Monday, June 22, 2009

Important Features To Consider When Buying A Pram or Stroller

Indeed, choosing the right set of wheels for baby is a task more consuming than most of us realize, and some would equate it to buying the family car. There are so many factors I need to weigh up in order to find what is best for me and for my baby. This is exactly the main reason why we haven't bought the pram yet, though I know it is still too early to buy but at least at this early stage I would what's the best for my baby!

How long to you want the pram to last you?
Many prams are designed to take you from birth to around 4 years (if you can keep them in the pram that long!).

  • If you are purchasing for a newborn, bear in mind that it whilst it doesn't need to recline flat, it does needs to recline 130 degrees from the horizontal to be suitable.
  • Are you considering changing to a lightweight stroller once your toddler is more active?
  • Looking further ahead, are you planning on using the same pram for future children?

How much can you afford to pay for your dream pram?
Can you afford the pram you want without having to mortgage the house? Or will a cheaper model with all the same features do the trick?

Do both parents / partners agree on the pram?
Remember, it has to suit both your parental needs and physiques. You may need to consider things such as:

  • The weight of the pram when lifting and fitting it into the back of the car or when having to carry it into the house or up stairs.
  • Does it have an adjustable handle to suit both your heights?
  • Do you need a physics degree to fold/collapse the pram? Or can it be easily and calmly achieved when you are pregnant, have a screaming toddler on the hip and your ice-cream melting in the car?

What activities will you be doing with the pram?

  • Exercising a lot? If you intend jogging, you will need to look at brands that are designed with this in mind so that both you and baby are safe and comfortable.
  • Heading to the beach often? You need to think about the wear and tear of sand and salt water on your wheel fittings and steel/chrome/aluminium surfaces if you want to keep the pram looking and working at its best (especially if selling it later is on the cards).
  • Going to the shops? Some 3-wheeler models have a wider wheel base which increases its stability for jogging or rough terrain, however, it can mean you are limited when it comes to fitting through the check-out at the supermarket or between aisles of crowded shops.

General points not to be overlooked

  • Does the pram fit into your car when folded, or will you need to buy a new car to fit it in (along with the groceries, the nappy bag, the toddlers' trike, the dog, etc)? Can the wheels be easily removed to accommodate fitting into tight spaces?
  • Is the pram easy to manoeuvre in general? Remember, the size and weight of the pram will be different to control when you have an 11 kilo toddler in there in a year or so.
  • Are the wheel locks sturdy and not easily disengaged?
  • Does the basket under the pram allow you the space you need - quick trip to the supermarket, out all day at the zoo - and is the access to the basket easy - extra zippers and wide openings so that you don't have to pull everything out to get to something at one end?
  • When walking into the sun, does the handle reverse so that your babies' delicate skin and eyes are protected? Or can you get a sun-protection cover to fit your pram?
  • Ensure your pram has a 5-point safety harness that is adjustable to accommodate your growing child.
  • Ensure your pram has one or more parking devices that limits the movement of the pram. The release mechanism must be located so that it is not easily accessible to a child when the child is properly restrained in the pram. The colour of the device used to activate the parking mechanism must be RED and surrounding framework must be a contrasting colour.
  • All prams and strollers must be sold with a suitable tether strap that allows the pusher of the pram to be tethered to it whilst in use. Check the Australian Standards for more information on legal lengths of the tether strap.
  • Does the hood offer a reasonable area of shade, and does it have a view window so that you can check on baby whilst you are pushing the pram from behind.
  • Does the pram have a removable bumper? These are not only a safety feature on some prams but also double as a convenient spot for the baby to hold onto as well as great for attaching entertaining baby toys to.
  • Are you wanting a pram that you can attach a toddler seat or a skateboard to as the family grows? (toddler seats are additional seats that attach to the pram to allow you to carry a toddler as well as a newborn, or two toddlers. A skateboard is a board on wheels that clips onto the back axle of the pram. An older child can stand on this, holding the back of the pram, whilst you push the whole ensemble from behind.
Source: Bubhub

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