When you’re a parent on the move, there are seemingly limitless variables to consider: transit times, adequate snacks, toys/ means of distraction, sufficient diaper and wipes, and proper supplies for when you finally arrive to your destination. But wait -- how will you actually get from Point A to Point B? The right pushchair makes a difference: rather than drag yourself, your child, and the supplies down the street, you’ll save time, physical energy, and actually enjoy a bumpy ride. In fact, the right pushchair encourages you to take yourself and your tyke on far-flung adventures. Where do you want to go? This guide helps you find the pushchair to take you there.
For a Brand New Baby
Are you a new mom ready-and-raring to introduce your baby to the wide world? Grab a carrycot pram and go! These pushchairs can be lowered so that a newborn can lay vertically in them. A good one goes beyond the typical bassinet width so that a baby’s car seat or hand-held carriage can be laid in it.
For the Whole Family to Use
Does Dad, Grandpa, or Auntie plan to use the pushchair when Mom isn’t around? Great -- it takes a village, right? Buy a pushchair that has adjustable handle height so that people of any height can push baby with ease. Beware that chintzy adjustable handles can start rattling after a few uses. Again, use online reviews to validate the quality of the brands/ styles you’re looking at. Or, make sure the chair you buy has a generous warranty.
For a Trip to the Grocery Store
Some pushchairs actually come with what are termed “shopping baskets” underneath the carriage themselves, specifically for the purposes of carrying shopping bags home from the grocery store. If it’s ergonomically savvy, this low-lying shelf will be heavier on the front. Why? Even with ample storage below the carriage, you may find yourself tempted to hang a bag over the handles. A distracted and busy mom can too easily flip their pushchairs by hanging bags off the back. Just in case, heavy under-carriages guard against falls.
For an Outdoor Adventure
Thanks to family-friendly cars, carefully arranged trails, and the sheer popularity of outdoor family fun, more prams are being adjusted to suit activities like hiking, beach-combing, and promenading along cobblestones. Outdoor pushchairs must be lightweight, easy to unload from the car, able to move up hills and down pebble-strewn paths without causing you more effort than necessary. The newest outdoor-friendly pushchairs have pneumatic tyres -- air-filled tyres capable of absorbing most of the bumps, lumps, and jumps that outdoor terrain offers. Yet, these tyres aren’t as foolproof as their hard plastic counterparts. If you purchase a pneumatic pram, be sure to also get: a hand pump; a puncture kit; and a back-up pushchair for air travel. Why? Air-filled tyres will pop if you go on a plane! (Or, just deflate the tyres before boarding).
For a Big Vacation
If you’re going to be traveling by trains, planes, and automobiles, you’re going to want a pushchair. In these situations, a small pushchair with extra compartments will keep your arms free to manage ticketing processes, stow bags, help the baby to keep its nap-time, and generally create more travel ease. Of course, a bulky pushchair will only burden and slow your travel time. So, look first for a pushchair that folds neatly. Look for ones that can slide in to overhead compartments or behind rows of chairs in public transport. Many pushchairs advertise one-handed fast fold -- read reviews to see if others find the fold as simple as advertised. P.S. -- if you’re planning to travel to wild international locales, check out our article on travel immunisations!
The biggest, baddest, and most bombastic pushchairs on the market are ATP’s: All Terrain Pushchairs. These 3-wheel buggies will go anywhere, do anything, and fold up in between. With one wheel on front and two on back, they can basically wiggle in and out of any situation, especially when the front wheel is loose. Need to go in a straight line? Put the front wheel on lock-down and the only way you’ll move is the way you started. Some people prefer to leave the front wheel locked if they’re mounting curbs often -- a swivel-y wheel can get caught on the pavement and tip the entire chair.
Not only do ATP’s intrinsically include pneumatic tyres, but they’re also updated with the type of suspension you see on mountain bikes. Are you looking for an urban ATP? They’re available. What about a tandem 3-wheeler for two kiddos? Those exist, too. What about one with a whole travel system, sprouting a smaller pram for day-trips out of the ATP? Done. There are only two downsides to these hardcore baby-mobiles. One, all-terrain pushchairs are expensive (read below for tips on finding cheaper ones). Two, they can be wide, bulky, and heavy. Pick what matters most to you, then read reviews to find a chair that suits.
Before you Buy
Once you know what kind of pushchair you’ll need, use online reviews like PushchairExpert.com to help you hone in on brands, models, and current styles. For a little more insight, and a bit of family fun, sign up as a pushchair-tester with the website. If you’ve got time to search and are on a budget, try looking for lightly used versions on the “Just Prams on Pushchairs” Facebook Buy/Sell Group. Many kids grow out of a chair faster than mom can use it, or mom bought the wrong chair rarely used it at all. Thanks to this guide, you won’t be one of those moms...
About the author
Emily Stewart calls herself a “Pi-Fit-Yogi,” teaching yoga, Pilates, and blended classes all around the world. You can reach her at ahumandoing.org.