Types of Pram and Pushchair

PushchairsTravel System
This is a complete pram and pushchair system that should last you from baby to small child. There should be no need to have to purchase a second pushchair as your baby grows as the travel system changes with your child and is suitable from birth.

A travel system normally includes a carrycot so that your baby can be laid flat, a car seat and a pushchair. The car seat which can usually be used until a baby is a year old attaches to the chassis of the pushchair so that you can move your baby from car to pushchair without waking her.

Travel systems can also be referred to as 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 combination pushchairs. In this type of travel system the whole seat unit is removable and interchangeable as your baby grows. Your sales assistant will be able to offer more advice.

Travel systems also usually have several different positions of recline which can be useful as your baby grows. Some can be quite large and cumbersome but most are lightweight and simple to use. Travel system wheels usually have suspension and lockable swivel wheels which can make rough ground easier to manoeuvre over. Most travel systems also come with a useful sized shopping basket.

Travel systems can sometimes be quite complicated to change into the different chair options so it is best to try before you buy and ensure you get advice and a demonstration from the sales assistant.

PushchairsPram

You may decide that you want to purchase just a pram for the earlier months of your baby’s life. You are likely to find that there is little choice available as most new parents opt for the facility to turn the pram into the pushchair.

Traditional ‘coach-built’ prams have large wheels with very good suspension to give baby a comfortable ride and also making it very easy for you to push. They are generously sized with plenty of space for your baby to lie flat and stretch and wriggle about. They are also usually deep sided which means that your baby is very protected and enclosed. Coach-built prams are very beautiful to look at and are made extremely well and often last for several generations. However they are heavy and bulky when compared to modern designs of prams/pushchairs and not normally used by parents who want to use public transport and are not ideal for using in a car as they do not fold easily.

Coach-built prams can be very expensive and you will need to purchase a pushchair more suitable for your baby as your baby grows.

PushchairsThree wheeled pushchairs
Three wheeled pushchairs are becoming increasingly more popular. There are two main types available:

  • All terrain three wheeler: designed for rough terrain including woods, beach and hills and also ideal for jogging with.
  • City style three wheeler – designed for everyday use on flatter ground such as around a town.

If you are planning to use a three wheeled pushchair from birth you will need to ensure that it has a fully reclinable seat or comes with a carrycot attachment as not all do.

Three wheeled pushchairs do not often fold as small or as neatly as a normal four wheeled pushchair. They often take up more space when storing at home too. Some three wheeled pushchairs can be quite cumbersome and bulky, if you are planning on using the pushchair for country walks you may need to lift the pushchair over stepping stones or stiles so you want to ensure that it is not too heavy for you.

It is possible to buy with air filled tyres which allow for a softer ride and easier to push. However, this does mean that it is possible to get a puncture and you will need to know how to change or fix the tyre. Some three wheeled pushchairs also have a fixed or swivel wheel in front. A swivel wheel makes it easier to manoeuvre around corners but it is easier to travel over bumpy ground if the front wheel is fixed. You will need to decide how you wish to use your pushchair and practise walking around the shop pushing it. Some three wheeled pushchairs also have the ability to lock the front wheel when you need to which may give you the best of both worlds. Three wheeled pushchairs can be difficult to steer and you may find that it is easy to tip over. You will need to practise pushing the chair to get a good fell of how it manoeuvres.

Most three wheeler pushchairs are only forward facing.

You may find that you are unable to use a ‘buggy board’ with your three wheeled pushchair which may mean that it is not suitable if you have an older child. This may be something that you need to discuss with your sales assistant if it may cause a problem for you. Although some all-terrain three wheeled pushchairs are suitable to be used from birth it is important to remember that very young babies should not be jolted about excessively.

PushchairsBuggies
Buggies are lightweight pushchairs which are simple to use and very versatile. They are usually very compact and fold up easily. Buggies are ideal for using with a car, for shopping, for walking around a town and for holidays.

Most buggies are very reasonably priced making them very useful if you are on a tight budget. A very cheap buggy may cost less than £20 although these are likely to be very basic with no hood or extras and may only be suitable for an older baby or toddler.

Somme designs are suitable to be used from birth as they recline back flat and most come with the option of buying extra padding and support for newborns.

Most buggies are able to recline, come with a hood, rain-cover and foot rest for your baby. Most have a shopping basket under the seat although this may be quite small.

Very lightweight buggies may be prone to tip over backwards if you hang too much weight from the handlebars.

Buggies do not usually have good suspension and so may give your baby a bumpy ride.  Wheels normally swivel to help with steering although can often be locked as well to help on certain terrains.

by Jenny, mum to William and James

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