I became a father in 2014 and now I really learn to appreciate the stroller we bought. Since it was a quite cumbersome decision I want to share my experiences with you. I found it quite hard to select a proper one despite all the ratings around.
- Steps required: This is quite straight forward. Check how big the stroller is when it folds. Is it one step or does it require several. In our case it were several. Removing the baby bowl folding the stroller and removing front and back wheels separately. At least 6 separate steps if you count the folding as one. For us compact sizing was not that important.
- Complexity of folding: This may seem strange. However, especially when folding does not work smoothly it can be an issue for other people like grandpa and grandma. My grandfather still struggles with our stroller. So if you plan to share you stroller with a babysitter or similar this might be an issue for you.
- Horizontal distance between grip and stroller compared to your step width
- What does this mean? So let’s say you are a big guy and you want to enjoy “strolling”. Imagine your feet always touching the stroller or alternatively stoop when this does not fit. So if you are bigger than let’s say 180cm, check if you can walk quickly without stooping our touching the stroller with your feet. Good strollers provide an adjustable grip to deal with these cases.
- Size of the wheels: In short: Bigger is better. Why? The bigger the wheels the less they are prone to obstacles on your way. On rough paths for example, it will be much easier for you to push the stroller as small wheels tend to abruptly stop in front of an obstacle.
- Chassis clearance: This one seems odd but actually it can come in handy quite often. The chassis clearance is the distance between the ground and the lowest part of your stroller. If it is too small then escalators entering a bus can get tricky. With a higher chassis clearance you can put your stroller skewed on escalators. The front wheels on the upper stair and the back wheels on the lower stair (which is not a problem for the child if you go upstairs). When entering a bus you might be able to just tilt the stroller and get in with the front wheels and lift the back wheels afterwards. Especially if your are using these low floor buses quite common in Europe. Good strollers may provide a flexible lower stroller basket which allows for more chassis clearance when needed.
- Air wheels: This one is a no-brainer. On rough underground air wheels provide additional suspension to the child. Good strollers have this. However, if you do not plan to use non-flat underground this may not be that important to you.
- Fully rotating wheels at the front + fixable: Do you plan to use your stroller a lot in small places like public transport or a mall? Yes? Then you should go for fully rotating front wheels which make a huge difference when maneuvering through clothes hangers, within a bus or in other compact places.
If you plan to go jogging with the stroller then fixable or even fix wheels might be the way to go. The faster you go the less useful rotating wheels tend to be.
- Total weight: Pretty standard. The less weight the better. You will have to lift your stroller quite often. This helps.
- Weight of the baby bowl: You will be using the baby bowl only the first months but you will carry it around a lot in theses days. So for obvious reasons, it helps when it is lightweight.
- Rain / Sun hood:
- Yes it may rain and thus a rain hood is pretty standard. However, often it is sold separately. There might be even a separate rain hood for the baby bowl and the buggy attachment. For both of them it can help if they also support the lying position, if your child is asleep and you need to change locations in the rain. It also helps when they have a zipper to open up the front when you go from outside to somewhere inside and do not not want to remove the complete rain hood every time. For the sun hood be sure to check if it still works when the child is lying. Good strollers provide an extensible one when you choose the lying position.
- Shopping basket
- Well yes. You will be carrying around a lot of additional stuff for your child so why not use this situation to put all your other belongings into the stroller. Good strollers offer a lot of storage.
- Yes. suspension is also important. Dependent on the stroller you will find several approaches. Suspension is usually introduced within the frame but may not be limited to that. Some stroller offer air wheels or even include single wheel suspension. But be aware. The fancier the suspension the easier it will break usually. This happened to a friend of mine.
- That goes without saying. Imagine your child falling out of the stroller because it breaks. Nothing I want to think of when using an escalator or quickly lifting the stroller up somewhere. So test before you buy. Usual lifting is done via the bar and somewhere in the front. So there should be stable positions to do this.
- Child position:
- Height of the sitting child: Yes your child wants to look at things :). Some strollers tend to be quite low. This may annoy your child when it cannot see the table in a restaurant when you are using it as a child seat replacement or when you are going through areas with many people.
- Lying position of the buggy attachment:
- Especially a smaller child goes to bed early. If you are not at home and cannot use a baby bed, then it temporarily can help if you can change the buggy to a comfortable lying position.
- Attachable “maxi cosi” child seat adapter
- When you use your car very often, this can help. For some strollers you can put a maxi cosi child seat on top of the general stroller and thus move your baby from car to stroller easily without waking it up.
- “Toppling prevention”
- Your stroller should not easily topple. Especially strollers with three big wheels seem to be affected by this. So if you are buying a stroller be sure to check how easily it topples. Be also sure to check where additional bags can be put. If they tend to be placed where the handle is and the stroller easily topples to the back…
- If you plan to go jogging with your stroller, this is a must. In every other case it is barely needed if you are not living in a very hilly area.
So I hope this helps. In the end, we bought the Mutsy IGO with a little help from my parents. So far we are very happy with it.
If I could help you, you have feedback or anything else, please drop a comment.