Baby Stroller Buyers Guide

Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Choosing the Right
Baby Stroller
to Meet Your Needs!
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Michelle Carson
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Baby Stroller Buying Guide
Choosing the Right Baby Stroller to Meet your Needs!
As with almost any product on the market today you have an array of selections to
choose from and Baby Strollers are no exception. There are over 30 manufacturers of
Baby Strollers that we know about. Some are good some aren’t. Most of these
companies make a variety of stroller types. You will find the popular strollers or what we
call the ‘standard strollers’. There are ‘lightweight strollers’, ‘jogging strollers’, ‘tandem
strollers’, ‘stroller systems’, ‘double strollers’, ‘triple strollers’ and even ‘quad strollers’.
Just about any type of stroller you can imagine, you will find it if you look long enough.
The problem is finding a quality stroller that is right for you and your baby! In this guide
we have tried to cover most of the topics that parents are interested in when they go to
purchase a baby stroller or stroller travel system. As you will see the choices are many!
First and foremost, you want your baby to be safe and comfortable while your baby is in
the stroller. But think about yourself, too, since you're the one who'll be pushing it. Here
are some things to consider:
If you'll be taking your infant in and out of a car a lot, a lightweight stroller frame, such
as the Graco SnugRide Stroller with detachable car seat, might be just the ticket. These
universal frames let you attach an infant car seat. Simply remove it from the car, baby
and all, and snap it right into the frame. It's great for letting your snoozing baby continue
his nap. When you're done strolling, you simply snap the car seat back into its base
inside the car. Stroller frames are inexpensive, and because of their light weight they're
handy for quick trips between parking lot and supermarket, or for hauling on a bus or
train. For a complete listing of stroller types visit our website (Types of Strollers).
An alternative is an all-in-one travel system, which consists of an infant car seat, a carseat base, and a full stroller. They can be heavy and take up more room than just a
stroller frame, but once your baby reaches 6 months and can sit up and control his head
and neck movements, you'll have the flexibility to use the travel system's stroller without
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
the infant seat snapped in. A stroller travel system is costlier but a good value because
the stroller can be used after your child outgrows the infant car seat--unlike a car seat
carrier frame, which is useful only for as long as your baby uses her infant car seat anywhere from 9 months to a year or more, depending on your child's height and
A variation of the travel system theme is a combo stroller. These let you change the
stroller from a bassinet on wheels (sort of like an old-fashioned baby carriage) to a
regular stroller as your child grows. Like other travel systems, some combos can accept
a car seat but you may have to buy that separately along with an adapter to hold it in
place inside your car. In some cases, you'll need another adapter to lock the car seat to
the stroller. The car adapter for a Bugaboo stroller, for example, costs $45.
Combos tend to be costly and weigh more than stroller frames. The Orbit Baby Travel
System G2, for example, has a car seat that weighs 10 pounds and a stroller frame that
weights 16 pounds. All things considered, you might decide you don't need the bassinet
feature. Many travel systems offer the flat surface of a bassinet as well as a flap that
covers the leg holes, to give your baby the same resting area of a bassinet for a much
lower average price.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Where Do You Want to Use your Baby Stroller?
If you're a city dweller who relies on subways, buses, and cabs, you'll need a lightweight
but sturdy stroller that folds quickly and is compact. A stroller frame would work well. A
stroller with large, air-filled tires, such as an all-terrain or jogging stroller, may be easier
to push if you'll be going for long walks your car is big enough to accommodate it, and
you can lift it. But these bigger, heavier strollers might be harder to use on public
Besides being more shock-absorbing, all-terrain and jogging strollers typically have
three wheels and a seat that gives your baby more support than a simple umbrella
stroller. If you'll be tromping through snow or on unpaved roads or grass, a model with
large wheels is a great option. Under those conditions, a stroller with small plastic
wheels might be difficult to push. If you want to run, use a jogging stroller only.
If you do have a car, make sure whatever stroller you choose fits inside easily. And give
some thought to where you will put it in your house. Do you have the closet space for it,
or will it block up a hallway if you have to store it there? A folded stroller in the hall might
also be a tipping hazard for a crawling baby.
Michelle Carson, a mother of three is on her fourth stroller. Like many parents, she
started with a travel system and later added a lightweight umbrella stroller for easier
quick trips. When her second child came along, she got a tandem double stroller; the
older child could sit in the front, and the infant could ride in the back, snug in her car
seat. By the time her third child came around, stylish modern strollers were everywhere
and Michelle wanted something "cute" and sleek. She shopped around and talked to
other moms before settling on a combo model.
We asked her what advice she has for parents shopping for a stroller: "Get something
that is not so heavy mom can't manage it on her own," she said. "It was important to me
to be able to carry the stroller while carrying the diaper bag and carrying my daughter."
Michelle also recommends looking for a stroller you can open and close with one hand.
"Most of the time you don't have two hands free," she said. A deep storage basket in
her first stroller also made a big difference when she was out running errands. She
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
advises parents to find a stroller that either comes with a car seat (such as a travel
system) or is compatible with an infant car seat you already own, "even if it doesn't
match, or is not the same brand." She also recommends learning as much about
strollers as possible before buying any particular style or brand. There are many sites
on the internet that have some good reviews. One in particular that she recommends is
“Best Baby Stroller Reviews”.
In addition to combos and travel systems, you can buy tandem strollers that hold two
children, one behind the other, or side-by-side strollers. Depending on the model and
configuration, some of these can be used with children of different ages. You might see
strollers with a little platform in the back so an older child can stand up and ride along
while a younger sibling is in the stroller seat in front, but we don't recommend these.
The standing child could slip or fall.
What about the accessories for strollers?
Even if you buy a nice modern lightweight stroller, you still may find yourself needing (or
wanting) accessories such as a parasol, rain cover, netting to keep out bugs, a
shopping basket, and more. The world of accessories is huge--and of course, they can
drive up the final price of a stroller. Instead, you might be very happy to pay a little extra
up front for a stroller with built-in cup holders for your baby bottles, adjustable handle
bars, and a special clip for your cell phone.
