How to Choose a Pushchair

How to choose a pushchair

  • What different types of pushchair are out there? What's the difference?

    The amount of different pushchairs out there can be confusing!
    Use Review Centre's handy guide below to help you find the best pushchair to suit not only your baby's needs, but also your lifestyle.

    - Lightweight Strollers & Buggies

    These are convenient for travelling and can be a cheap option. They fold up quickly and take up little space, so are great for taking on holiday. However they rarely have enough support for new borns who need to be able to lie flat and so are more suitable as an occasional pushchair for your toddler.

    - Pushchairs

    A pushchair can be ideal to see your baby from a newborn to a toddler. A 2 in 1 pushchair converts from a rear facing pram style for newborn babies, to a forward facing chair for toddlers. New born babies need to lay flat and as a new mum or dad you might prefer to have them under constant watch. However as your baby grows, is able to sit up and becomes more aware of their surroundings, they might find a forward facing chair more stimulating. With a two in one pushchair you won't have to replace your pram, just simply turn it around.

    - All Terrain Pushchairs

    These are usually forward facing, three wheeled puschairs with light strong frames. This is the perfect choice if you live in the countryside or somewhere where you might face a variety of terrains (or maybe if you are planning on taking your baby jogging to get back into shape!) Whether it is for a walk on the beach, a stroll in the woods or navigating the urban assault course of escalators and steep kerbs an all terrain pushchair can make things smoother for you and your baby.

    - Joggers

    Joggers are primarily designed for moving at speed over roads, pavements or smooth ground. They have three large wheels which means they will cope well at slower speeds over uneven or rough ground. Joggers can have some disadvantages - front wheel caliper brakes which might clog up with mud and larger wheels which make them more difficult to transport and cumbersome around town.
    Unless you intend to use the pushchair solely for running then you might be better off with an All Terrain Pushchair. Some of the joggers with smaller wheels can also be used around town and off road.

    - Travel Systems

    Travel systems, sometimes known as 3 in 1 pushchairs are pure convenience - a car seat, carry cot and pushchair in one! However they can sometimes be bulky and more expensive than other options. The child car seat usually has a handle so that it can double as a baby carrier. The car seat base can be seat-belted into your car, then the car seat/baby carrier snaps onto the base for travel, making it easy to move your baby from car to stroller all while strapped in to the same carrier - especially handy if they happen to be sleeping! The car seat/baby carrier also snaps onto the stroller frame for added convenience.

    - Tandems & Doubles

    If you already had a young child at home before the arrival of your new baby, or you are having twins then one seat pushchair will not be enough for you! There are many well designed double pushchairs currently on the market, gone are the days of the clunky and impossible to manoeuvre variety! A tandem pushchair is one seat in front of the other; a double is side by side. Both can be equally useful depending on your situation.

  • What type of pushchair best suits your lifestyle?

    Before you go to buy a pushchair it is worth considering how you will use it.
    All pushchairs work well on the nice carpeted floor of the showroom, but will you be able to lug yours up your front steps? If you travel on public transport alot you might prefer one that can be easily and quickly folded on the train or bus. Can you do it with one hand / foot? Remember you will also be holding a baby and probably a million bags.
    If public transport isn't your thing and you will be travelling everywhere by car you must get a pushchair that will easily fit in your car boot, you will also need one you are able to lift. How much room will you need when parking to easily unload your pushchair?
    Think about where you live, will you need to carry it up and down steps? If you need to lift it alot then some travel systems might be too cumbersome. Is your pushchair is narrow enough to fit through standard doorways? How big is your front door? Where will you store the pushchair at home? Think about its unfolded size.
    Make sure you have the most convenient buggy for what you will be using it for, some pushchairs have a vast amount of storage space which can be excellent when shopping or for storing the amazing amount of items that going out with a young baby requires.

  • Which type of pushchair is best for your baby's needs?

    Newborn babies must lie completely flat; maybe a carry cot that attaches to a frame to build a pram would be best? This is also great as it means you can move your sleeping baby without waking them! Good suspension and larger wheels will give your baby a more comfortable ride, and don't forget plenty of padding - consider how you feel after sitting in the car for a couple of hours.
    Waterproofing is essential. Some pushchairs have four or five adjustable seat positions including a 'lay back' for new borns. How robust is the pushchair? Can it cope with gravel as well as tarmac, mud as well as grass? Also consider the suspension, another big factor in the comfort of your baby!

  • What about extra features?

    The cost of a pushchair can quickly escalate once you have selected a few extra accessories, so it is always a good idea to check what is included in the price - and what you might be able to get them to throw in.
    Some kind of waterproofing is an absolute necessity to keep baby dry, so don't forget pushchair (and car seat) rain covers! Other extras include head supports, cosy-toes or foot muffs and a hood to make sure your baby is as comfortable as can be.
    You may also need a carry bag for when the pushchair is folded, removable covers (machine washable always helps) a parasol to keep the sun off and an adjustable footrest.

  • What else should you test?

    It's a good idea to test a pushchair as much as possible - or if cant test yourself read lots of reviews from people facing the same issues as you. If you can, try it out in the shop - add on all the attachments, practice converting it, folding it into the boot of your car etc. Make sure you can do everything on your own, including work the brake! Make sure everything is as easy as the manufacturer says it is - can you fold it with one hand or foot?
    Handle height is vital - you mustn't stoop, remember you will sometimes be in this position for much of the day so anything uncomfortable will quickly grow to be unbearable. Adjustable handle height so you and your partner / mum / babysitter can all comfortably use the pushchair is very convenient. Also speaking of handles, remember to check the handles themselves are comfortable to hold, ones with soft rounded edges are best. Pushchairs can easily become quite heavy and so you want your hands to be as protected as possible. Also check the positioning of the rear axle, the last thing you want is for it to bash against your shins as you walk. It's very important that the break is easy and fast to operate.
    All pushchairs will work well and be easy to push along the smooth showroom floor when they are empty but think about how much you will have to navigate round in everyday life. Some three-wheelers have a fixed wheel at the front, some have one that swivels - think about your needs here, one that swivels is best for navigating around objects, busy pavements, shops etc however a fixed wheel comes into its own if the terrain is something other than a smooth pavement. Some swivel wheels you can lock and there is much debate over whether a locked swivel wheel is actually as good as a fixed wheel over rough terrain.

  • How much Budget should you allow?

    Pushchairs can vary massively in price. They can be as little as £40 for a light, travel pushchair with no accessories or can go right up to £350 for top end products - have a price in mind and stick to it, remember accessories can cost extra!
    Type, brand and features can make a big difference - so shop around, compare online prices and read as many reviews as you can to be sure that you won't be buying into a false economy by purchasing a pushchair that you'll need to replace.
    Also enquire about guarantee or warrantee, how long is it? When is the guarantee from, is it the day you buy the pushchair or when the baby is born? Check for any additional services included in the warrantee - for example if your push chair should need servicing will you get a replacement?
    All pushchairs sold in the UK must comply with strict safety standards set by British Standards