Stroller shopping guide
When I started shopping for a stroller I had no idea how stressful it was going to be. There are so many factors to consider. Each range in price, size, weight, style and features. There are literally thousands to choose from! So I came up with this list of the most important factors to consider now that I've done countless hours of research and actually purchased my own (you can find my selections by visiting the site, All Moms Are Perfect) or my selection of excellent lightweight strollers.
1. Weight: I did not realize how important this factor was when I bought our first stroller. It ended up being too heavy and too big to fit in our SUV trunk. It did fit...but nothing else could go into the trunk. It was also so heavy I had to take the stroller seat off the stroller frame in order to lift each piece individually into our trunk. I strongly advise that you look up the weight of any stroller you like and even lift it up a few times to see if it's manageable. Our second stroller was much lighter and compact. I could easily take it apart and lift it onto our trunk with one hand.
2. Size: As a new mom, I spent a lot of time hanging out at local parks, the Zoo, the kids area in malls, and at the grocery store with my little one. In these places I hated taking up a ton of space. Some shops have aisles that didn't even allow me to pass through with my stroller. You don't want to be the person that takes up the entire elevator either. So consider the width of your stroller when browsing for that perfect one. The size that your stroller folds down to should also be reviewed to ensure it fits nicely in your trunk. I really liked the extra room our second stroller gave us in our trunk.
3. Sunshade: My son hates it when the sun is shining directly on his face. With my first stroller, the shade didn't cover his entire face well at various angles so I would have to drape a blanket on top of the shade. The second had a wonderfully large canopy that always covered his face. Some strollers come with umbrella accessories that you could purchase to provide extra shade for you and your baby, but who wants another inconvenient attachment to their stroller?
4. All-Terrain Wheels: My first stroller has large wheels and a locking mechanism so that I could go jogging (not that I ever did) without having to worry about wobbly wheels. It's nice to have all-terrain wheels even though most of my walks are on paved roads. We sometimes walk on grass or bumpy roads and the wheels do maneuver more smoothly than smaller wheels. You don't have to get a jogging stroller with the giant wheels. They do have strollers with medium sized wheels.
5. Handles: I have a stroller with a bar handle that extends all the way from left to right and I have a stroller with separate handles. I haven't discovered any significant difference in the maneuverability of these two different styles. The only difference is that with the bar, I can push with my waist if both hands are holding things (rarely happens). It's just a matter of comfort. I would highly recommend that you get a stroller with adjustable handles that go up and down depending on the height of the stroller pusher.
6. Price: Strollers will range in price drastically. You can get cheap umbrella strollers for $14 or spend $1000 on a nice Stokke Explory luxury stroller. I got one expensive one and one mid-level one, both for more than half off by finding them on craigslist and ebay. Once you find the one you want, look for alternative ways to get them. You may be lucky enough to find it brand new or in gently used condition. The most important thing to remember about price is that you may be able to resell it after you're done using it. If it's a brand that is in demand, you'll get a decent purchase price.
7. Storage: I have a small 10lb toy poodle who loves to ride along when I take a stroll with our baby. He has the perfect little seat in the stroller basket. You may not have a dog, but I'm sure you'll still love having extra storage space to put your diaper bag, blankets, food, or anything else you want to lug along. Make sure the basket is sturdy. Our second, lightweight stroller had a weak basket that dragged along whenever we put stuff in it. Test out the stroller at the store by putting stuff in the basket and pushing it around. You'll be able to see how well it maneuvers this way too.
That's my complete list of things you should consider when shopping for that perfect stroller! Good luck! Make sure you read my other articles on preparing for the hospital, surviving pre-eclampsia and things you might not expect when you're expecting.