Which pushchair to buy? The most important features to look for

Which pushchair to buy?

What pushchair or pram should I buy for my newborn?

A pushchair is one of your most important and expensive things you need to buy for your baby. In fact it’s quite an investment. So which pushchair to buy?

You will need a pushchair until your child is at least three years old. Maybe quite a lot longer if you are hoping to carry it on for a second baby.

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There is an overwhelming number of pushchairs, strollers and buggies on the market.

How do you know which one to buy? Which is the right pushchair for you?

How do I know which pushchair to buy?

Before you begin looking for a pushchair to buy, do you need to use it from birth? If the answer is yes, the pushchair must allow for your baby to lie flat.

This is probably the single most important thing for your baby regarding your pushchair. Your pushchair must enable your baby to lie flat as it is crucial for infant spinal development.

Aside from this, when you are ready to start shopping, it is useful to take into account your lifestyle, budget and personal preferences.

To help you come to a decision, narrow down your choices by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is your budget?
  • Where are you likely to go with your pushchair?
  • Will you take it shopping, on regular pavements, and/or off-road rough terrain such as days out at the beach?
  • Will you take it on public transport?
  • Do you need the pushchair to fit in the boot of your car?
  • Will you go jogging with it?
  • Do you need a shopping tray to fit underneath?
  • Do you want the pushchair seat to be forward facing, rear facing, or both?
  • Will you need the pushchair to last for a second baby?
  • Where will you store the pushchair at home when you’re not using it?
  • Will you need to regularly lift it up the stairs?
  • Are looks and style important to you?
  • Are you bothered if the pushchair comes with accessories (such as a matching changing bag) or are you willing to buy them separately?

More pushchair questions you need to ask

There are some other things to consider that are more easily addressed by testing out pushchairs in the shop, if you can.

Don’t be afraid to take up the shop assistant’s time and ask lots of questions – you could be spending a lot of money!

Things you need to know about your pushchair:

  • Does the pushchair look sturdy and comfortable enough for a young baby?
  • Does it have good suspension and strong brakes?
  • Will the pushchair hood adequately protect your baby from wind, sun and light rain?
  • Is the pushchair the right height for you to push?
  • Does it have a height adjustable handle or handlebars?
  • Is the handle comfortable to hold?
  • Can you walk normally with the pushchair in front of you?
  • Are you able to manoeuvre it easily with one hand?
  • Can you apply the brake easily and safely with different types of footwear, including flip flops and open-toed shoes (will your toenails still be attached)?
  • Could you easily recline the seat and put it back up with the extra weight of a baby in it?
  • Can you collapse the pushchair and put it back up easily on your own?
  • How much space will it take up in your hallway and does it fold up small enough for your liking?
  • Can you lift it into the boot of your car or anywhere else you have to carry it?
  • Can you easily fit your shopping in the underneath shopping tray or will you need extra hooks on the handlebar?

What features should I look for in a pram or pushchair?

Pushchairs suitable for newborns are generally categorised as either two-in-one, three-in-one, travel system, all-terrain, double/tandem or stroller and they share a range of features.

Whatever you need, a pushchair should probably include the following features if you want to make your life easier!

This includes the following 8 features to look for in a pram:

1. Multiple recline positions

This allows the pushchair to adapt to your growing baby. It starts off fully reclined so your newborn can lie flat, then from three months it can be partly reclined, and at six months it can be fully upright.

You still have the option to recline it if your child falls asleep.

2. Reversible seat

A reversible seat can be parent-facing or forward-facing. You’ll probably want the seat to face towards you at first so you can keep a close eye on your baby, and change it to forward facing when your child is older and wants a better view of the world.

3. Adjustable handlebar height

If your partner is taller than you, the pushchair handle can slide up so he or she doesn’t have to stoop.

It can also be adjusted for other people who may take the baby out from time to time. 

4. Easy folding mechanism

An easily collapsible pushchair saves you having a fight with it every time you need to fold and unfold it. This is especially important if it’s in and out of your car a lot or you use public transport regularly.

A one-handed fold mechanism is extremely useful as you can safely keep hold of your baby while you collapse the pushchair.

5. Practical weight and size

Taking into account the extra weight added by your child and bags of shopping, the pushchair should be light enough to get in and out of the house, mount pavement kerbs, push up stairs if forced to do so, and lift into the car boot when folded up.

Make sure it’s not too wide to fit through doorways.

6. Swivel wheels that lock

Swivel wheels move in different directions for better manoeuvrability in shops and through busy town streets. Locking the front wheels makes it easier to steer the pushchair over uneven ground.

Swivel wheels with a lock function give you the best of both worlds, although you may find you prefer one mode over the other.

7. Easy clean fabric

You will inevitably need to clean the pushchair covers due to vomit, milk spillages, leaking nappies and general dirt.

Wipe clean fabric can be cleaned with water and detergent, and removable covers can be stripped off and put in the washing machine.

8. Decent-sized shopping tray

If you want to stash your shopping or handbag underneath the pushchair, you need a fair-sized shopping tray. You can also hang shopping from the handlebar, but heavy bags could make the pushchair unstable.

You will miss the shopping tray when you no longer need a pushchair because you will have to carry everything!

Pushchair accessories

The ‘must have’ pushchair accessories are:

  • foot muff to keep your baby cosy in cold weather
  • rain cover for wet weather and wind protection
  • parasol for sun protection
  • bumper bar to hang soft toys
  • soft toys to hang on the bumper bar

Other accessories that may not be quite so important but may come in handy include:

  • cup holder for your baby’s bottle or sippy cup
  • pushchair fan for when it’s hot
  • BuggyBoard so an older child can ride along safely
  • pushchair rocker that mimics the normal hand rocking of a pushchair

You might have to buy accessories separately, but they sometimes come included with the pushchair depending on the deal you get!

How do I choose which pushchair to buy?

As you can see there are lots of things to consider when deciding on a good pushchair. 

Give yourself enough time to research different pushchairs and don’t purchase one at the last minute. You could end up with a pushchair you don’t like, or worse still, have to fork out for another one.

You may be lucky enough to have one handed to you by a friend or relative who has finished with theirs. 

Or you might find a secondhand one that’s going for a fraction of the original price (always check it’s in good condition). 

If not and you’re buying brand new, read lots of online customer reviews, and try to test out pushchairs in the shops.

Ask shop assistants who work in baby retail all the questions.

Ask your friends with pushchairs, they will be only too happy to tell you what they love and don’t love, and what they do and don’t need.

And keep your eyes peeled for special promotions and discounts!

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Here is some more information you may find useful:

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Which pushchair should you buy?