If you're baffled by the choices, you can always start with a basic universal seat-carrier
frame for your infant car seat, then decide what might work best after you get used to
going out with your baby.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Our Recommendations
Make sure you have enough room in your trunk for the stroller you're considering if
you'll put it there. These days Ferguson drives a vehicle that can seat seven
passengers, but when she goes grocery shopping there's not enough room in her trunk
for the food plus the stroller, so it gets pushed into the front passenger seat.
Love the Stroller You End Up With
Strollers are popular baby gifts and shower presents. But make sure you put the one
you want on your baby registry, and shop for it yourself by pushing a few different
models around the showroom floor. If you end up using your stroller heavily--and your
baby will spend a lot of time in it--you should love the one you end up with. If you’re
looking to sign up for a baby registry – here’s where you can sign up for Amazon’s Baby
A Range of Options
As you can see from our Best Baby Stroller Reviews and Ratings, there's a wide price
range among stroller types and brands. What makes one stroller worth $100 and
another $1,000 or more? Several things drive up the price.
More expensive strollers are usually made of high-grade, lighter-weight aluminum,
making them easier to lift in and out of a car or onto a bus. At the higher end, these
strollers may also give you more options when it comes to selecting fabric and choosing
a designer label and fancier seating options. The pricier models, such as a $600
Bugaboo Bee, for example, let you change the direction your baby faces--out toward the
world or looking at you. But you can find less-expensive strollers that are lightweight
and are packed with features such as the Britax B-Ready Stroller which sells for less
than $400 and has several ways to set up the stroller.
The Pliko Switch Stroller by Peg Perego costs about $400, will take a car seat, has
height-adjustable handlebars, and even lets you switch the direction baby faces. The
Graco Spree Travel System lets you fold it up with one hand and has a multi-position
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
reclining seat. It sells for about $160. Like many travel systems, these models tend to
be durable enough to be passed along from child to child.
So remember, a higher price doesn't always mean higher quality. We have found that
some economical strollers perform as well or better than models costing hundreds of
dollars more. Even the priciest models we've tested can have typical stroller flaws:
frames that bend out of shape, locking mechanisms that fail, safety belts that come
loose, or buckles that break.
In the end, a much lower-priced stroller might serve you well. A lot depends on where
and how much you'll use it. For infrequent travel or trips to the mall, a lower-end
lightweight stroller (less than $100) might be all you need once your baby is old enough
to sit up. But if you're going to be out more often and in all kinds of weather and
conditions, or you'd like the stroller to last for more than one child, consider spending
more. Your child will be more comfortable, too. Good-quality traditional strollers start in
the low $100s.
Test "Driving"- Real and Virtual
Many companies now have extensive photo galleries, video demos, and "virtual" test
drives posted online. You can watch videos of parents pushing their children, or, like our
video on the BOB Revolution Stroller, you can watch parents run with a jogging stroller.
Some websites will show you combo strollers being closed, opened, and reconfigured
like a Transformer toy made for modern parents.
Even if you spend time online, it's best to check out strollers in person. Are you
comfortable with the handle height and the grip? Are the brakes or locking mechanisms
easy to use? Compare maneuverability between models, and practice opening and
closing the strollers--with one hand as well as two. See if it's easy to adjust the backrest,
lift and carry the stroller, and apply the brakes.
Make sure you can stand erect when you push the stroller and that your legs and feet
don't hit the wheels as you walk. If you're going to share the stroller with a partner, both
of you should try it out. If possible, take the floor model out to your car to be sure it will
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
fit in your trunk when it's folded, and bring along a measuring tape. Also, jiggle the
stroller; the frame should feel solid, not loose.
Consider your Child's Age
Since newborns can't sit up on their own, they need a stroller that lets them lie on their
back for the first few months, or one that can accept an infant car seat. Don't put a
newborn or young infant into a traditional stroller that doesn't fully recline--including
umbrella-style models. Wait until he or she can sit up, usually at about 6 months. This is
important because a young infant who can't hold his head up is at risk of positional
asphyxia if not properly reclined, meaning that his head could fall forward, restricting his
If the stroller you buy doesn't have a bassinet feature but fully reclines, make sure it has
cushioning around all sides. Some strollers have padded inserts that will fit your stroller
to prevent your baby from slipping through the leg openings.
Some combo strollers accept a car seat or come with seats that similar to infant car
seats. If you buy a combo that allows you to adjust the seat angle for babies of different
ages, be sure you recline the seat properly for a newborn. Also make sure you read the
manual; some combos that come with a bassinet, for example, also come with an infant
seat, but you aren't supposed to use the seat until your child is at least 3 months old.
With these, as with all strollers, it's important to use the 5-point harness.
Check Certification
Search the stroller's frame or carton for a sticker showing that the manufacturer takes
part in the certification program administered by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers
Association (JPMA), and that the product meets the minimum requirements of ASTM
International, (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials). The current key
tests are for the restraint system, brakes, leg openings, and locking mechanisms that
prevent accidental folding, and for stability and the absence of sharp edges. The
certification program is voluntary, and so models from uncertified companies might be
as safe as those from certified ones. Plus, we have found that certified models don't
always meet ASTM standards.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Still, to be on the safe side, choose a certified model. Companies that sell certified
strollers include Baby Trend, Britax, Bugaboo, Chicco, Delta Enterprise, Dorel Juvenile
Group, Evenflo, Go-Go Babyz, Graco, Hauck Fun for Kids, Joovy, Kolcraft, Maclaren,
BOB Gear and Peg-Pérego.
Evaluate Warranties and Return Policies
Most stroller manufacturers and retailers offer warranties that cover poor workmanship
and inherent flaws, but they won't necessarily take back a stroller if it malfunctions. You
might have to return to the store for a replacement or ship the stroller back to the
manufacturer for repair --at your expense--leaving you stranded without baby wheels. A
puncture to the wheel of your high-end stroller may not be considered a manufacturing
defect, and you'll have to pay to repair the tire or possibly get a new inner tube for it.
