How to choose a stroller

The stroller is definitely one of the most important items on any parent’s mind. However, finding something that fits your budget and lifestyle may be tricky, given the numerous options in the market. Since it’s most likely going to be one of the most expensive purchases, it will be important to do sufficient research and evaluate what your needs are before buying one.

It did not cross my mind to speak to anyone about the pros and cons of their strollers, and it was difficult as well, since I did not have any closer friends who are mums. So ys and I just did our research online and watched reviews of strollers on youtube. This may not be the best idea since many reviews we read were by mums/dads who lived in european countries or the states and their concerns would obviously be very different from us, living in Singapore.

We settled on a peg perego piko p3 compact in the end and although we are generally pleased with it, we wish we had considered more factors before our purchase. Therefore, I thought it would be useful to list here, the questions that every parent should consider before making that important purchase.

1)  What is your lifestyle like?

By this, I mean what activities would you be doing with baby and where are you likely to bring baby. For example, if you intend to jog or skate with your stroller (what many caucasian dads and moms do), then it will be necessary to get a jogger stroller with air filled tires and a good suspension (yes, a jogger stroller is usually that cool 3 wheeled almost gigantic stroller which is getting increasingly popular with strollers these days). But if your weekends are spent mostly in shopping malls (like mine), then you may wish to consider getting something smaller (and I do mean a smaller width, which is measured by how far your wheels are apart) and which can manoeuvre tight corners with ease. Trust me, it can be a real pain trying to get through those narrow aisles or a crowded restaurant (and having to say sorry a million times for hitting into the chairs of other diners), and it is not funny when you cannot fit your stroller into every other crowded lift that comes along. When you shop around for a stroller, do push the stroller around the shop and test if it can fit in the aisles and whether the wheels can manoeuvre tight corners with ease.

2) Who will be handling the stroller most of the time?

This would affect the maximum weight of a stroller you would consider  as well as the height of the handlebars. The weight of the stroller, to me, is one of the most important factors to consider. My stroller weighs about 8.3kg and I honestly have a bit of trouble handling it because of its weight and size. Even the husband finds it tiring to haul the stroller in and out of the boot. Therefore, when testing the stroller, do not just lift it up momentarily to determine if you are comfortable with the weight. Haul it up like you would, when you are placing the stroller into your car boot. I personally think it’s important to get something that the wife can manage as well. You can’t always depend on the husband!

On handlebars, check if the stroller has adjustable handlebars, if the people who are handling the stroller have a great height difference. This is often overlooked but it can put quite a strain on your shoulders if you push a stroller around for hours when the handlebar is not at the right height.

3) Can the stroller fit nicely into your car boot?

This is also often overlooked (speaking from personal experience). The stroller you are looking at, when folded, should be able to fit into your boot with ease. If the shop you are buying from allows you to try putting the stroller into the boot, then go for it. If not, bear in mind the amount of space in your car boot, especially if you already carry many things in your car boot, which you cannot put away. If not, it can be quite annoying trying to arrange the things in your car boot, so you can fit the stroller in it, every time before you drive off, and having to put up with nasty looks from drivers who are waiting for your car park space. Also, do not forget that you still need to leave some space for your shopping and supermarket runs.

4) Are you likely to take public transport (including taxi) and/or go out alone?

This will affect the type of collapsibility for example, is it a one-hand fold (which allows you to open and close the stroller with one hand). Of course, even if you do not take public transport, you may want to choose something with a one-hand fold, but I’m saying it is absolutely necessary if you are taking public transport or a taxi alone. A stroller with a one-hand fold essentially allows you to carry the baby in one arm and open/close the stroller with the other. If not, you will have to look for somewhere to place the baby before opening/closing the stroller, which is generally not a problem if you drive, since you can always place the baby on the car seat, or if you will be with someone else, since you always pass the baby to the person with you. I have been out with Aly  a couple of times (since she was two months old actually), all made possible because of my Combi Well Comfort stroller, which boasts a one-hand fold. After all, you cannot always count on the taxi driver to open/close the stroller for you, although they generally would help you with the stroller in and out of the boot.

5) Do you want the stroller to be part of a travel system?

This means that your stroller allows you to fix a newborn car seat to it, so that you do not have to lift the baby out from the car seat and put him/her down in the stroller, which is especially useful if the baby is sleeping. You can then use the same stroller (with the car seat attached) for newborns and the stroller on its own once baby acquires neck control, although some brands allow you to use the stroller on its own from newborn. However, such travel systems are often bulky and heavy, especially those that require you to fix the car seat onto the stroller (as opposed to the frame, like what Quinny allows).

6) When are you going to put baby in the stroller?

Only certain strollers (those that allow full recline) are suitable for newborns. These are also usually pricier. Some parents may prefer to carry their newborns in their arms or slings or do not contemplate being out with baby until, say three months. If thats the case, you may wish to put off your purchase until after baby is delivered. You can then bring baby with you to test out the strollers. One potential problem with not putting the baby in a stroller from the start is that you run the risk of your baby not wanting to be in one when you’re finally prepared to do so, since they would obviously prefer to be carried close to the parent.

7) Other factors to consider:

  • canopy that extends all the way down? which is useful when baby needs to nap.
  • reversible handles/seats so newborns can face parent?
  • size and accessibility of storage basket?
  • ability to push stroller with one hand?
Here is a useful article from babycenter on the top 10 strollers in Singapore, to get you started.
You may be able to find a few useful reviews on youtube but bear in mind that the european models may differ slightly from the models that are imported into Singapore. I would suggest going around the different shops to try out the strollers and speaking to your friends about what they like and dislike about their strollers before making your purchase.
For great bargains, do check out:
1) Baby Hypermart/Hyperstore (for brands like Quinny, Peg Perego and Maclaren)
69, Kaki Bukit Ave 1, Shun Li Industrial Park
Singapore 417947
Ph : 6844 1123
2) Baby Kingdom (for brands like Combi, Capella)
83 Kaki Bukit Ave 1 #01-00 Shun Li industrial park
Ph: 6547 1677
3) (which offers a 15% discount off the published price if you sign up as a member). Do also look out for great stroller deals from time to time.