Buying a pushchair

Although buying a pushchair sounds like an easy task, it can actually be very difficult and take many hours of researching and discussion. There are hundreds of different pushchairs available on the market and you may need to visit several shops to find the one that suits you best. It may also a good idea to observe and talk to other parents with pushchairs/prams to get an idea of what is available wand what may suit your needs best.

There are three main factors to think about when purchasing a pushchair:

  1. Your budget
  2. Your lifestyle
  3. Your baby’s needs

Your Budget
Pushchairs can vary a considerable amount in cost. A basic stroller suitable for an older baby may only be £15 from a supermarket whereas a stylish, designer pushchair/pram/combo may cost as much as £1000. It is important to decide how much money you have to spend on a pushchair and keep to your budget. You will also need to calculate how much money any extras such as rain cover, cosy-toes, pram toys and changing bag may also cost on top of the pushchair you are buying.

Your Lifestyle
Before looking at the choice of pushchairs available to you, it is necessary to think about your lifestyle and how you will use your pushchair.

If you are a car driver and will use your car a lot, you will need a pushchair that you can fold and fit in your car easily. You will need to measure your boot and measure the folded size of the pushchairs you are looking at. You may want to think about a travel-system type pushchair which can hold the first stage car seat and allow you to move baby from car to pushchair without disrupting your baby. Although the pushchair will need to suit your car, it is not the only consideration as you will still need to use the pushchair once out of the car.

If you use public transport or need to move the pushchair up steps to your home then you may want to consider a lightweight and compact pushchair, possibly one that can be folded easily, quickly or one-handed.

If you walk most places then you should look at a sturdier pushchair. You may find that swivel wheels make pushing your baby easier than fixed wheels although some pushchairs allow you to also fix the wheels. You may want to consider a pushchair with larger wheels to give baby a softer ride. You also need to make sure that the handles for you to push your baby are at the right height for you as stooping over a low pushchair or reaching up to push can be very uncomfortable. Some pushchairs also offer the ability to change the height of the handles.

If you have limited space to store your pushchair, you may find that a pushchair which folds as one unit more suitable to your needs rather than one which you need to separate the seat unit from the base.

Your Baby’s needs
If you are planning to use the pushchair from birth, you will need to purchase a chair which allows your baby to lie back flat or be fully supported in an infant carrier/car seat. It is best not to leave a young baby in a car seat for very long lengths of time as being flat is the best position for a newborn. You will need to buy either pram, a combination pushchair/carrycot which allows you to change from pram to pushchair as your baby grows or a pushchair which states it is suitable for use from birth and allows baby to lie back and be supported.

Some combination prams have a carrycot that can be removed from the base unit and can be used as a separate unit for your baby to sleep in.

Prams and combination pushchairs come in different sizes so it is necessary for you to consider how long you want your baby to lie in a pram unit.

If you buy a separate pram, you will find that your baby will soon grow out of it and you will need to purchase a second pushchair. However, if you buy a combination or pushchair then you will be able to continue to use your pushchair as your baby grows.
Your pushchair should have a 5-point harness to ensure your baby is secure when being pushed.

Some pushchairs have a removable seat unit which allows your baby to either face forward or to face you. Although most babies enjoy facing the direction they are going and looking at the world most also enjoy watching you push them and it has been proved that facing their parent can aid their speech development.

Your older baby may often fall asleep whilst in their pushchair, you may want to consider how easy you can lower your baby back into a more comfortable sleeping position if they should fall asleep. Some pushchairs also have a leg rest which can be lifted to also make your baby more comfortable when sleeping.

As your baby continues to grow, you may find that a foot-rest will be useful as this means that your child can rest their feet safely out of the way of the wheels.

Once you have chosen your preferred pram or pushchair for your baby you may wish to practise walking with it to ensure you are comfortable and also practise folding it down and putting it up. Also do not feel disheartened if your purchased pram is not suitable for you once your baby arrives. There are many places where you can sell on your pram/pushchair and there is no reason why you cannot have more than one pushchair.

by Jenny, mum to William and James

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