Laura Slater, founder of nursery consultancy Eat Sleep Love, shares what to look for when purchasing your stroller
Buying a pushchair can be an emotional experience – imagining yourself pushing your new baby around can make it exciting, but it can also be daunting. This is a purchase that you are going to use almost every day for the next few years.
Before you start to shop, think about what your requirements are. Ask yourself, do you have space restrictions? Do you want a travel system that you can attach the car seat to? What is your style preference? What kind of terrain will you be using the pushchair on? Will it fit in your car, and does it fit into your budget? With so many things to consider, try to pick the two most important elements and prioritise those.
Going into lots of different stores will only confuse you, so visit a store where the staff will demonstrate the pushchairs, showing you how they fold and how to adjust the seat and handle. They should also discuss colour options and lead times with you. Certain colours and styles may be out of stock so don’t leave it too late to make your selection. To be safe, I recommend choosing a pushchair eight weeks before you need it. As a general rule, start your search after the 20-week mark.
When looking at the cost of a pushchair remember to ask what is included in the price. There is quite a big difference between brands on what you get, and you may have to buy carrycots, rain covers, bumper bars, car seat adaptors and cup holders separately. Some buggies are sold at a complete price with the majority of accessories included, while others only include the chassis and seat, and everything else is an extra.
Ask yourself, where am I going to be using my pushchair the most? Consider the shopping basket size if you are going to be using it for shopping trips and days out. If you know that you are going to be using it for long walks and want something that works well on uneven ground, then look at the wheel size and push it around to see how it feels. The Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle design is a great sporty looking option, perfect for city or country life and all weather conditions. Or, for a sleeker mixed-terrain option, the iCandy Peach All-Terrain is a joy to move around.
Another thing to consider is what it feels like to push. If the handle doesn’t feel comfortable or it doesn’t extend or retract to an ideal position, then it is not the pushchair for you. I would recommend that if you or your partner are tall then you might not want a carrycot or seat that you have to bend down too far to reach. Check how easily the pushchair goes up and down curbs, and test out how well it tips back so you can lift it up on to a pavement – the handle of the Stokke Xplory extends really well.
Many new parents find themselves tight on storage space or simply require a buggy to make daily travelling easier. If this is you, look for a lightweight pushchair with a small fold, something you can store out of the way when you are not using it, or that will fit into a small car boot. It is also worth considering a style that allows the seat to recline – if you’re using it all day, your little one will want to nap. The Babyzen Yoyo+ offers a super-small handbag-style fold, a travel system with car seat adaptors and can now be used from birth. Additionally, the Mountain Buggy Nano can be taken onto an aeroplane, too.
Most of my customers are first-time parents and although their first child has yet to arrive they do sometimes make choices that take into consideration the needs of a growing family. There are some pushchairs that start as a single but have the option to extend to a double, such as the Phil & Teds Double Dot or the soon-to-launch Britax B-Ready. Many of these also make great double pushchairs for twins, much like the Uppababy Vista.
You are going to be using your pushchair a lot so you need to enjoy how it looks – for many parents it is an extension of their own personal style. Many brands offer additional matching accessories, such as foot muffs, blankets and even personalised bumper bars and matching car seats, such as Joolz, which has a great new range of Be Safe car seats. If this appeals to you, then select a retailer who can add all these items to your order. There are a fabulous array of colours on offer and some exciting limited edition styles on the market so you and your little one can stand out from the crowd. If you’re seeking something high-fashion, look out for the new Cybex Priam collaboration with designer Jeremy Scott or the ever-popular Bugaboo By Diesel range.
Buying a pushchair is a big investment so don’t rush into it. Carefully weigh up where you are going to use it, and where and how it will be stored. While I tend to be practically minded, I also love to pick something that I know a baby will be comfortable and cosy in. Buying a pushchair that is well-made and sturdy will naturally give it longevity of use but, most importantly, pick a pushchair that you will feel proud to push.