When you’re expecting a baby, and start doing the “gear” research, there is no hotter topic than which stroller to buy. For some reason buying a stroller can be a very personal experience. For many, a stroller not only is used for the function of rolling their little one around saving arms and backs from premature aging, but it’s also a way to express something about yourself. If you’re hip and cool you might have a sleek modern stroller with fresh colors, if you’re sporty - a stroller with all-terrain wheels, or if you’re Boho-chic maybe you have a vintage refurbished pram. Whichever way you go, lots of parents-to-be get really stressed out deciding just which one they’ll buy...
To start, I think it’s best to define what features are most important to you. If you live in a city, and want a light compact stroller that you can take up and down stairs easily, a heavy jogging stroller with full tilt suspension probably isn’t going to be your best bet. Also, do you want a stroller that has options for a newborn (full recline)? car seat compatibility? “grow-with-me”?
Second, what will you use it for? Will you use it for jogging? Will you be primarily in the city where size and weight is a huge factor? Will you have a giant-ass SUV and no budget to limit you? Or will you be using it as a second stroller for the grandparents to take Junior out for a stroll? And if you’re on your second child, and you’ve been through say 8 crappy strollers (no joke), it’s even more important to find the right one the first time.
Lastly, you need to set a budget...strollers can run from $14.99 to well over $1,000. Buying a poorly made stroller can end up costing you down the road (I know!), so best bet is to buy a quality one. Quality doesn’t have to mean pricey, either. Resale value is also something to keep in mind if you have a little one who ends up rejecting his/her ride earlier than expected.
I currently have two strollers. The first I bought was a Silver Cross Mini when our older son was 3, and we’d decimated 7 pervious strollers (yes, seriously, it was tragic). The fam and I were living in the city of Portland, and since he was no longer a baby I needed something compact, easy for him to get in and out of, and sturdy. I went with Silver Cross for a few reasons: the company has been established for over 100 years. Any company that’s been around making reputable products for that long must be doing something right. They offered more features for less money than a similarly equipped Maclaren Volo. And English Royals use them...dude, need I say more? The Mini lived up to all of our expectations...it had a decent sized cargo compartment for an umbrella stroller, full suspension (which was nice when getting on and off the train), came with a sun canopy, and had a nifty seat recline. Silver Cross doesn’t make the Mini anymore, but they did come out with a new line of strollers. The Pop is comparable to what we have now...only with better colors and removable, washable fabric! Still, about 4 years, 30 plane trips, 175 naps, and 1,000 errands later the Silver Cross is going strong!
Our second stroller came along with the second child. I researched a lot, and after seriously considering a Mutsy, we settled on it’s Dutch counterpart - a Bugaboo Cameleon. The husband liked it’s clean Euro lines, and easy maneuverability from the city to the park. I appreciated it’s bassinet, car seat adapter, and multi-function recline options. It has all the bells and whistles of a high end stroller like rugged, all terrain wheels and suspension which makes walking up on the trail behind our house pleasant, and trips to the Oregon wilderness bearable (yes, the in-laws live in the middle of nowhere...it’s awesome). Also, Bugaboo has a variety of great accessories like an obligatory foot-muff for the aforementioned Oregon trips and winter holidays back East. My only complaint is lack of snack tray (it's an American thing, I guess).
Never the less, there are TONS of great stroller options out there to meet all kinds of needs. I wish I was able to test them all out!
You can find Silver Cross prams and push-chairs at Baby Alula in Oakland, Baby Couture in Burlingame, and Talbot’s in San Mateo.
You can find Bugaboo strollers just about everywhere now, even Babies R Us!