Your best bet is to purchase the stroller from a store, catalog, or online retail store such
as Amazon that will let you return it if you're not satisfied. And keep the stroller's
packaging until you're sure you're happy with it.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Types of Strollers
(For more details visit our review site)
Standard Strollers
Standard baby strollers like The First Years Jet Stroller
are durable strollers that are designed for everyday
use. Since most models fully recline with have leg
holes that close to form a bassinet and can sit upright,
they can accommodate your child from infancy through
Most standard strollers are usually mid-weight strollers
with sturdy frames, which allow them to within stand
heavy use. The adaptability and durability of standard strollers makes them a practical
stroller choice for parents.
Typically, standard baby strollers have four sets of two small wheels placed at each
corner of the stroller. These wheels work best when used on sidewalks and other
smooth surfaces, which makes them a great stroller choice for parents who walk around
town or the mall often.
Since most standard baby strollers have sturdier frames, they can accommodate
several added features such as storage baskets and pockets, cup holders and trays.
Many models also have the ability to carry an infant car seat, which can be helpful when
your child is a newborn.
Although the increased weight and sturdiness of standard strollers allows them more
durable, they tend to be bigger and bulkier, which makes them less than ideal for
frequent travel.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Standard Baby Strollers are lightweight and convenient. They have more features
than umbrella strollers, such as a snack tray and a roomy storage basket. Some
accommodate an infant car seat, while others fully recline and have some means of
closing off the leg openings to prevent your baby from slipping through, so you can use
this type of stroller from baby’s first day.
Heavier Standard Baby Strollers are difficult to lift onto public transportation or into car
trunks or cargo areas. And you might still need a car seat. Small wheels don’t work well
on uneven sidewalks or rough terrain, and might give baby a bumpier ride. The compact
size of lighter-weight models might cramp some toddlers, especially when they’re
dressed in heavy winter clothes.
Read our Review of The First Years Jet Stroller
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Lightweight Strollers
One of our favorites is the Contours Lite Stroller
manufactured by Kolcraft. This lightweight stroller is
perfect for traveling or for quick trips around town with
babies who can sit up. For Moms who are on the go
doing daily chores such as shopping these lightweight
strollers are just the ticket. They are easy to fold and
stick in the trunk of your car without taking up a lot of
space. When you are traveling you sometimes want to
take your stroller with you. Since it’s compact and folds easily they are the best to take
on an airplane.
Lightweight strollers, such as the Chicco Capri Lightweight Stroller often has curved
handles (like an umbrella) and is easy to fold. With its lightweight, aluminum frame and
stylish new design details, the Chicco Capri stroller is trendy and travel-friendly.
One of the best features of lightweight strollers is the weight and convenient. Don’t let
the lightweight fool you, if you select a stroller like the ‘Contours Lite Stroller you will find
that they are well built and durable. Many have add on accessories that you will find
very useful such as cup holders, storage areas, and more. They are easy to pick them
out of the trunk of your car even when you are carrying your baby or you have your
arms full.
The compact size of lightweight strollers may cramp older babies and toddlers,
especially when they’re dressed in heavy winter clothes. Because they sometimes lack
suspension and seat support, they don’t provide a very cushy ride and aren’t
appropriate for babies younger than 6 months. The seat rarely reclines fully, and a few
don’t recline at all. (You might see some newer models on the market that recline
completely, but we haven’t yet tested them.)
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Read our Review of the Contours Lite Stroller
Jogger Strollers
Jogger Strollers are three-wheel strollers for serious
runners, such as the BOB Revolution SE Jogger
Stroller or the Schwinn Turismo Swivel Single
Jogger, let you push your child while you run or jog.
They have a hand brake in addition to a footoperated “parking” brake; a fixed (non swiveling) or
lockable (swiveling) front wheel; and large, air-filled
The long, high handlebar is designed to give running feet and legs more space to avoid
bumping into the stroller’s frame. There’s a wrist strap (to be attached to your wrist and
the stroller at all times when running with a child) that gives more control and keeps the
stroller from rolling away in case you fall or trip.
On some brands, the large front wheel doesn’t swivel; on others, it swivels but can be
locked into place. Some manufacturers suggest that a child as young as 8 weeks old
can ride in a jogging stroller while his parent runs, but our medical consultants say that
a baby should be at least 1 year old. For running, we recommend a jogging stroller with
a fixed, not lockable, swiveling front wheel for safety.
Jogger strollers can be used for off-road walks and running. Large, air-cushioned tires
offer a comfortable ride and make them easy to push. Many jogging strollers have a
longer life than traditional strollers because they can accommodate heavier children.
(Several companies offer double or triple jogging strollers with total weight limits of 100
or 150 pounds.)
A fixed (non swiveling) front wheel is good for running but can make maneuvering
difficult. Some designs of three-wheel jogger strollers might be unstable when going up
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
or down a curb, or if a child tries to climb into the stroller. Jogging strollers are often
large and some are heavy; you might need to remove the wheel(s) to fit the stroller into
your car trunk. Bicycle-type air-filled tires can go flat and require inflating with a bicycle
pump or a gas-station hose.
Read our Review of the BOB Revolution SE Jogging Stroller
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Stroller Travel Systems
Many of the Stroller Travel Systems, such as the
Graco SnugRide Stroller System or the Graco
Quattro Tour Travel System with SnugRide 30,
consists of an infant car seat, a car seat base, and a
stroller. There are hybrid strollers that consists of a
stroller chassis with wheels. It can be used with a
removable bassinet (usually included, depending on
the configuration you select) so your newborn baby
can lie flat. Some can accept various car seats once
you purchase special adapters; some have optional
car seats made to work specifically with their chassis. Some also offer a reversible
stroller seat that can be used when your baby is ready to sit up and see the world.
