I’ve noticed that expectant parents pour oh-so-much thought into what kind of stroller to buy, and usually some hundreds of dollars into buying it, and then a year later want to ditch it for a lightweight stroller anyway. That big “first stroller” is a lifesaver when you have a tiny infant to move around, but as soon as your kid is sturdy enough to sit in a smaller stroller, that scaled-down piece of gear can save you a lot of hassle.
Our June issue of American Baby has a lightweight stroller guide. These are sometimes also called “umbrella strollers” because they fold up pretty small and are easy to carry. Note that we don’t show any of the under-$50 models that are more or less a sling of fabric on wheels. Those can be okay for short outings with preschoolers, but if your child is still 2 or under, I recommend something that can recline back, that has a basket to hold your stuff, and that has a canopy to keep the sun away.
Breaking news: Zulily has a sale starting June 22 on BeBeLove strollers that does include an umbrella stroller that reclines and has a canopy for a crazy $28! It’s this little blue number here. I seriously don’t think you can find a better bargain than that!
Probably the #1 question we get (after “can my baby be on the cover?”) is “what stroller should I buy?” It’s a combination of the fact that there are so very many out there, and that it’s such a pricey item. After all, if you buy a bottle that your baby rejects, that’s $6 to $10 down the drain. But if the set of wheels you pick ends up being a dud, you may have wasted a couple hundred dollars (or more!).
It’s impossible to point to any one stroller and say that it has everything. The ones that turn easily and roll smoothly are more expensive, and heavier to lug around. The ones that are lightweight and easy to lift often don’t fully recline for a newborn, so are best for toddlerhood. A car-seat carrier—basically, a stroller without a seat, which you sit your car seat on top of—is fantastic for the first few months, but isn’t going to take you to baby’s first birthday. A travel system (stroller and car seat that go together) comes close to being perfect, as long as the brands you want for each are the same or compatible.
So here, in a nutshell, is what we tell friends who ask for stroller-shopping advice. First, be realistic about your budget. It’s odd that as our economy tightens, stroller prices climb. We can count more than a dozen brands that sell a stroller for more than $500. But if you can’t go there without falling into debt, aim lower. There are good models for a lot less money.
Second, if you have mom friends who live like you do, check in with them. Stroller preferences are regional. Here in New York City, we see a lot of UppaBaby, which have sturdy wheels and some weatherproofing (because most of us don’t have cars!). In much of the country, though, Graco is king; their strollers are affordable and easy to get into your vehicle. If you go to the mountains, however, you’ll see a lot more Baby Jogger and BOB strollers, which roll along trails. See what moms like you use, for a reality check.
JJCole's new Monroe stroller, out in 2012, will be priced under $200.
Third, decide on one thing that’s vital for you. We know you want everything, but pick: Is price the bottom line? Ease of fold? Size of basket? Color or pattern? Snack tray or cupholders? Is the brand first and foremost? Once you figure out your priority, put your blinders up and don’t get distracted by strollers that don’t offer what you’re looking for.
Finally, go push the stroller you’re considering in-person. It could be in a store, or you could just road-test a friend’s ride. Online shopping is everything these days, but there’s no substitute for walking behind a stroller to see how it feels. When you find one you like, you’ll know it. And even if it’s not 100 percent right for everyone, it will hopefully be perfect for you.
Ever see a child in a sitting in a stroller and think, “He’s way too old for that stroller”? (I sure did, last weekend.) In a funny coincidence, ABC News recently featured a story about kids too big to still be using a stroller. The story highlights a photo blog started two years ago that posts pictures of kids too big (because of their age) for strollers. Titled “Walk,” the blog can be found at TooBigForStroller.com.
Started as an inside joke, the blog’s rising popularity has lead the blogger, Laura Miller, to be berated by defensive parents who see Miller’s blog as a cruel critique on the difficulties of parenthood. While some parents still find it convenient to put kids in strollers, most experts agree kids should start transitioning out of strollers around age 3.
By 4 or 5 years old, kids should showcase their self-reliance and confidence by walking on their own. Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician and advisor for Parents, shared with ABC News: ”By this age, kids should be able to follow directions, listen to you and hold hands when you’re crossing the street,” she says. “In this day and age when our children are becoming more sedentary, you’re sending the wrong message by chauffeuring them around.”
However, strollers can still be beneficial when parents are in crowded, public places and need a way to keep tabs on their kids. While the American Academy of Pediatrics does not have specific guidelines for when kids should stop sitting in strollers, there are benefits to getting kids out of strollers sooner than later: kids will learn how to exercise, develop motor skills, and be more independent.
The strollers were recalled because when the consumer unfolds/opens the stroller, the hinge mechanism poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to a child. Since the original recall, Maclaren received an additional 37 injury reports. The additional injuries include five fingertip amputations, 16 lacerations and 16 fingertip entrapments/bruising.
This recall involves about one million Maclaren single and double umbrella strollers sold before November 2009. The word “Maclaren” is printed on the stroller. Maclaren strollers sold after May 2010 have a different hinge design and are not being recalled. The strollers were sold at Juvenile product and mass merchandise retailers nationwide from 1999 through November 2009 for between $100 and $360.
The CPSC advises consumers to stop using the stroller and call Maclaren toll-free at 977- 688-2326 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a free repair kit to get hinge covers.
If you’re an urban dweller with limited room for a bulky stroller—or if you’re just sick of banging into it every time you’re in the foyer, this may be the product for you. Metro Tots StrollAway is a new over-the-door hook that was designed by an NYC mom who just couldn’t find a good place to keep her stroller. The hook fits most models and has a spacer to let it adjust to the width of your closet door. Now you just have to clear out some closet space to make room for the hanging stroller!