(StatePoint) A stroller is one of the most essential pieces of baby gear, typically needed right from the start and used for several years. However, with so many stroller varieties available and a wide range of features to consider, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for your family.
Erin Varano, brand marketing director at trusted baby and children gear manufacturer Graco, offers these five key questions to consider when buying a stroller:
Does the Stroller Meet Safety Standards? Look for a stroller that has been certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) to ensure it meets current safety standards. Also, do your research beforehand to make sure it hasn't been recalled. Avoid this question by buying from a reputable retailer.
Does the Stroller Have an Adjustable Seat? Newborns need seats that recline to a near flat position until they have head control and can sit up on their own. Even for older babies or toddlers, a reclining seat is a plus for comfort. Make sure to check that the seat’s recline mechanism is easy-to-use and firmly locks into the recline position.
How Versatile is the Stroller? Single strollers with the ability to convert to a double are useful as well as practical. Look for a stroller that can grow with your family, such as the Graco Uno2Duo Stroller and Travel System. This new stroller is out-of-the-box ready for one child, but simply extends to accommodate two children.
“We designed this stroller with a 5-inch extension so that it can easily transition from a single stroller to a double,” says Varano. “The extension adds room for a second seat and offers a platform for toddlers to ride along. A second seat or infant car seat gives parents added functionality with a total of 22 ways to ride.”
As an added benefit, the stroller features a multi-position reclining main seat that can convert to an infant bassinet or pram. This stroller is now exclusively available at Babies“R”Us.
Can the Stroller Accommodate Your Car Seat? An infant car seat and a stroller that come together are called a travel system. Buying a travel system is the simplest way to ensure stroller and infant car seat compatibility. However, if they don’t come together, you can often buy an adapter that connects them. Keep this in mind as you choose these items.
Is the Stroller Easy to Maneuver? Look for front wheels that swivel. This swivel action will make it easier to turn. Again, head to a store to test this feature out in person. You should be able to easily push the stroller in a straight line using one hand. Brakes also play a part in maneuverability. You want brakes that are easy to operate even if you are wearing open-toed shoes.
Finding the right stroller for your family requires research and testing. Investing the time beforehand and keeping key features top-of-mind during your search will make the process less overwhelming and hopefully lead you to your perfect stroller match.