Combos tend to be costly and weigh more than stroller frames. The Graco SnugRide
Stroller Travel System, for example, has a car seat that weighs 10 pounds and a stroller
frame that weighs 16 pounds. All things considered, you might decide you don’t need
the bassinet feature.
Many travel systems offer the flat surface of a bassinet as well as a flap that covers the
leg holes, to give your baby the same resting area of a bassinet for a much lower
average price.
A variation of the travel system theme is a combo stroller
such as the UppaBaby Vista Stroller with Bassinet. These
let you change the stroller from a bassinet on wheels (sort of
like an old-fashioned baby carriage) to a regular stroller as
your child grows.
Like other stroller travel systems, some combos can accept
a car seat but you may have to buy that separately along
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
with an adapter to hold it in place inside your car. In some cases, you’ll need another
adapter to lock the car seat to the stroller. The car adapter for a Bugaboo stroller, for
example, costs $45.
Like an infant seat with a carrier frame, a travel system allows you to move a sleeping
baby in the seat undisturbed from car to stroller. Some also allow you to fully recline the
seat and have a means of closing off the leg holes, so you can use it as a carriage–
making it a sort of less-expensive combination stroller. When your baby is ready to sit
up on her own, simply remove the car seat and adjust the stroller’s backrest to a
comfortable position for her.
Travel systems can be bulky, and in the beginning you will be pushing around an infant
car seat and a stroller. They tend to be costly and you often still need to buy a car seat
and a car-seat adapter. Sometimes they also include a canopy or rain cover, tire
pump/pressure gauge, under-seat storage space, and a maintenance kit, but you might
have to pay for some accessories. Maintenance kits come with such features as pumps
(for air-filled tires) and silicone spray (to keep wheels from squeaking.) If you have a
stroller with air-filled tires, make sure you check the pressure regularly and have a pump
and spare tube on hand.
Read our Review of the Graco SnugRide Travel System
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Tandem Strollers
Tandem Strollers such as the Joovy Caboose Stand On Tandem Stroller have one
seat directly behind the other. They’re the same width as single-passenger strollers and
fit through doorways and store aisles. But while the rear
seat can recline on some models, the front one usually can’t
without limiting the space of the rear passenger.
The Graco DuoGlider LX Stroller can be used for a toddler
and an infant, two toddlers, or twin babies. It weighs just
over 40 pounds. Heavy-duty strollers are somewhat bulky
but stable, deep, and roomy.
Some standard stroller might have shock absorbers on all wheels and many other
features, while others are bare-bones. Many tandem strollers have a two-step, onehanded release for folding. Some models are available as part of a travel system, and
some might fall into the combo category as well.
On some tandem strollers you can set the seats so the passengers face each other.
Others have a “stadium seat” that allows the child in back to see over the one in front.
There are also models, such as Explorer Buggy, that let one child sit in the front and
another in the rear, below the top seat. You can also find triple tandem strollers that will
hold three babies at once.
Tandem Strollers fit easily through standard doorways and elevator doors. A folded
tandem takes up just a little more space than a folded standard midsized stroller. Many
tandem stroller models accept an infant car seat in one or both stroller seats (but check
which brands of car seats are compatible before you buy).
Steering can be difficult on some tandem strollers, and it can be tricky getting over
curbs. Some models have limited leg support and very little legroom for the rear
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
passenger. They’re often quite heavy, which can make them difficult to manage if you’re
Read our Review of the Joovy Caboose Stand On Tandem Stroller
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Double Strollers – (Side-by-Side)
Double Strollers or Side-By-Side as they are
sometimes called, have two seats attached to a single
frame or a unit resembling two strollers bolted together.
The features on side-by-side strollers are similar to
those on single-passenger models. These types of
double strollers, such as the Maclaren Twin Triumph
Stroller works best for children of about the same weight,
such as twins. Each seat has an independent reclining
One of our favorite double strollers is the Joovy Scooter X2 Stroller manufactured by
Joovy. One of the best features of this brand of double stroller is that it is lightweight
and will fit through any door.
As you can see from the picture that most side-by-side strollers have double front
wheels which makes the stroller super stable. This is especially important if your kids
climb in and out of the stroller by themselves
For moms with two children and are on the go a lot, double strollers are just the ticket.
They are easy to fold and stick in the trunk of your car
without taking up a lot of space. When you are traveling
you sometimes want to take your stroller with you. Since
double strollers can sometimes be bulky and hard to move
around it’s important to pick one that will meet your needs.
If you are looking for a double stroller with larger wheels
and somewhat more versatile you may want to check out
the BOB Revolution SE Duallie Double Stroller.
This double stroller can be used for active mothers who like to jog with their babies. The
BOB Revolution SE has become a favorite. It’s easy to maneuver in tight places and the
larger tires on this stroller make for a comfortable ride.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Double strollers seem to go up curbs more easily than a tandem. Some side-by-side
models accept an infant car seat, though some brands limit it to one seat only. That
might be fine if you’ve got a newborn and an older child. If you’re shopping for infant
twins and you want a side-by-side, look for double strollers in which both seats recline,
and use the infant boot that comes with the stroller for both seats. Some models allow
you to attach infant car seats side by side as well.
If children of different weights ride in the stroller, it can veer to one side. A folded sideby-side stroller may require twice as much space as the equivalent single-occupant
version. Although manufacturers might claim that their double strollers are slender
enough to go through a standard doorway, it can be a tight squeeze. Some strollers
might not fit through some doorways or elevator openings.
Read our Review of the BOB Revolution SE Duallie Double Stroller
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Triple & Quad Strollers
When it comes to Triple Strollers and even Quad
Strollers to choose from there are only a handful of
manufacturers to choose from as the demand is
much lower compared to other types of strollers.
You can buy triple strollers and quad strollers where
the seats are directly behind each other or seats that
are side by side.
As you can see choosing the right baby stroller that
will meet your needs is not an easy task but you do have less to choose from when it
comes to triple strollers and quad strollers. In an effort to help you understand what is
available and to make the right choice we have listed below the some of the most
popular triple and quad strollers that are available.
