8 questions every parent needs to ask before buying a stroller

Some of these can affect the safety of your child (and many parents don't realize it).

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  • Feeling overwhelmed by options when it comes to stroller shopping? You're not alone. Whether you're a seasoned parent or a first-timer, choosing the right stroller for your family can be a tough decision. If you need some help narrowing down the playing field, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Is it safe to buy a used stroller?

  • It might be tempting to look for a used stroller because you can get them so much more cheaply than a brand new one, but Consumer Reports discourages parents from buying used unless the stroller is relatively new and you trust the person selling it to you. Older strollers won't meet the current stroller safety regulations and may have loose, broken or missing parts that could compromise its structural integrity.

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  • Will it fit in your trunk?

  • This is a crucial question if you plan on taking the stroller anywhere besides the neighborhood where you live. You'll likely have no trouble squeezing in an umbrella stroller, but some strollers, especially those made for two kids, need extra storage space.

  • What terrain will you be traveling on?

  • Some strollers perform better on certain surfaces than others. For instance, the small, solid wheels of carriage type strollers do great on flat sidewalks and roads, but can't turn at all on rocks or sand. Bigger tires, like those of the Strolly and the jogging stroller, allow you to navigate bumps and off-road trails more easily. Three wheel configurations can also give you better leverage and easier maneuvering off the pavement than four wheels can.

  • How will your family change in the future?

  • It's important to take into account the foreseeable future when purchasing a stroller. How will your family situation change six months, a year, or five years down the road? You'll want to consider how your stroller will meet your needs in the years to come.

  • If you have two children close in age, it might be worth it to get a double stroller. However, if your oldest is getting close to growing out of a stroller, you'll need to consider what the easiest way will be for you to get around and may want to get a stroller that changes as your child grows. Some parents opt for a baby carrier and a singleton stroller and not going with a double stroller.

  • Will you take it with you when you travel?

  • Traveling with strollers can be tricky, whether you fold them in the back of a car or take them with you on an airplane. The good news is, most airlines allow free stroller checking either at the security desk or at the gate. Strollers you take with you on car trips need to be able to squeeze into a car packed with luggage, which might be a discouraging prospect, but if you plan on doing much walking around at your destination the extra effort could be worth it.

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  • What stroller accessories are you looking for?

  • Strollers these days come with all sorts of handy amenities, from built-in speakers to cup holders to pedals to keep your tot entertained while you push. Think about the weather and the places you plan on taking your stroller. Which accessories are most important for you to have?

  • How often will you use your stroller?

  • If you'll be using your stroller very frequently, it might be worth it to you to go a little higher end to get one that is high quality and will last through miles of walking or jogging.

  • How long will you use it?

  • A good quality stroller should give your family years of enjoyment. You'll be able to use it even longer if it can change as your child grows. For instance, the Strolly can be changed from a stroller to a tricycle or balance bike when your child has grown too big for or become bored of sitting quietly in a normal stroller.

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Katie Nielsen received her bachelor's in English with an emphasis in technical writing. She has taught English and is a published writer.

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