There's no rule saying you have to have a stroller, but it's hard to imagine not having one if you're ever planning to leave the house. And as your child starts to feel more and more like a large and wiggly sack of potatoes, you'll really appreciate the extra mobility.
This is one of your bigger-ticket items, so you'll want to make sure you pick the right one using our general stroller guidance. And there are a lot more choices on the market than there used to be in terms of style, price, and function, with strollers coming with a entire repertoire of new features. In the past, you just picked the upholstery you liked best and made sure it rolled in a forward direction. Nowadays, buying a stroller is more like buying a high-performance bicycle or other piece of equipment—which is why more dads get involved in stroller purchases than any other category of baby products.
Most parents end up buying two strollers: one for primary use and one to fulfill whatever needs the first one doesn't. For example, you might get a full-size stroller and then add a lightweight, collapsible one. Or you might want to add a jogger that can't be used every day, but will let you get out and get some exercise. Fully consider your lifestyle, and your child's developmental stages when choosing your stroller.
More and more stroller models are trying to be all things to all people—the one that does it all. This means that the different categories of stroller have started to overlap. The problem is, by trying to do it all, they don't do their original job quite as well. A lightweight, collapsible stroller might add fully reclining seats so that it can be used in the infant stage, but suddenly it's not as lightweight or collapsible anymore.
Sound complicated? Well, it 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 really start to hone in on what you need and want. We also have a large selection of stroller accessories to customize your stroller even more, making it an even better addition for you and your baby.
Stroller Usage Tips
- Always use the harness system. When your baby gets older, it's tempting to let her sit in the seat without the belt on, but trust us, you don't want to learn your lesson the hard way (such as suffering a spill coming off a street corner).
- Hang diaper bags, grocery bags, purses, backpacks, and other items off the back of your stroller carefully; strollers can tip, especially with little ones in them. Strollers are for sitting or lying down. Don't let your child stand in the stroller for any reason.
- Make sure your stroller is fully open before putting baby inside. Partially collapsed strollers can not only scare your baby but also pinch a hand or leg. Whether you're opening or closing the stroller, do it completely and without baby in or around the activity.
- Be careful on hills. Just like bicycles, strollers can gain speed. Busy parents with busy hands should use extra caution going down hills, particularly as hills descend into intersections. This might be a good time to put on that safety strap!--Just like regular oil checks for your car, periodic maintenance for strollers is a good idea. This is especially true as strollers have become fancier, offer more options, and are built more like high-tech bicycles than old-style prams. Air-filled tires mean tires that can go flat. (Too bad there aren't oil and lube shops for strollers.)