Triple Strollers
Joovy Big Caboose Stand-On Triple Stroller (Read our Review)
Foundations Trio Triple Tandem Stroller
Peg Perego Triplet SW Stroller
Foundations Trio Triple Stroller
Peg Perego Complete Triplette SW Stroller
Trio Sport Triple Stroller
Mountain Buggy Urban Triple Stroller
Peg Pergo Triplette SW Stroller
Triple Jogger Strollers
BeBeLove USA Triple Jogging Stroller
Baby Jogger Summit Triple Stroller
Gig Caboose Stand On Triple Stroller
Quad Strollers
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Foundations Quad Four Child Stroller
SureStop Folding Commercial Bye-Bye Tandem Stroller
Shamrock Industries Quad 4-Passenger Baby Stroller
Quad Sport Stroller
Foundations 30-NM-B0 Commercial Quad Stroller
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Stroller Features to Be Aware Of When Choosing A Stroller
A stroller seems like a pretty basic thing–put your baby in, and off you go! But an
increasing number of manufacturers are making strollers, and as the choices (and
prices) increase, so do the number of features. You can get seats that flip direction (so
your child can face forward or back) or handlebars that reverse for the same net effect,
handlebars that adjust in height, consoles that hold up to three cups and even a built-in
sound system that connects to an iPod so your baby can listen to music. Some stroller
features will make your baby's ride safer and more comfortable, while others--such as
shopping baskets--are aimed at parents.
Restraint system
A five-point harness is the safest option. It secures a child
above the shoulders, at the waist, and between the legs, and
keeps your baby from sliding or falling out if the stroller tips,
or climbing out when you're not looking. It's better than a
three-point harness, which only secures the lower body at
the waist and crotch. Some models we tested in the past had
crotch straps that could be bypassed. A durable five-point harness with a crotch strap
will keep a baby or toddler from sliding down and out of the stroller.
According to ASTM International , formerly known as the American Society for Testing
and Materials, using a crotch strap is mandatory when a waist strap is in use. (The
same goes for the safety harness in your car seat and high chair, which must have a
crotch strap or post to keep baby from slipping out.)
Look for harness buckles that are easy for adults to operate, but difficult for small hands
to unfasten. If you're shopping with your baby, check the harness to make sure it's
strong and durable but also fits snugly as well as comfortably around your child. The
straps should be adjustable for proper fit, and securely anchored.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
A stroller with solid wheels rather than air-filled tires is
perfectly fine for most people. But some parents like
the look of all-terrain or jogging strollers, which come
with larger, often air-filled, tires and a rugged, off-road
appearance. Larger wheels do make it easier to
negotiate curbs or other rough or uneven paths--think
nature walks or strolling in the city. They're a bit
easier to push, but unless the wheels swivel, they
may be harder to maneuver on, say, a crowded city
street. A lockable front-swivel wheel is a good choice, and most all-terrains models have
that these days. Big wheels eat up trunk space, too. While you may like the feel of airfilled tires, they can become a maintenance chore, since the air pressure needs to be
maintained and a flat tire when you are out with baby could wreck your whole day.
Most strollers now have double wheels on the front that swivel to make steering easier.
Some feature two positions for the front wheels: full swivel (useful for smooth surfaces)
or locked in one forward-facing position (better for rougher terrain). When you choose a
jogging stroller, the safest option is a model with a fixed front wheel.
Leg holes and newborn safety
Carriages and strollers designed for newborns or young infants, if they're flat or fully
recline, must have leg holes that fully close so an infant can't slip through them.
Between 1995 and 2008, 10 infant deaths involved unharnessed babies whose bodies
slipped underneath the tray or grab bar in their strollers but whose heads were caught
up on the tray or bar, causing the babies to strangle. Manufacturers use mesh or fabric
shields or hinged, molded footrests that raise and clamp over the leg holes and can
resist 20 pounds of force. According to the industry's voluntary standard, if a stroller has
leg holes that can't be closed, the stroller shouldn't be able to fully recline. This standard
is meant to prevent using the stroller with a newborn. Even with the leg holes closed, we
recommend that the stroller's harness still be used to secure your baby.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
All strollers have parking brakes designed to keep the stroller from rolling when you are
stopped. Most jogging strollers also have bicycle-type hand-operated brakes for slowing
down and stopping.
Good brakes are of utmost importance to your child's safety. Many models have parking
brakes that are activated with plastic cogs that engage with the sprockets of the rear
wheels. Some traditional, umbrella, and combo strollers have "linked" two-wheel parking
brakes that are activated in a single stroke by pushing with your foot on a bar at the rear
of the stroller frame (the Joovy Caboose Ultralight is an example). Other models have
foot-operated tabs above each rear wheel. Avoid models that might hurt your feet when
you engage or disengage the brakes with light shoes or bare feet.
A canopy is a must-have for protecting your baby, especially in glaring sunlight or
inclement weather. Canopies include a simple fabric square strung between a metal
frame and deep pull-down versions that shield almost the entire front of the stroller.
Reversible (or 180-degree travel) canopies protect babies from sun or wind from ahead
or behind. Some canopies have a clear plastic “peek-a-boo" window on top so you can
keep an eye on your baby while you're strolling. The window (or viewing port) is a nice
feature; you'll use it more than you'd think. You can also buy a separate rain/wind shield
for most strollers and some brands offer additional parasols that clip onto the carriage.
Depending on the type, these can range in price. Graco offers a $15 clip-on parasol for
their umbrella strollers, while Bugaboo sells one for $40.
Stroller handles can be padded, and even thickly cushioned on more expensive models.
Adjustable handlebars can be extended or angled to accommodate people of different
heights. Reversible handles on some higher-end models can swing over the top of the
stroller and lock into position, changing the direction your baby is facing.
