transport! You don’t want to have to buy a car based on your stroller size do you?
Reclining seat- This is one of those things you probably won’t think about when you’re purchasing but trust me there is nothing worse then being out and about and having a sleepy kid who can’t get comfy because their stroller seat can’t recline..