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How to Choose a Pushchair
During the first few weeks with your new-born, chances are you won’t be at all interested in venturing into the outside world. You’ll be focused on establishing a new routine and family dynamic and won’t want to leave the cosiness of your little bubble at home.
Once you regain your strength and sleep and have found your groove as a parent, you’ll be itching to get out and introduce your baby to the wonders of the world.
And while you may choose to carry your child around in a baby sling at first, you’re going to have to find an alternative as soon they start growing. If you haven’t already, this is when you should start looking into investing in a pushchair.
A quality pushchair will give you the liberty to get your child comfortably from point A to point B with minimal fuss and backache. It allows you to transport your baby safely and, depending on the model, offers plenty of storage space for diaper bags, toys and drinking or feeding accessories.
Deciding on the right pushchair can be daunting, as there are so many things to consider. The world of pushchairs has a lingo of its own and, if you’re not schooled in it, it can get quite confusing.
We are here to help you save yourself the headache of getting lost in hours of pushchair research: here are the most important factors to consider when choosing a pushchair.
As is the case with most baby products, it’s always best to opt for a pushchair with adaptable features to ensure you will be getting good use out of it for a number of months or years.
While most of us were under the impression that prams and pushchairs were the same things, they are in fact geared towards different age groups. Prams are used for newborns who need to lay flat and are usually designed to have the baby facing the parents.
Pushchairs, on the other hand, are forward-facing and designed for older babies and toddlers who are already or currently learning to, sit up. If you are planning on a smooth, economic transition between the new-born months and toddler years, your best bet is an adaptable pram/pushchair combination.
These pram/pushchair combos come with all the necessary features to adapt to your child’s age and needs, and you can simply switch the carrycot for a seat unit when the time is right.
Another factor you’ll want to think about is whether the pushchair can be folded and stored easily. This is especially true for parents who regularly commute via public transport and those with minimal living or car-boot space.
Think of buying a pushchair as buying a car: this is going to be your baby’s main mode of transportation and, as such, should be equipped to handle the terrains you frequent as a family, safely and comfortably.
If you’re mainly going to be strolling through the city with your baby, you won’t have to pay as much attention to the wheels as you’ll mainly be on flat, even surfaces.
For those of you who like to go off-grid, hiking through rocky terrains, walking along sandy beaches or trekking up mountains, a sturdier model with all-terrain features and big, robust wheels is advisable.
There are even pushchairs that were specifically designed for sporty parents who like to combine their one-on-one time with the baby with their exercise routine. Jogging strollers – or simply, “joggers” – usually feature three wheels.
The front wheel is of the swivel-variety, allowing for swift turns and movements. Most jogging strollers come equipped with a handbrake and a foot-operated parking-break for optimal safety.
While these jogging strollers are ideal for active parents who are always looking for the next uneven path to run up or speed-walk, they’re not recommendable for simple every-day use as the manoeuvrability is limited.
Besides the pushchair, there are certain accessories you simply can’t go without. While some pushchairs include everything you need to get you through all types of weathers and situations, others don’t.
Two of the most important things you’ll need to keep your baby safe and comfortable through all temperatures are a UV sunshade and a rain cover or hood.
UV sunshades for prams can be mounted to different parts of the pram and are equipped with a flexible handle that allows you to position it in a way that will keep your baby protected at all times, whilst still allowing for plenty of visibility so your baby can explore the world passing by.
Rain covers or hoods are equally important and will get your baby through the cold and rainy seasons dry, warm and protected from the wind. There are different types of rain covers and hoods available, some only cover the front part of the pushchair, others cover the pushchair in its entirety.
For the super-cold winter months, it’s always a good idea to invest in a warm, comfortable lining made of fleece or wool. This will keep your baby cosy, warm and snug as a bug in a rug, even when it’s freezing out.
Footmuffs are also very popular. Cold feet stop us from warming up the rest of our bodies, especially when you’re mostly sitting still, which will be the case with your baby (all wriggling aside). Keeping your baby tucked in a footmuff will ensure their feet will stay nice and toasty.
You may also want to consider older siblings or whether you are planning on having another baby in the not-so-distant future, as certain add-ons could really facilitate your every-day life and end up saving you money.
If you’re travelling with multiple children of roughly the same age or think you might be welcoming another baby into the family soon, look into pushchairs that feature attachable double options or a step on which an older sibling can hitch a ride.
Last but not least, clip-on toys for the pushchair’s bumper are always a fantastic add-on – they’ll keep your baby happy, occupied and stimulated.