There are hundreds of strollers, each with their own unique combination of features. You could research for hours, but you don’t need to. I am going to break it down for you right here.
Single vs. Double
When you are having your first child, you might be thinking that you only need a single stroller. Right?
Unless you are having twins, it isn’t obvious whether you should choose a single stroller or not. I made the mistake of buying a single stroller with my first born and regretted it when my second child came along less than 2 years later.
Most kids are willing to ride in a stroller until they are around 2 years old. At that point, they want to run, walk, scooter, tricycle or anything that involves movement more than being strapped into a stroller. This is the time when the car seat wars are happening. Confinement = torture to a 2 year old. You get my point. If you want any chance of your child using a stroller past 2, maybe for the long walk back to the car, or for an all-day excursion at Disneyland, you’ll want a stroller with a bench (i.e. a Sit & Stand stroller…ingeniously designed for toddlers).
There are single strollers that come with the option to attach a glider board to the back, and those work great for toddlers. However, that is only a good option if you don’t intend to have a second child within 3 years of your first child’s birth.
For you crazy moms out there (like me) that had their kids close together, a double or convertible stroller is the way to go…from baby #1. Don’t do what I did and buy a single stroller, use it for a year and a half and then sell it to buy a double stroller. It was a huge waste of money and time.
There are strollers that are designed to change with the stages of your child’s (or children’s) life, they’re called convertible strollers. Genius right? And purchasing one of these will allow you to adapt to the changing needs of your child. During the infant stage, your stroller can support your infant’s developing neck and back muscles while you show them the world. During the older infant stage, your stroller can be a comfortable place for naps. And in the young toddler stage, the stroller can be a quick place to rest tired legs and then get back to playing.
So what about all the add-ons…how do you know which ones are important? Here’s the 411:
- Additional Seat: For convertible strollers, it allows your stroller to go from a single to a double, or converts the bench in your sit and stand stroller to an actual seat.
- Bassinet: A bassinet is a large, flat, walled sleeping area for infants. Some strollers allow you to remove the seat entirely and replace it with bassinet attachment. This is quite the luxury item, but it does allow for a comfortable sleep. More economical strollers will have fully reclinable seats (that go flat or nearly flat) and adjustable foot rests, and these work just as well with a slight loss in comfort.
- Bug Shield: A mosquito net designed to fit snuggly over your stroller. Completely breathable and keeps the bugs out.
- Bumper Bar: The bar that sticks out from the stroller in front. Some kids like to hold onto it, but honestly in all my years owning strollers I find the bumper bar to be quite useless. It gets in the way of putting your kids in and taking them out. And so far as I know, it wouldn’t protect a child from an oncoming car or soccer ball.
- Car Seat Adapter: Plastic or metals inserts that connect to the stroller frame that allows you to attach your infant car seat right into your stroller. With some brands, this is on top of the stroller seat; and with other brands, it is in place of the seat.
- Carrying Strap: A handy strap attached to the frame of the stroller that makes it easy to transport your stroller when folded. This is a nice-to-have feature, but not a deal-breaker if it doesn’t have it, in my opinion.
- Child Cup Holder: Either a stretchy mesh compartment on the inside wall of the stroller seat or a plastic holder attached to the child snack tray or bumper bar.
- Child Snack Tray: Great for toddlers that need a snack on the go. It is a plastic table that connects to the seat frame where snack and sometimes a water cup can be contained.
- Foot Muff: For those cold places or winter strolls. It is like a baby-sized sleeping bag that covers a child from the waste down and snaps or velcros to the stroller seat so your little one can’t kick it onto the ground. Genius.
- Glider Board: A plastic ledge that attaches to the back of the stroller frame so your toddler can stand on it and look over the top of the stroller (in-between the handlebars) while you push the stroller. Personally, I prefer the bench on a sit and stand stroller over glider board because I kept kicking the glider board. Some moms swear by them though.
- Newborn Pad: A soft cushy insert that goes on the stroller seat to provide additional support to an infant’s fragile neck and head.
- Parent Organizer: These are pockets and pouches on the back of the stroller (not part of the stroller basket) that fit essentials like phones, sunglasses, etc.
- Parent Cup Holder: Usually a plastic compartment on the handlebar or back of the stroller for your coffee or water bottle, or even your kiddo’s bottle.
- Removable Seat Cover: Most of the time, a wipe down with a wet cloth is enough to keep stroller seats clean. But, if you prefer to remove the seat cover completely and throw it in the washing machine, this is a good option.
- Rain Cover: For rainy places. It’s a plastic sheet designed to fit over your stroller with strategically places holes throughout for air flow.
- Sun Canopy: For sunny places, look for an extra large one. A “follow-the-sun” canopy is not attached to the seat of the stroller so you can move it to block the sun out of your little one’s eyes at dusk or dawn.
- Travel Bag: A bag, usually cloth or canvas, that fits your folded stroller. It is really nice to have if for flights where you’d like to check your stroller.
To start searching for your perfect stroller today, click here.