Stroller Buying Guide

A stroller is often a baby shower or grandparents’ gift to new parents. Whether you are buying a stroller yourself, or helping guide a gift-giver, knowing something about the choices available will make the task easier.


The different plans you have for a stroller may affect what features you need to focus on when buying stroller.

  • For crowded places—look for maneuverability.
  • For fitting into small spaces—look for fold-up models that become compact.
  • For tiny babies—look for models with support and sizing for infants.
  • For accompanying you when you exercise—look for jogging or all-terrain models, as appropriate.
  • For running errands—look for storage.
  • For more than one child—look for multi-child models.

  • Style

    Strollers come in five main types, suited to a variety of purposes:

    • Infant or Toddler Stroller
    • Sports Stroller
    • Lightweight/Umbrella Stroller
    • Standard or Traditional Stroller
    • Multi-child Stroller

  • Ease

    • Check to see if you are able to set up or take down the stroller quickly and with one hand.
    • Check to see how you can maneuver the weight if you have to pick it up.
    • Consider if you’ll need to have multiple strollers as your child outgrows the first.
    • Check the steering—is it easy to direct the stroller as you wish?
    • Check the locking system—is it easy to turn on and off, and does it hold well, especially on a hill?
    • Check for sturdiness—umbrella strollers should fold easily, but the frame shouldn’t bend in the process.
    • Check for curb action—the stroller should handle the change in height and tilt when you desire it, but not tip when you don’t.

  • Flexibility

    • In multi-child strollers, if you intend to use it for children of different ages, the ability to independently adjust the seats may be important to you. Check the width to make sure it can fit the doorway into your home before buying a stroller.

    • Rarely, all-terrain or standard strollers are suitable for jogging. And because of its non-swiveling front wheel, a jogging stroller is not very maneuverable in a crowded area. Make sure your stroller choice will function in the ways you need it to.

    • If the stroller will be pushed by people of significantly different heights, check for adjustable handle height.

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    • Car seat compatibility is another feature to check for, as some strollers feature attachments for infant car seats which facilitate easy transfer from the car to the stroller. Before buying a stroller, check the brand compatibility with your car seat.

  • Extras

    Some of the extras in today’s stroller packages include:

    • Handbrake
    • Waterproof fabric
    • Rain canopy
    • Foot muff
    • Umbrella
    • Liquid holster
    • Cup holder
    • Reclining seat
    • Additional fabric sets, which allow you to wash one, without the stroller being “out of commission.”
    • Rear window so you can see your baby
    • Storage basket
    • Play tray
    • Snack tray
    • Tray compartment for keys, pacifiers, etc.


Note that jogging or running while pushing a stroller will change your gait because you cannot swing both arms. If possible, before buying a stroller, try running with a friend’s stroller to make sure that it will be safe not only for the baby, but for you.

A good restraint system will both have safety belts that fasten securely. A lap belt with a crotch T-strap is typical, but there are also 5-point belts which adds a shoulder harness system, which is the safest. When buying a stroller, make sure that there is a way to close off the leg holes if an infant is reclining in the carriage position.

Strollers have been recalled for various reasons. Check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Keeping Baby Safe web sites for details about stroller recalls. Consumer Reports is also a good source of information on how well a stroller rates in terms of safety, quality and ease of use.

And no matter how good a stroller you get, never leave a child unattended in a stroller.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

Related Home Institute Articles

  • Stroller Safety
  • Things you Need for your Newborn
  • Baby Carriers
  • Car Safety Seat
  • Introduction to Strollers
  • Introduction to Booster Seats
  • Introduction to Baby Travel Systems
  • Introduction to Baby Carriages
  • Highchair Buying Guide