I brought my first stroller when I was three months pregnant. It was an impulse buy during one of my many nesting periods. I was passing a baby shop and suddenly the urge took me to buy a stroller. Unfortunately, as it turned out I had no idea how to fold it (there are two buttons and a leaver that need to be pushed simultaneously in order to collapse it), how much it weighed (a cool 15kg!) and as it happened, it didn’t fit in the boot of my car. For those who haven’t yet guessed, that particular stroller was not the practical choice for me, and I’d have known that if I’d asked myself some vital questions before making the purchase. To help you avoid the same mistake, I caught up with JustKidding Expert Mum, Gaynor Shaw. Here she shares the top 10 questions every parent-to-be should ask themselves before they board the buggy bandwagon.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #1: What do we like and dislike?
Generally, if you already have children, you’ve been down the stroller-buying route before. With this in mind, it’s important to weigh up what you like and dislike about your previous stroller. This will help you to narrow down your list of options.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #2: Will we be having more children anytime soon?
This can be a scary question, especially for first-time parents-to-be, but it’s worth thinking about, because if you’re planning to have a second baby quite soon after your first, you may decide to choose something like the Bugaboo Donkey or the Uppababy Vista, which you can buy as a single stroller, but then add a second seat to later.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #3: What’s our budget?
You can spend anywhere from Dhs1,000 to Dhs7,000 and upwards on a stroller, so budget needs to be one of your first considerations. Search reviews, reports and online videos to get an idea of what your wishlist of features and benefits are, and then have a figure in mind before you hit the shops.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #4: Are we brand conscious?
There are customers who won’t look at anything except Stokke or Bugaboo strollers because they’re iconic, stylish and are well-known brands. On the flip side, some customers focus entirely on practicality, with little attention paid to brand name or appearance. JustKidding carries the Joie range from the UK, which is a relatively new brand and is extremely price conscious, but amazingly user friendly.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #5: What are we going to do with it?
There are two types of stroller: the urban and the all-terrain. The urban is city friendly, lightweight and great to use in malls and on streets because of its small, easily manoeuvrable wheels. The all-terrain is bigger and sturdier and designed to be used on anything from sand to snow. Consider what are your lifestyle needs are and where are you are going to be using it?
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #6: Will it fit in our car?
Make sure the stroller you choose will fit in the boot of your car before you buy it, because if you drive a small car you may have a job fitting a big all-terrain model in.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #7: How easily does it fold and how compact is it?
If you don’t have a car and will be relying on taxis, you may choose a compact stroller. If so, make sure that it folds down easily because there will be times when you have to collapse it with one hand, while holding your baby with the other.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #8: Do we want a travel system?
A travel system is a type of stroller that comes with a compatible rear-facing car seat and a bassinet. These are handy because you have everything you need in one purchase and the car seats are designed for infants, unlike many standalone car seats which are designed for six months and upwards. One thing to bear in mind is that more evidence is coming to light about the importance of babies lying completely flat when asleep in order to prevent compromising their airway, which is why the bassinet is handy. The length of time newborns are in the car seat should be kept to a minimum.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #9: Does the stroller we’re looking at have adapters for the type of car seat we want?
While travel systems are great, some people opt to buy their car seats separately to give themselves flexibility to choose a different brand or design. If you decide to buy your car seat separately, make sure that you can purchase the relevant adapters, so that it will fit onto your stroller.
Questions to ask before buying a stroller #10: Will we be travelling with it?
If you’re planning to travel a lot it’s worth investing in a travel bag for your buggy. Alternatively, you can buy something like the BabyZen Yoyo. This light-weight pushchair weighs in at 5.9kg and is the only buggy on the market that you can take as hand luggage onto the plane, as it fits in the overhead compartment.