Your baby’s first wheels are probably one of the most important hardware purchases you’ll make. We help you figure out how to choose the best baby stroller for you and your little one.
Walk into the stroller section of any baby product retail shop and be prepared to be baffled. The variety of brands, styles and features available are so overwhelming, you wonder how babies ever survived back in the old days! From the light and portable Ultra-compact strollers to sturdier Comfort models that offer a whole suite of accessories like detachable bassinets and car seats, where do we even start?!
The three most important factors for selecting a stroller, says Claire Xiao, 30, account manager at Bugaboo, are:
- Baby’s comfort
- Ease of use
- The ability to move freely
You’ll also need to think about who you are buying the stroller for. Babies have different needs at each stage of growth, and the type of stroller should suit each stage accordingly.
Newborns (0-3 months)
In the first months of life, infants spend most of their time sleeping.
Buy: A stroller with a bassinet or one that can recline all the way.
Think about: A bassinet that doubles as an infant car seat can be useful. You may want to include an additional insert that is designed to cradle a newborn’s head, neck and body.
Baby (3-12 months)
Now baby is a little bigger and learning to sit up by themselves. Your little one is also beginning to discover the joy of making eye contact.
Buy: A stroller which allows them to face you. Being able to see you can also help to provide a sense of security, even in unfamiliar places.
Think about: An adjustable seat position and sun canopy will come in useful when baby needs to nap.
Toddler (12 months and up)
By this stage, your tot is all kinds of inquisitive and ready to explore the world.
Buy: A stroller that allows them to face away from you so that they can take in their surroundings.
Think about: It’s important that their stroller offers good back support to ensure they are not hunched over in their seat.
(See also: 10 Stylish Strollers For Baby (and you!)
Other factors to think about are cost, space, and your lifestyle.
Of course, cost is an important consideration. However, be mindful that your stroller is a long-term investment that you will use daily, Claire advises. “If you have a really tight budget, buy from a good brand that makes a durable product,” she says.
A stroller designed to last many years means that you can pass it on to a friend or sell it secondhand once your toddler no longer needs it. Better brands usually offer replacement parts and fabric sets, which means you can easily refresh an old stroller and make it good as new.
Many of us live in apartments and having a bulky stroller around can make small spaces seem even smaller. “If you have limited space, go for the middle ground. Foldable Compact strollers are great solutions for small spaces. Check how and where you want to store your stroller, and then look for one that can easily fold and fit that space,” says Claire.
Plans for Baby Number Two
Planning to heed the country’s call to have more babies? Invest in a stroller which you can use for your child from newborn to toddler, and continue using for your second child, instead of purchasing multiple cheap ones.
“When your second baby is on the way, you can get a wheel board that will allow your toddler to stand or sit alongside their baby brother or sister in the stroller. You can also plan ahead and purchase a stroller that converts to a Duo stroller, which gives you more mileage,” Claire says. Duo strollers accommodate two children, and are usually made for twins.
Lifestyle: 4 questions to ask before buying a stroller
1. Is there a lift where we live? The weight of the stroller is an important factor. A rugged all-terrain stroller is sturdy and attractive, but it may be too much to handle if you need to carry it, plus Baby, and a diaper bag, up and down flights of stairs every day. Remember to take any regular caregivers’ (such as grandparents’ or nanny’s) homes into consideration too.
2. Do we use public transport? If you use public transportation like taxis, buses and MRT trains to get around, then a compact stroller is your best bet. Strollers that allow you to close and open them with one hand can be a godsend too.
3. Where will we use the stroller? Just to the neighbourhood park, or shopping malls in town? Your answer to this one will help you decide if a big under-seat basket will come in handy. If the stroller is to double up as a ‘grocery cart’, don’t pick an ultra-compact stroller. These lightweight strollers are toppling risks.
4. Will we be travelling overseas frequently? Consider strollers that will be allowed in the cabin. Some airlines let you store a stroller in the overhead compartment if it meets size requirements. Others may let you bring Baby in the stroller all the way to the door, then hold it in safekeeping and return it upon landing. Some detachable bassinets and infant car seats are approved for use on certain airlines.
Once you’ve taken all these elements into consideration, you can then make a choice that best fits your family. No sweat!
Selected images courtesy of Bugaboo