By Kathy Van Mullekom, (Newport News, Va.) Daily Press
As you’ll find out when you’re shopping for a stroller, there’s a wide price range among types and brands. What makes one stroller worth $100 and another $750? Several things drive up the price.
Higher-end strollers are usually made of high-grade, lighter-weight aluminum, and are easier to lift in and out of a car or navigate on and off of buses and trains. The seat is cushier, with more back support, and is likely to be made of high-quality fabric. And because they often feature large, shock-absorbing swivel wheels, higher-end strollers are usually easier to push and a smoother ride for babies.
Bigger-ticket strollers also have such amenities as adjustable handles, which can save your back if you’re tall, and a reversible seat so your baby can face toward or away from you. They tend to be durable enough to be passed along from child to child. But that doesn’t mean a lower-end stroller won’t serve you well. A lot depends on where and how much you’ll use the stroller. For infrequent travel or trips to the mall, a lower-end umbrella stroller (less than $100) might be all you need. But if you’re going to be strolling more often and through all kinds of weather and conditions, consider spending more. Good-quality traditional strollers start at about $250. Get stroller ratings for all styles at www.ConsumerReports.org.
Five common stroller mistakes
Using a stroller might seem intuitive, but it’s easy to make mistakes in setting it up and wheeling it out. Here are some common lapses and how to avoid them so that your buggy doesn’t become a risky ride for your child.
- Using a hand-me-down without checking its history. A stroller purchased years ago for an older child might have since been recalled. Before you dust it off for reuse, check with the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission for product alerts. Even if it hasn’t been recalled, there are other reasons you might want to consider buying a brand-new set of wheels. Stroller safety standards are regularly reviewed, so newer models might be a better bet. They might also have new features that make them easier to use.
- Failing to make sure the stroller is fully locked into its “open” position before strapping in your child. It’s easy to skip this step when you’re in a rush, and some strollers require force and effort to make sure they lock. Make it a point to listen for that all-important click every time, or the stroller might fold in—with your child in it.
- Forgetting to buckle up your child, even if you’re just wheeling him or her up the block, or going slowly. You never know when you could hit a bump that could cause a nasty tumble, so make sure your little one is properly strapped in.
- Treating your stroller like a shopping cart. Parents often toss a shopping bag or purse around the handles, but if the stroller wasn’t designed to carry that extra weight it could tip over. Having a basket or storage area under the stroller helps, but be sure to check the directions for weight limits before you stash items there.
- Failing to brake. It only takes a slight incline to send the stroller rolling away from you. Put your foot on the brake when you take your hands off the stroller, even if you’re stopping for just a moment.