One-handed Opening/Folding Mechanism
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
This is essential for when you need to open or fold the stroller with one hand while
holding the baby with the other. The best strollers fold into compact positions in a matter
of seconds. Those that stay upright when folded are convenient when putting the stroller
in a closet or hallway, but make sure your child can't reach it and knock it over. Always
make sure your child is away from the stroller when you open or close it. Many serious
injuries to children have occurred during the opening and closing of strollers. (See
stroller safety tips.)
Play Trays
Strollers often have a tray where babies can rest their arms or keep snacks or toys (until
they toss the stuff off the tray, anyway). Some models have a grab bar instead of a tray.
A stroller tray or bar should be removable or swing open, rather than be permanently
attached to both sides, to make it easier to get your baby or toddler seated and
harnessed, to clean it in the sink, and possibly make it easier to fold the stroller. If the
tray comes with attached toys, make sure they are securely fastened and check their
size. Some strollers have been recalled because small parts on their play tray's toys
pose a choking hazard. (No toy part should be small enough to fit through a toilet-paper
A footrest can help your child sit more comfortably without their legs dangling, but many
are too low to help any but the tallest toddlers. Some higher-end models have
adjustable-height footrests. Likewise, you should check that the front rim of the seat is
soft and won't press uncomfortably into the back of your child's knees or legs.
Cup Holders
Many strollers have a cup holder for you
and one for your child. They're a welcome
feature for both--but keep hot drinks away
from your baby. (Make sure you read the
manufacturer's guidelines before you put a
steaming cup of java in your cup
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
holder.)The parent tray is usually molded with a cup holder or compartment for keys,
cell phone, and other small items. Some models let you buy a separate clip-on holder
for a cell phone or other small electronic device. If you get a stroller without a parent
tray, you can purchase various small bags or pouches made to strap onto the
handlebars, but they should be accessories approved by your stroller manufacturer.
Several strollers have protective leg coverings, "boots" or "foot muffs" made of a
matching fabric that can snap over baby's legs for warmth. That's a feature to look for,
especially if you live in a cold climate. But if your stroller-of-choice doesn't offer one, you
can by a separate stroller cover or and buntings for around $15 to $30. Some look like
miniature sleeping bags.
Shock absorbers
Many strollers of all types and price ranges (even umbrellas) have some type of
suspension or shock absorber (covered springs or rubber pads above the wheel
assemblies) near the wheel mechanism. Air-filled tires can help to give baby an even
smoother ride. Softer suspension offers a smooth ride, but a too-soft ride can come at
the expense of steering control. Make sure you like the feel of the stroller and how it
Fabric and upholstery
Today, the range of stroller fabrics and prints is far greater than ever before so you
should have no problem finding something that suits your style. Keep in mind that you
want a fabric that will make it easy to wipe up spit-ups and crushed snacks. It's great if
you can throw the entire seat cover into the wash without needing to worry too much
about shrinking, fading, or puckering.
Look for a removable seat and laundry instructions before you buy. There are usually
attached tags or printed instructions inside the packaging. It's also a good idea to make
sure that there are instructions for reattaching the cover after you've laundered it.
Reflectors or Reflective Trim
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Many strollers have this important safety feature. If yours doesn't, wear light-colored or
reflective clothing so you can be seen on gloomy days. Even with a stroller with
reflective trim, we don't suggest strolling near traffic in twilight or in the dark. Jogging
strollers especially should have reflectors on them.
Storage Areas
A roomy, easily accessible storage basket underneath the stroller makes errands with a
baby much easier. Sizes of baskets vary. Choose one that's at least big enough to
accommodate a diaper bag. If you choose a model that reclines, make sure that you
can reach the basket if the seat back is fully reclined, or if it's a travel system, when the
infant car seat is in place. When shopping for a stroller, press on the storage basket's
floor; it shouldn't drag on the ground when loaded. Some strollers have storage pouches
with elastic top edges in back of or in place of a storage basket. Follow the
manufacturer's recommendations for all storage areas. Don't hang any bags on
handlebars; the stroller can tip back if overloaded.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Manufacturers of Baby Strollers
We recently looked at strollers that range in price from $40 to $900. While Dorel,
Evenflo, BOB, Britax and Graco are the leading brands of baby products overall, they
are not necessarily the leading stroller brands in terms of sales. Use this guide to
compare strollers by brand (listed alphabetically).
BOB Gear - BOB (short for Beast of Burden) started out in 1994 making bike trailers for
child passengers. Today, the company also makes accessories for bike trailers,
strollers, and car seats, plus a variety of strollers for the active family.
Baby Jogger - The original creator of the three-wheeled jogging stroller still produces
joggers and all-terrain strollers (singles and doubles) in the midpriced range. It has also
recently introduced traditional strollers for everyday use. Available at specialty stores,
baby superstores, and online.
Baby Trend - This worldwide company has been manufacturing juvenile products for 22
years, from car seats to strollers to nursery centers to high chairs. Available online or
wherever children’s products are sold.
Britax - The company has been making car seats and strollers for more than 70 years.
It made its U.S. debut in 1996. Britax products are available through independent and
mass retailers.
Bugaboo - This high-end European stroller manufacturer became a huge sensation
after an appearance on a popular TV show in 2002. Its compact strollers are
customizable, easy to use, and some are available with a bassinet. Accessories include
adapters to convert the stroller seat to a car seat. Check the company’s website for
retailers in your area.
Chicco - Pronounced “kee-co,” this Italian brand was established in 1958. It is a
multinational company that specializes in making clothing and equipment for babies and
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
toddlers, including strollers, high chairs, car seats, and toys. Available online and at
most retailers.
Combi - Combi USA was established in 1989, a subsidiary of the Japanese-based
company that was established in 1957. It is recognized for its numerous baby products,
from play yards to swings to strollers. It also manufactures infant frame carriers and
most recently, car seats. Available at baby superstores and specialty retailers, and
Delta Children's Products - Established in 1967, Delta manufactures nursery and
toddler room furniture, strollers, bassinets, and play yards. Available at Target, Walmart,
Kmart, and Toys "R" Us.
