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How to Buy a Stroller

You’d think that buying a stroller would be a walk in the park. After all, it has to be one of those things that just come in one design, right? Wrong! There are as many options and ‘add-ons’ right now to the average stroller, that you’d think you’re buying a car. Plus, given the credit crunch we all find ourselves in, it’s best to be practical and thoughtful in any of our purchases--- strollers included.

There are some things to consider when looking for a stroller.

Keep in mind what you need it for. Determine beforehand where you’re going to use the stroller (the beach, the pavement), how often you’re to use it, and for how long do you expect it to last (is it meant to be passed to the other children you plan to have?). These questions can help you determine what model of stroller to buy.

If you’re often traveling, foldable strollers are a good option; they make for better storage in the car trunk. You may even opt for strollers that use baby car seats as base.

Sturdier models understandably cost more, but if you need a stroller for just the occasional night out then there’s no reason why you have to splurge. Treaded pneumatic tires, as well as shock-proof wheels, are recommended if the stroller is going to be used in rockier or hard terrain.

Safety first!Some of us have a trusting disposition; we readily assume that just because something has made it to the store, it has passed quality control. So we just concentrate on the aesthetics. But let’s not be too hasty, especially when it involves our kids.

Make sure you take the time to test out important safety features: How sturdy is the frame? What material connects the seat to the body? Are the breaks working? How’s the harness built, and from what material? Are there small, detachable parts that may be swallowed accidentally? Is your child cushioned enough against the cold of the metal? A thorough safety check is imperative when buying strollers.

Features! Features! Features! Features are cool too. While a basic stroller can do the job, additional details do make life easier---or more fun. A built-in umbrella can be a huge help if you live in a sunny climate. An extra sliding table can make it easier if you have the need to stop for a quick snack. Attached toys are a must for the hyperactive child.

Maneuverability. It may be a stroller, but you still have to drive it! So check how easy it is to maneuver your stroller. Do the wheels offer excellent swivel and fixed state capabilities? Test it out. Do the wheels respond well to your kids’ weight, and likely weight gain in the future? Are the handles appropriate to your height? You do not want to develop back pain because you’re pushing something that’s too low. Adjustable handles are a good idea if more than one person is likely to be pushing your stroller.

For best picks, why not ask other parents in your area what they would recommend? And don’t buy at the first baby store you see, canvass around! The more choices you have, the more informed a buying decision you can make!

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