I have learned that there are few things that my son likes more than taking a ride in the stroller. The wind, sunshine, and noise, watching people and things pass by, he loves it all. Anytime he’s in a bad mood, a ride in the stroller can usually turn it around. Plus, lugging my son around is turning into a chore. He’s often asked, “Well, you don’t miss any meals, do you?” I’m definitely glad to have a stroller.
A lot of thought went into picking out a stroller, and to my surprise, there were more options than I thought there would be. My wife and I walked down isles of so many strollers, including traditional, jogging, all-terrain, and umbrella strollers, and even these expensive carriages that look like something out of the 1920s. There were also some of the most terrifying things I have ever seen, side-by-side and tandem strollers for twins and triplets. So, how do you know which one is the one for you?
You have to consider your lifestyle and what features will match it. Consider factors such as cost, size, weight, convenience, and, like with all baby things, safety. I talked to three other fathers about what they looked for when shopping for a stroller.
“Safety is of course our first concern,” said Lincoln Hoppe, actor and father of five. “After that I consider portability. I don’t want a big cumbersome stroller. I want to get it in and out of the trunk quickly. Ease is an important word when you have a baby. At 6’2″, having a stroller with high handles is also important. I don’t want to have to hunch over to push the stroller. I love a stroller that can hold a car seat and has a good basket for diapers and things.”
When asked what he looks for in a stroller, Kevin Grout, higher education administrator and father of three, said, “Definitely durability because you want a stroller that will withstand the rigours of daily life, including having a toddler pulling, chewing, and potentially jumping on it. A cup holder is certainly helpful. Even if you’re not the coffee-toting type, it comes in handy for storing your keys, or a water bottle during a hot summer walk. Also great for keeping a sippy-cup out of the hands of a toddler who likes to throw things overboard.”
Kevin Yuen, new father and creator of Letter Buddies, and his wife were also surprised about everything you need to consider when shopping for a stroller. He said, “There are so many different brands and models available now that the process of choosing the right stroller was surprisingly more difficult that we would’ve expected. It was definitely harder than purchasing our last car.”
Yuen went on to talk about some of the key factors he and his wife looked for in a stroller. They wanted it to be light enough to easily lift in and out of the trunk of their car, have a simple folding mechanism that their parents could use if needed, not be too short for him or too tall for her, and have enough storage for a blanket, toys, or anything else they may need. One of their main considerations, though, was the comfort of the ride for their child. “We looked at seat padding, shocks, tires, and tried to determine which stroller would offer the smoothest trip for our child,” said Yuen.
Considering what these fathers have looked for, let’s compare two of the most popular types of strollers: traditional and all-terrain. Traditional strollers will have solid rubber tires on small, plastic wheels. Many models have shocks to cushion the ride, but these strollers may not roll well on rough or uneven surfaces. On the other hand, an all-terrain stroller will have large, metal wheels with inflatable rubber tires, which give an air-cushioned ride and make the stroller easier to push. These will roll well on just about any surface, though the tires can go flat.
A traditional stroller’s seat is often a little more padded. You are able to attach an infant car seat to some models of all-terrain strollers, otherwise, they typically aren’t suitable for children under six months of age, whereas a traditional stroller can be used for newborns. All-terrain strollers typically have a higher maximum weight capacity, giving them a longer lifespan.
Both models will have trays, cup holders, a good amount of storage underneath for a diaper bag, blanket, toys, or whatever you need, and a reclining seat. Both will fold up, though a traditional stroller, due to the smaller wheels, will typically fold up smaller and weigh less.
However, if you’re looking for the simplest stroller out there, you may want to consider an umbrella stroller. They’re very lightweight and often fold up small enough to be carried in one hand. They are also one of the least expensive types of strollers. Umbrella strollers have the same wheels and tires as traditional strollers, but they don’t have shocks. They also have no or limited storage, no cup holders, and are small, requiring taller people to bend over when pushing them. The seat is not very cushy and most don’t recline. These are also typically not suitable for children under six months of age or over 35-40 pounds. Many parents purchase one of these as an extra stroller that’s light, small, easily portable, and good for short strolls.
A stroller is often one of those “big purchases” that new parents have to make. They can be pricey and, as you can see, have several factors that need to be considered. So, if you’re in the market for a stroller, don’t just pick out the first one you see because it’s cheap and looks nice. You want to make sure it’s the type of stroller you need, one that will be convenient and comfortable for you to use, as well as safe and comfortable for your child. Whichever stroller you choose, the most important thing is to read the instructions so you understand how to safely use the stroller and secure your child properly.