A stroller is something all new parents will have to consider and believe us it seems harder then buying a bicycle or a car as everyone takes part in the decision process. Did you know that more dads get involved in stroller purchases than any other category of baby products.
As this is one of your bigger purchases, you’ll want to make sure you pick the right one. And there are a lot more choices on the market than there used to be in terms of style, price, and function. In the beginning it sounds very complicated! Well it kind of is, but once you have an understanding of the different types, their benefits, and how that matches up to your needs as a parent, you can start to discover what you want and ask the right questions.
When buying a stroller you may think we are speaking in code, so here is a simple Glossary of Terms!
Standard strollers – also referred to as prams, trolleys or carriages. These are the larger, sturdier, and more expensive strollers. Most have a bassinet stage, allowing the baby to lie flat, as well as a reclining seat for when the child is old enough to sit up. Usually fully loaded, these strollers are all about adaptability and the child’s comfort. Babysouk’s favored brands include Phil&Teds and Mountain Buggy for this category.
Travel Strollers / Umbrella strollers – These folding strollers are called umbrella strollers for their curved, umbrella like handles and easy, single-handed folding. Although, new designed have them fold more square, in the like of Mountain Buggy Nano and Babyzen Yo Yo they can even fit in overhead lockers on planes and trains. They’re the best option for a high-quality, lightweight, durable stroller that’s ideal for hopping in and out of cars, travelling, or navigating small spaces. The umbrella stroller is most parents’ must-have second stroller—and for most, it’s the preferred choice for the toddler stage.
Universal systems – a collapsible frame that you can click your infant car seat into—more like a wheeled accessory for your car seat rather than a true stroller. This option is called a universal system because it’s made to work with any infant car seat. (you just need to purchase a car seat adaptor).
Travel Systems – similar to the universal system, travel systems have a universal frame that can hold a car seat, but also come with a simple toddler seat that will work as a lightweight stroller until the child is around four years old. Sometimes referred to as “convenience strollers,” they’re also similar to an umbrella stroller, although often not quite as lightweight or durable.
All-terrain strollers – these are the sport-utility vehicles of the stroller world, and a great alternative to buying both a full-size stroller and a separate jogger. Typically, these have all the features of a full-size stroller, including a bassinet stage. But they also offer easier maneuvering, durability, and lightweight, full-suspension wheels. Most include a universal functionality that lets you use them with your infant car seat. Babysouk’s recommended stroller is the Mountain Buggy Swift as ticks all the boxes.
Joggers – these three-wheeled strollers are aerodynamically designed for the serious runner. Made for either trail or street running, they’re relatively lightweight and include a hand brake and a safety strap for the parent’s wrist. They tend to be a bit less maneuverable in small spaces than an all-terrain, as a trade-off to their more aerodynamic design. The ultimage jogging stroller is the Mountain Buggy Terrain
Doubles and triples – you can only push one stroller at a time—but what if you have more than one child? For twins, or if you have more than one stroller-aged child, a double stroller is a good solution. One style is a side-by-side stroller, which is good for togetherness, the other style is an in-line stroller that places one child in front of the other. Both are available in a lightweight umbrella style or a sturdier full-size style. Mountain Buggy, Phil&Teds and BabyJogger has great options. We have also created a handy souk on babysouk if you are shopping for twins.
Your Primary Stroller:
- If your lifestyle consists of limited walking, using your car to get around, and you need space for your bags including your child’s things, you’ll likely prefer a full-size, fully-loaded stroller as your primary stroller.
- If you want all the bells and whistles of a full-size stroller but you’re an active parent who likes to be outdoors a lot, and if you normally use your car to get around (rather than having to navigate public transportation), you’ll get the highest value and fit with an all-terrain stroller for your primary stroller.
- If you’re going to be taking public transportation a lot and need portability, or if you’re a minimalist who would prefer to carry your child as much as possible, you may be able to get away with just an travel / umbrella stroller that you can start using a few months into parenthood. The Mountain Buggy Nano is a great option as you can attach a car seat making it a compact travel system in a instant. Alternatively, the Babyzen Yo Yo have a newborn pod for 0-6m and then a 6m+ seat, making it a lightweight newborn stroller.
Your secondary stroller:
- Almost all parents who have a full-size or all-terrain stroller also end up buying an travel stroller, especially in the UAE as we do like to travel. For some, this is a must-have travel companion, and for others, it offers ease and flexibility for quick jaunts. Some parents end up ditching their full-size altogether and using this as their main stroller from about two years old on.
- No matter what their primary stroller choice, serious runners will typically also invest in a jogger. Increasingly, joggers are more and more like regular strollers, offering things like adapters for infant car seats. However, the more features like this it offers, the less likely it’s ideal for the serious jogger.
- Travel systems are purchased mostly by frequent travellers, although with the greater durability of lightweight travel strollers—not to mention the option of renting a car seat along with your rental car.
- Double strollers often become a second stroller for parents with more than one child. Most still prefer the single-stroller option for one-on-one time, but need the two-kid setup for single-parent outings with multiple kids. In line strollers are the go to option in these scenarios.
Other factors to consider: Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you get started.
- Are you a city dweller who has to navigate curbs, rough surfaces, and public transportation? Think small and lightweight, but durable.
- Are you a suburban mom who drives most places and only uses the stroller on smooth surfaces? You have room for a lot more stroller, but you’ll still need to be able to lift it in and out of a car easily.
- Are there stairs in your daily life? Don’t forget that you’ll probably be climbing the stairs with a stroller in one hand and a baby in the other, so factor weight and collapsibility into your purchase decision.
For the most part, you’ll find there’s a trade-off between a stroller’s size and weight and its durability. If you live in the city and want something that’s easy to get around with, you may want a stroller that’s smaller, leaner and easier to handle — even if you might have to replace it in a year. However, if you don’t have to navigate stairs, and storage isn’t an issue, you might want a bigger, sturdier stroller that can take a lot more abuse and will last for more than one child.
More and more, you can find one stroller to accommodate different stages, rather than having to buy different strollers at different ages. In general, strollers will work for up to around 40 pounds or four years. Joggers tend to be used longer—up to 50 pounds on average.
- As a general rule, a stroller is only appropriate for a newborn if it has a fully reclined position, whether it’s a bassinet or just a seat that reclines all the way. You’ll use your stroller in the fully reclined position for the first six months of your baby’s life. After that, your child will be in the toddler seat (taking advantage of the different levels of recline) until he or she outgrows strollers altogether.
- Some joggers now offer full-recline or a bassinet stage, but it is generally not recommended to use the stroller for high-impact activity or jogging until the baby is at least six months old.
- Most double strollers have seats that recline individually, meaning one baby can lie back while the other sits up. This is key when you have children at different ages.