Dorel - Dorel Juvenile Group manufactures the Safety 1st, Cosco, Quinny, Maxi-Cosi,
and InStep brands, plus licensed brands including Disney and Eddie Bauer. Available at
most retailers and online.
Evenflo - For more than 85 years, Evenflo has been making products for children from
birth to preschool age, including car seats, strollers, high chairs, and play yards, among
other baby care products. Available at most retailers and online.
Go-Go Babyz - This family-oriented company says it “develops unique solutions for
strollers and car seats,” such as the Travelmate. The company also claims to make
some of its products from recycled materials. Available at Babies "R" Us and Buy Buy
Baby, among others, and online.
Graco - From a metal-products company in the 1950s grew a baby products company
with the creation of the popular baby swing, Swyngomatic. Graco now manufactures a
full line of juvenile products, from nursery products and activity centers to strollers and
car seats. Available everywhere and online.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Hauck Fun for Kids - This British company was founded in 1921. Manufacturers of
infant bedding, cribs, high chairs, diaper bags, strollers, car seats, and travel beds, the
company also markets its products under the Disney, Esprit, Traxx, and i’coo brand
names. Available online.
InSTEP - Makers of fixed-wheel strollers, swivel-wheel strollers, bike trailers, and pedal
cars, this Madison, Wis., company is a division of Dorel Juvenile Group. Available at
Target, Toys "R" Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Buy Buy Baby, and other juvenile product
retailers, and on the company’s website.
Inglesina - An Italian company specializing in juvenile products such as strollers and
high chairs. Its stroller line includes lightweight, traditional, and pram-type strollers in the
medium-to-high price range. Inglesina is sold mostly at specialty stores and online.
J. Mason - J. Mason is a manufacturer of strollers, play yards, swings, and many other
products for babies.
Joovy - This family-run, U.S.-based company manufactures strollers, high chairs, and
play yards, with a full line of accessories for its products. It has sites in Dallas and
Orange County, Calif. Available online and at Buy Buy Baby.
Kelty - This company has a line of fitness products that includes child carriers and
single and double joggers. Available mostly at sporting goods stores and online.
Kolcraft - Founded in 1946, Kolcraft manufactures play yards, high chairs, walkers,
strollers, bassinets, bouncers, swings, and other juvenile furniture. The company is
partnered with brand names such as Jeep, Sesame Street, Contours, and Sealy to
produce a variety of children's products. Available online and wherever juvenile
products are sold.
Maclaren - Begun in 1965, when Owen Maclaren designed and patented his prototype
Baby Buggy, the B-01. Today’s Maclaren Buggys are descendants of the B-01, from the
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
lightweight frame to the durable fabric and one-hand-fold feature. Available where
junvenile products are sold and online.
Orbit Baby - A California-based manufacturer of high-end strollers, bassinets, and
toddler car seats. Infant car seats are part of the company’s travel system stroller.
Check the company’s website to find a dealer, or buy direct from the website.
Peg Perego - This Italian company has been making strollers, car seats, high chairs,
and other products for more than 60 years. These higher-priced products are available
at Target, Babies "R" Us, and online.
Quinny - A division of Dorel Juvenile Products Group, Quinny makes products that are
available at specialty juvenile product retailers, and on the company’s website.
Schwinn - A division of Dorel Products, Schwinn is available at Amazon, Target, Toys
"R" Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Buy Buy Baby, and other juvenile product retailers.
Baby products available at
Silver Cross - Making its debut in 1877 with a perambulator, this British company now
manufactures high-end strollers. Available through its U.S. website only.
Stokke - A Scandinavian company best recognized for its Xplory stroller. It also sells
baby furniture and accessories. It's a high-end brand that offers modern styles.
UPPAbaby - An eco-friendly American company, UPPAbaby manufactures midpriced
strollers and accessories. To reinforce its commitment to developing eco-friendly and
safe baby gear, UPPAbaby has joined forces with Healthy Child Healthy World.
Available at Buy Buy Baby and other specialty retailers, and online.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Zooper - This company's line includes lightweight, traditional, and double strollers and
all accept infant car seats. Available mostly at specialty stores and online.
Phil & Teds - A New Zealand company, it manufactures strollers, bassinets, portable
high chairs, baby carriers, and car seats for active families. Available at specialty stores
(check company website for retailers near you) and on the company’s website.
Safety tips
Using a stroller might seem intuitive, but it's easy to make mistakes and even cause
injury, especially while opening and closing one. Stroller and carriage accidents resulted
in about 14,000 injuries to children in 2009, with the vast majority resulting from falls.
Here are some other common lapses and how to avoid them so you can roll with
Get the Right Stroller Type
Umbrella strollers are generally not geared toward infants and don't let you attach an
infant car seat. Some newer, higher-end, lightweight strollers, however, can be
completely reclined for use with an infant. One umbrella stroller, retailing for about $150,
for example, reclines fully and has a "boot enclosure" so baby can't slip through.
Another pricier stroller (about $315) has four reclining positions, including flat, which is
great for babies who can't sit up yet.
Walk, Don't Run
You might be eager to get outside and get back to your exercise routine. But unless
they have adapters that let you mount an infant car seat, most all-terrain strollers and
jogging strollers are not suitable for infants younger than 6 months, and we don't
recommend them. The BOB Stroller Strides Fitness Stroller, for example, lets parents
attach a separate car seat to it. But even if you can find an all-terrain or jogging stroller
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
that lets you add on an infant car seat, that doesn't mean you should start running
sprints with your baby.
Although some manufacturers suggest that it's acceptable to run with babies as young
as a few months, our medical consultants have expressed concerns not only because of
the jostling an infant will experience but also because of the risk of a fall to both parent
and child.
Where safety is concerned, err on the side of caution. If you have no one to tend to your
baby while you go for a solo run, consider hiring a babysitter to watch him or her. Failing
that, don't take a child younger than a year for a run in a jogging stroller, and make sure
the child is secured with a 5-point harness.
