What is a stroller?
An early stroller was developed by William Kent as early as 1733 when the Duke of Devonshire instructed him to develop a method of transportation which would be used for carrying his children. This early stroller was lavishly decorated and would be pulled by a small pony or goat.
Carriages were sold in America by Benjamin Potter Crandall in 1830s – these can be thought of as the first baby carriages to be made in America. Jesse Armour Crandall, his son, got several patents for improving and adding to the design of the original models. These extensions included the incorporation of brakes in the carriage, a folding version of the carriage, umbrella hangers and parasol designs.
1840 saw the baby carriage attain a new level of popularity. Hitchings Baby Store sold three of their carriages to Queen Victoria, the reigning monarch of England at that time.
In those early days, the carriages were composed of wicker or wood, and costly brass joints were employed to keep them together. At times, these carriages were nothing short of an art form and were even named after royalty on occasion – Duchess and Princess being popular monikers, as were Windsor and Balmoral.
Today, strollers have become more agile, efficient and utility-focused. They have also branched into many different types and are available in many different prices – from quite cheap to extremely costly. It is no wonder that new parents are anxious when the time comes to invest into a stroller.
The good news is that any stroller certified by the JPMA will suffice for most parents’ needs. The downside is that you will probably have to purchase a new one after some months (or years) as your child grows and your needs shift. Obviously, wear and tear will also occur.
Before we get on with learning about the different types of strollers, it is a good idea to become familiar with the basics of these contraptions.
A ‘carriage’ (referred to earlier) can be used interchangeably to refer to a stroller, but is frequently associated with those that have the baby facing towards you. A ‘pram stroller’ is another name for old fashioned, big wheeled carriages with fancy canopies in which the infant is in the lying down position (think of them as bassinet on wheels designed specifically for newborns).
A ‘travel system’ refers to a stroller which comes with a snap-in car seat – the baby, during infancy, can ride on this car seat and, as he gets older, can switch to the stroller. ‘Jogging strollers’ are three-wheeled sporty variations of strollers that the parent can run with (as the name implies) – keep in mind that there are certain strollers which aren’t meant for running though.
Lastly, there is a compact, lightweight version of strollers called the ‘umbrella stroller’, which is, by and large, a framed fabric sling meant for babies who are at least six months old. You may not think much of it initially, but you’ll grow to admire it as your baby grows into a toddler and you get weary of pushing around a bulkier stroller.
A stroller is an absolute necessity for the majority of parents. From the moment you become a parent, you’ll require this vital parenting tool, and it will be an integral part of raising your baby until they are able to walk properly by themselves i.e. an age of three or four.
With all the different varieties of popular baby strollers to choose from, buying the best stroller to match both your pocket and your needs can be quite tough. Is it a light and cheap version that you require, or are you going for a spending spree on a sturdy and stylish high-end stroller? Or would you be content with something that is all-purpose and basic? Will the stroller be taking off-road or is it meant simply for trips to your local grocery store? Do you have twins or triplets?
You need to take into account factors such as the location of your residence, where you may take the stroller and your budget before you begin to peruse through shops claiming to sell the best strollers 2015. A stroller that will be taken on longer walks on an urban terrain will require sturdiness, as well as maneuverability.
What are the different types of strollers?
There are several types of strollers:
Standard size strollers: These come in various designs and styles but will normally incorporate a comfy padded seat which reclines into a number of positions. Most of these strollers come with storage areas below their seat, as well as sun shades. Some will hold the baby facing forwards, whereas others will have your child looking towards you.
There are numerous models that can switch between these two positions. These strollers can range from inexpensive, simple models to top-of-the-line, feature-packed ones.
Car seat stroller frames: These are made from lightweight metal components which are designed for carrying certain kinds of infant car seats. Remove the infant car seat from the car base, fit it onto the stroller frame, and lo and behold, you’ve got a stroller. This feature comes in handy when you’ve got to move your baby out of the car’s back seat while they’re taking a nap.
These strollers can be easily folded up and tossed in the car’s trunk, where they don’t take up a lot of space. However, once the baby has outgrown their infant car seat (usually when their weight becomes at least 25 lbs., which means roughly an age of around one, you will have to move on to something else.
Travel systems are conventional strollers which have the added feature of holding infant car seats. This makes them bulkier and costlier than stroller frames but they can be used even after the baby has outgrown the car seat. They normally include both a stroller and a matching infant car seat.
Lightweight strollers: Also known as umbrella strollers, they normally have a weight of 12 lbs. or lower, and can be folded up into a small size. They are basic strollers that won’t pack in as much padding and, in some cases, may not be highly adjustable, but they are also cheaper than their more elaborate cousins.
Lightweight baby strollers are best for toddlers and babies who are well past infancy. A number of families utilize them as backups or for trips. Usually, these strollers aren’t recommended for infants since they don’t feature complete recline or a lot of head support.
Jogger strollers: These have a lightweight frame supported by three bicycle wheels which result in a smooth ride for both the passenger and the pusher. They are ideal when taking your kid with you on longer walks, treks and even hikes through woodland! There are also some double strollers which fall into this category with either a one-behind-other or side-by-side configurations.
Jogging strollers are also helpful when navigating in an open urban setting, but they can be a bit hard to maneuver inside elevators, up / down the stairs, through stores etc. due to their size. Also, they don’t fold into as small a form as other models do.Bear in mind that you may have to buy extra parts to safely use a jogging stroller with a baby younger than six months.
Certain jogging strollers fully recline for infantile babies, but if you’ve got one that doesn’t, be sure to purchase an infant car seat adapter or a carry cot that goes with your stroller.
Double and triple strollers: These enable the parent to push two (or more than two) babies simultaneously. Tandem models have one child sitting behind the other, a useful configuration for an older sibling and a baby. Certain conventional strollers also allow you to add a standing platform for the baby’s older sibling.
The other configuration is side-by-side. Tandem strollers have better maneuverability through doorways, although there can be a deficiency of legroom in the rear seats of certain models. These strollers are more difficult to navigate through a busy sidewalk, but have seats that provide equal comfort to all passengers.
Why is it so important to choose the right stroller?
Babies spend a comparatively brief period of time inside their strollers, which makes it vital for parents to ensure that this time is enjoyable and fruitful for both their babies and themselves. Watching your baby grow from infant to toddler can be a magical experience, especially if you’re a new parent, but it won’t be possible if you’re continually muttering curses about your baby stroller’s shaky wheels, or the difficulty you face folding it, or its lack of maneuverability or bulkiness.
Even more important than this is the fact that an uncomfortable stroller will deprive your baby of a comfortable sleep (when they nap inside the stroller), and will constantly keep them on edge. Even though the time they spend in the stroller will be brief, it will still be enough to leave a lasting impact.
As there are many different baby stroller brands available today, make sure to go through as many baby stroller reviews as possible, especially the ones left by other users, before you come to a decision.