Buying Guide to Baby Strollers

A baby stroller is one of the largest purchases you're likely to make when your new baby arrives, and it is essential to your baby's future safety -- and your comfort -- to choose the right stroller for you. With a little preparation and a few simple checks, you can ensure that your baby stroller is perfect for your needs, and that it will hold up against whatever uses for which it will be needed until your child outgrows it.

Determining the type of stroller you need

Strollers vary considerably based on intended use, and the price you pay will range widely according to the type of baby stroller you buy. For instance, a jogging stroller generally has to be tougher, easier to handle and lightweight -- the price tag is often two or three times what you would pay for a stroller fit to carry your baby on casual walks or for meandering around the mall.

Often, strollers can be selected based on wheel size. In general, the larger the wheels, the rougher the terrain they're designed to handle, and the faster the speeds they'll be able to travel smoothly.

Prepurchase research

Every day, hundreds of consumer products are recalled for various defects, including baby strollers. Stores are supposed to remove these items from their shelves, but it's always a good idea to do your own research to ensure that there are no new developments to which the retailer hasn't responded yet.

Just as with any type of product, the quality and reliability of individual brands will vary. Take some time to research consumer reviews of your prospective baby strollers, and pay particular attention to people who cite reasons similar to your own for making their purchase decision.

In-store examination

Before you buy, make sure to physically examine the stroller in the store, or go to a local store to examine a stroller similar to one you're buying online. Make sure that you're satisfied with the way that it handles. Check that the back of the seat adjusts to be age-appropriate for your child. Buckle and unbuckle the safety harness, and fold and unfold the stroller, to make sure that you are able to perform these tasks easily.

If possible, bring the child for which the stroller is intended, to make sure that it's a good fit. Make sure that he or she cannot reach the wheels from a properly buckled-in position, and that there is nothing that can pinch small fingers while the stroller is in use. This will guarantee the best possible experience for both of you, and the most overall satisfaction with this very important purchase.

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