Keep in mind that when you head to a store looking for an all-terrain model, they might
be mislabeled. A store might display a model and call it an "all terrain" when it's just a
regular stroller. We've also seen jogging strollers labeled incorrectly. If you want to be
sure--especially if you want to run with your baby when she's older--make sure you take
a look at the manufacturer's manual before you buy.
Practice, Practice
Take your time, read the manual that comes with your model, and try out all the features
before you take your child for a ride. For example, if the stroller has various positions,
can you lower the backrest easily? Are the buckles on the restraint straps snapping into
place properly? Do you know how to attach your infant car seat to the stroller or stroller
frame and lock it in place? Take your new wheels for a dry run before you put your baby
Don't Caution with Hand-Me-Down Strollers
A stroller purchased years ago might have since been recalled. Your neighbor might be
happy to hand you his old one, or you might have been storing one. Before you dust it
off, however, check with the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission
to see if it's been recalled.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Also check the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the
agency that recalls child car seats (which may have come with your travel system), for
their databases of child car seat recalls and defect investigations. Even if it hasn't been
recalled, an older stroller might not meet the latest safety standards. Besides, many
new strollers have features that make them easier and more fun to use.
Use Caution
When you lock the front door of your home or buckle your vehicle's safety belt, you're in
the habit of listening for that all important "click." Get in the same habit when opening
your child's stroller. It's easy to skip this step when you're in a rush, and some strollers
require force and effort to fully lock. Another young sibling might wedge a little finger in
a still-open hinge, or the stroller might fold up with your child trapped inside.
In the past few years there have been recalls issued by the Consumer Product Safety
Commission for several strollers because the hinges lacerated and in some cases
amputated children's fingers. Before you use a new or used umbrella stroller, make sure
that it comes with hinge covers.
Regularly check your stroller for wear and tear, and make sure sharp edges haven't
become exposed and that fabric isn't frayed. You can check the manufacturer's manual
for notes on maintaining the stroller.
Buckle up your Child
Use the restraint system every time you put your child in the stroller, just like you do
when placing him in a car seat. Even when your child is older or asleep, make sure that
the straps are in place and the restraint buckles are locked. (A really determined toddler
can wiggle out of a three-point harness, so opt for a five-point, over-the-shoulder
restraint system.) You'd be surprised how little it takes to bounce an unharnessed baby
out of his seat. A bump in a sidewalk or tipping the stroller up a curb awkwardly could
send your baby forward onto his face.
Navigating Stairs and Escalators
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
Don't ever take a stroller with a child in it onto an escalator; use a ramp or elevator
instead. If you absolutely have no choice, get another adult to help you. One person
should hold the stroller at the top and the other at the bottom.
You should also avoid taking your child up and down stairs when she is in a stroller. If
there is no ramp or elevator available, take your baby out, collapse the stroller, and
carry it. Many serious and even fatal stroller accidents have happened on staircases.
Wheels and Alignment
Misaligned and loose wheels can be a chronic problem with some strollers. One sign of
good construction is wheels that sit on the floor uniformly when a baby is on board.
Some models will let you remove a wheel if you need to buy a replacement, but this is
not true for every stroller on the market.
Don't Fail to Brake
It only takes a slight incline or a jostle to send a stroller rolling away from you. Lock the
brake when you take your hands off the stroller, even if you're stopping for just a
moment. If you're on or near a bus or train with your child in the stroller, always put the
brakes on.
Nap or Nighty-night?
If the stroller you buy comes with a bassinet for your infant, don't assume you can use it
as a bassinet. (Never use a Moses basket for overnight sleeping.) Check the
manufacturer's guidelines. Note whether you have to purchase a separate mattress for
the bassinet or whether the stroller system comes with it. Some manufacturers also
offer separate stands to put the stroller bassinet on when you're home. We haven't
tested those.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has safety standards for bassinets and
rules for strollers, but bassinets that attach to strollers have fallen through the cracks of
federal regulation. For one thing, there is no requirement that they have harnesses. To
address this concern, if you want a stroller that comes with a bassinet, look for one with
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
some sort of harness. A few manufacturers now include them, such as the Orbit
Bassinet Cradle G2 (which has a two-point harness) and the Quinny Dreami Bassinet
for Buzz Stroller (which has a three-point harness). Another option is simply to buy a
stroller that fully reclines and close off the leg holes.
Additionally, the CSPC requires that mattresses in stand-alone bassinets be no more
than 1.5 inches thick. This is to avoid very deep, plush surfaces where a child, unable to
turn over or turn his head, could suffocate. Gaps between the sides and the mattresses
should be no more than half an inch when the pad is placed in the center of the
We think the CPSC should require stroller bassinets to comply with the same standards
as stand-alone bassinets, and we suggest you keep those standards in mind if you
purchase a bassinet that attaches to a stroller.
Don't Hang Anything on the Handlebars
Resist the temptation to toss a shopping bag or diaper bag over the stroller's handles,
because there's a risk that the stroller will tip backward with your baby inside. Use the
basket under your stroller instead; if you know you'll want room for lots of stuff, look for
a stroller that has ample space. Adding long straps to your diaper bag or clips to your
stroller's handlebars to hold things is not a good solution and can upset the balance.
Unless the stroller manufacturer says something is an approved accessory for your
specific stroller, don't use it.
If you expect to carry more cargo than your stroller's basket can handle, use a light
backpack--worn on your back, not placed on the stroller handlebars--or bring along a
foldable, reusable shopping bag with long straps. You can hang the shopping bag on
your shoulder. Buying a large backpack-style diaper bag is also a hands-free way to
stow purchases and baby gear throughout the day.
Baby Stroller Buyers Guide
We are hopeful that this guide has helped you to learn more about baby strollers in
order for you to select the right stroller to meet your needs. For more information and
reviews on several baby strollers please visit our website at
One of the best places online that we have found to purchase Baby Strollers and
Accessories is at Amazon. Their prices are almost always lower than the local retail
stores and they have a great selection of baby products to choose from. Don’t forget to
sign up for the Baby Registry!
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