Strollers should be safe, strong, comfortable and easy to manoeuvre. It’s tempting to just jump in and pick the most expensive style available, thanks to the number of options available, but sometimes that’s not the right choice for you.

A stroller is one of those essential parenting items that you can’t be without, so if you didn’t get one at the baby shower then it’s time to start looking for one.

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Image by Elliot Margolies, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

Types of stroller

A stroller is going to be your child’s main form of transportation outside of the home for the first few years. There are a number of different types to choose from including standard reclining models with cushioned seats, storage facilities and usually a sun shade.

The standard stroller is popular but you’ll also see variations such as double or triple buggies, ultra-lightweight models and the latest three-wheel jogging versions, which are excellent for covering long distances.

You can also purchase versions that come with removable car seats, which make it much easier to clip out and secure in the back seat of your car or vice versa.

Safety features

When testing out the different types of strollers, make sure there is a frame-lock safety feature. This lock will ensure the frame doesn’t collapse and it should be easy to operate.

Take a good look at your unit to check for any sharp edges that could harm your child or if there are places where your child’s tiny fingers might get trapped. A secure belt is a must and the five-point harness safety system is the best option. Also ensure the make you choose has good brakes – they should be easy to operate and lock the wheel quickly when applied.

Check the materials

Non-toxic strollers mean that your product hasn’t been treated with toxic flame-retardants or constructed from plastics that contain chemicals such as PVC or Phthalates.

Before purchasing, check out the ‘certified safe’ labels, which should be fixed to the body of the stroller – you can now also find eco-friendly versions that are not only kinder to your child but also to the environment. Make sure that the non-toxic stipulations run not just to the construction of the unit but also to the coverings, padded seats and hoods.

Test it out

Testing out a variety of models in-store is the best way to gauge a few key factors including manoeuvrability and how comfortable the unit is to push around. Some models come with adjustable hands but if not then check that the height of the handles are right for your size.

Also consider issues such as ease of operation when collapsing or opening and that the reclining seat can be easily adjusted. If you live in a fairly rural area you may also want to check that the wheels are big enough to cope with rough terrain.

Strollers come with varying lifespans but a good quality model may last for over three years depending on frequency of use. Check out recommendations from friends who have previously purchased as well as those consumer reviews on the major retail websites – a little research will pay-off over the long term.