Finding the Right Stroller
If you are like me you have probably gone through what can only be described a stroller fleet! I had the travel system stroller (a big heavy one at that), the lightweight Combi stroller, the umbrella stroller, the single jogger, and then finally the double jogger! Sound familiar! After having three kids and seemingly endless strollers I have come to the conclusion that I wasted hundreds of dollars on most of these strollers!
What I should have done was spent the money on a good jogger (I love my BOB) and purchased the car seat adapter (which you can snap and snack tray on when they get older). My BOB stroller is an all purpose, all terrain stroller that is surprisingly easy to fold and carry. It has a great suspension and all of those little features that moms love...such as great storage, big canopy, etc.
So when choosing your stroller(s) what should you look at when trying to decide which one to purchase?
Here is a checklist that will help you narrow your options:
1. A swivel wheel
This is really an option for joggers only. Travel systems and smaller strollers obviously all have 4 wheels that swivel. Joggers however have the front wheel that is either a swivel or stationary wheel. I have had both and I thought it was kind of a pain to steer the stationary wheel jogger. In smaller spaces I had to the "wheel barrel approach" and recline back the stroller to make turns. I now have a stroller that has a swivel wheel and it has the option to lock for those long distance runs. I love it!
2. A good suspension
The last thing a small child or infant wants to do is be shaken and thrown around while in the stroller! It is uncomfortable for them and arguably dangerous for small infants. A stroller that has a build in suspension allows a smooth ride for both the kids and the parents. The first time I took my BOB out I was amazed at how easy it was to maneuver and push the stroller. It glides over bumps and my kids don't at all mind the gravel trail that we run on!
3. Lots of storage
Let's face it, we're moms and we need storage...actually we demand it! Umbrella strollers and the smaller lightweight strollers are great but they have no storage and they make you feel like a camel laden with stuff! Look for strollers that have ample storage space (yes you will use it) and preferably one with a handlebar compartment for keys, cups, etc.
4. Easy to fold/lift/carry
This option gets tricky with the bigger strollers! You get the storage, suspension, and usually all of the other bells and whistles, but when it comes to folding and putting them away it takes some work! Most strollers now are pretty easy to break down and can even fit into small cars. Joggers have the option of taking off the front wheel to fold them flatter. It takes a second to do and if you are limited in space, it is something you definitely want to do! When selecting your stroller, take the time to fold and lift them while at the store. You will be doing this A LOT so you want to make sure it is easy!
5. A full canopy
This might seem like a superfluous option, but on those super sunny days you want it! Here in Houston our summers are long and they are hot! I know it similar in several parts of the country so you want to be able to provide as much shade for your kiddos as possible! Sunshine is great and helps with vitamin D production, but you can have too much of it so make sure your kids are protected with shade and sunscreen!
My personal recommendation is the BOB stroller with the fitness kit handle bar. It can be a little pricey, but it is worth every penny and will accommodate absolutely every stage for your child from infant to early grade school. It also handles any terrain and any reason for an outing! If you are shopping at the mall or on the running trail, it works!
Strollers are a necessary part of motherhood so take your time and pick the right one the first time! It will save you money and lot of frustration in the end!
I recommend looking at joggermom.com when shopping for strollers. Joggermom.com is run by a fellow mom and offers competitive pricing and customer service!