Baby Must-Haves: Strollers
First, consider where you live and the local terrain. A stroller that's going to be used on city streets will need different features than one that'll primarily see action in a suburban mall or on well-maintained sidewalks; and a stroller that will be used in a rural area will require yet another set of criteria if it's going to hold up over time. Because where you'll be using your stroller really drives what you need, our book gives an in-depth features list based on locale. Here, a few points to consider if you're a city dweller:
In urban areas, you'll need to scale curbs, maneuver over sidewalk cracks and potholes, and fit between narrow store aisles, juggle your stroller and baby in and out of public transportation, perhaps lug them both up and down flights of stairs, and more. Fans of the high-end Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller ($700, featured below, left) say its rugged wheels can take both bumpy sidewalks or off-road terrain. Your stroller should:
- Be super-sturdy. Not only is there the repeated jarring of broken sidewalks and such, there's some serious wear and tear due to the fact that urbanites do a lot of walking. In general, a steel frame will hold up much better than an aluminum one, but it'll be heavier -- not so great if you live in a walk-up apartment building or use public transportation a lot. Your best bet: Find the lightest steel frame stroller that you can.
- Sport rugged wheels. You might consider a stroller that has air-filled tires, which give more easily on rough surfaces (and make for a smoother ride for little passengers). You'll also have an easier time bumping them up and down stairs. The downside is that they do need to be filled; so you might want to look for one that comes with a pump, or consider investing in a small pump.
- Fold compactly. The stroller will need to fit inside the trunk of a taxicab as well as on public transportation. Lots of city moms in our survey swear by their lightweight, compact-fold Maclaren strollers, which come in several styles (click on the comparison chart at maclarenbaby.com to size each one up), ranging in price from around $110 to $250. Another urban fave: The Inglesina Zippy ($250, featured right). "We live in downtown Chicago and have limited space. The Zippy folds up smaller than a bag of golf clubs!" raves one of our survey respondents.
- Have ample storage space. Since your stroller will serve as your baby's main means of transportation, make sure there's room in the basket for all his stuff as well as for shopping bags and such. Also check to see that you have easy access to the basket if the seat back is reclined. (This is important wherever you live.)
"My baby was a big car napper, so having an infant seat/carrier/stroller combo was the key to uninterrupted naps."