How to Buy: A Stroller

Sure, comfort and style are important; but when it comes to choosing baby’s new wheels, that’s just the beginning.

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The BumpBy Paula Kashtan for

With the seemingly endless stroller options and technologies on the market, picking one out can feel even more confusing than buying a new car. And with so many different styles directed at some many different lifestyles, there’s simply no way to say which one’s “best.” There are, though, some basic, nonnegotiable features that you should look for in any stroller.

Newborn appropriate:
Since newborns aren’t yet able to sit up on their own, they need a seat that either fully reclines or accommodates an infant carrier. If you go for the carrier, make sure it’s easy to lock into the stroller.

All babies belong in a five-point safety harness that’s easy to buckle and adjust.

Look for one that’s large enough to shield baby from the sun, wind, rain, and any other unexpected elements.

Check how easy it is for the brakes to become disengaged -- some will unintentionally unlock with just a slight amount of pressure. Also look for ease in both locking and unlocking the breaks (number two is often overlooked).

Make sure any features where baby’s fingers or toes could potentially get pinched -- moving handles, baskets, etc. -- are out of baby’s reach or safely covered.

Ask yourself
Once you’ve considered the basics, start asking yourself some questions about your lifestyle and what you really want out of a stroller. Some things to consider:

  • What kind of weather will you be using it in?
  • Are you in an urban or suburban environment? Will you be dealing with rough streets, lots of staircases, steep hills, or any other challenging situations?
  • How much do you intend to use your stroller?
  • Are you going to share the stroller with another parent or caregiver?
  • How much storage space do you want or need?
  • Will you need to fold and unfold your stroller frequently?
  • Does it need to fit in a certain-sized trunk?
  • Do you want to be able to use the same stroller after baby’s newborn stage? (Some parents prefer to simply get a stroller frame for their carrier, then buy a more advanced stroller once they have a better idea of how they’ll be using it.)