Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Choosing a Stroller

By Christina VanGinkel

Choosing a stroller for your new little bundle of joy will result in you being happy with the choice if you first take the time to consider how you plan to use it. I would also like to note that an umbrella style stroller is nice for leaving in the trunk of your car for those times when you suddenly realize that a stroller would come in handy, but should not be considered a suitable choice for use as your everyday stroller. Some lightweight styled strollers that are gussied up umbrella styled strollers may pass as you stand alone stroller, but only if you do not plan on using it for any rugged terrain, even occasionally, as they do not offer the support for your infant that a more stylized stroller would.

A Standard stroller is suitable for everyday use, at the mall, around the block, even out in the yard. If you happen to find yourself at the park and wanting to go off the beaten path though, the wheels on most standard strollers will not hold up, or will just be plain old hard to push. Most standard styled strollers have plenty of storage for things like your bottle of water, handbag, diaper bag, even a few shopping bags. I prefer those, which can have the handle switched from rear facing to forward facing with just the tug of the handle latches. This makes the stroller very convenient to use when your baby is still an infant, so you can keep an eye on him or her, but when they get a bit older and want to see where they are going, simply moving the handle will keep them happy as they sight see. Some standard styled strollers also come with the option of allowing an infant car seat or tote to snap right onto the seating area, so it is extremely convenient for use with an infant. If the stroller you choose does not have this feature, I would recommend one whose footrest snaps upward, and the seat folds completely flat, in essence forming a buggy to cradle an infant for a walk. A tray that flips up and down, making it easier to put your squiggly toddler in an out of the stroller, with room on the tray for a few toys or a sippy cup when baby is a bit older, is also a convenient feature to look for. Be sure that the safety straps are easily adjustable too, so it will not be difficult to keep baby strapped safely in as they grow.

If jogging or running with baby is an interest of yours, you should consider a stroller specifically made for this purpose. Many models come with a front, oversized wheel, but be sure you consider what type of terrain you plan on jogging through, when choosing a model. Wheel materials can differ, and it is important that you choose wisely to keep baby safe. Some models come with their own air pump, and features such as odometers and height adjustable handlebars. Some even come with advanced features such as music access points for your MP3 player so both you and baby can listen to tunes while you jog. Be sure to compare how a model maneuvers too, preferably pushing them a bit to get the feel for how they go. If you are not comfortable pushing it around a showroom, chances are, it will be even worse when trying to jog with it.

Any style stroller you choose should easily fold, preferably one handed, and open just as easily, because there may come a time when you only have one hand to open or close it while holding baby in your other. A lock on the back wheels that is both easy to engage, but secure when locked in place, is also of importance. If you have twins, or even two children close in age, it will be to your benefit to purchase a stroller made for fitting more than one child. Traditional buggies can also be nice to have when your infant is first born, and if you plan to use it frequently, have the space to store it, and can afford to purchase another stroller just a few months down the line when your infant outgrows this old fashioned form of travel, by all means indulge yourself!

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