Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things to Look for in a Stroller

We know that walking into a baby store or researching baby gear online can be pretty confusing and overwhelming for expecting mommies and daddies, so we wanted to share our ten ideal features to look for when picking out a stroller that is perfect for your family's lifestyle. So, without further ado, here are our stroller must-haves!

  1. Large storage basket: Whether you like it or not, mamas have a lot of stuff to carry around 24/7. From the dreaded diaper bag to a purse to shopping bags, you're definitely going to need a place to store all of these essential items. Purchasing a stroller with a large basket secures that extra space if it's needed and lets you rest assured that you won't be throwing heavy bags over your shoulder when on the go.
  2. Oversized canopy with peek-a-boo window: Besides transporting your little ones around, strollers are also used to shield them from the weather! Whether it's pouring rain or the sunshine is out in full, ultraviolet force, it's important to have a large canopy to protect baby from the elements. Peek-a-boo windows are an added bonus because they allow mom or dad to keep an eye on baby without having to walk around to the front of the stroller.
  3. Easy fold: Let's be honest. No one wants to have a hard time packing up a stroller after an exhausting day out with baby. Find a stroller that you can fold quickly to minimize frustration and time away from your little one.
  4. Convertible harness: Products that grow with your child are currently all the rage. Strollers with a convertible harness allow it to convert from a 5-point harness to a 3-point harness and give the product a longer life span. It's always good to get more for your money, right?
  5. Lockable wheels with easy-access brakes: Wondering who is going to hold the stroller while you load groceries into the car or how you'll keep the stroller in place when you bump into an old friend at the park and want to have a chat? Wonder no more!  Pretty much every stroller on the market has some sort of lockable wheels and/or brake system. We recommend strollers with brakes that can easily be depressed and released with the foot, making it super-easy for parents. If you can find a stroller with linked brakes, go for that one! These strollers have one lever that controls all of the wheels. Pretty cool, huh?
  6. Parent cup holder and organizer: Now, this isn't something that parents typically think about or miss until they actually begin using the stroller. If baby has a cup holder, why doesn't mommy or daddy? It can be annoying to have to hold your water bottle and cell phone while strolling around town, so if you think that's something you'll want to do, it would be wise to consider a stroller that includes these accessories so you don't have to purchase them separately.
  7. Infant car seat compatibility: Complete travel systems are the most convenient option for parents. They allow you to take your infant out of your car with baby still buckled in, and attach to your stroller. This is perfect when you have a sleeping baby and don't want to wake him or her by transporting from the car seat to the stroller. It also reduces the hassle of loading children in and out of the car.
  8. Wheel suspension: A bumpy ride is less that desirable for your little ones, so consider a stroller with wheel suspension. This feature gives little ones a much smoother ride and allows you to use your stroller on a variety of terrains.
  9. Shoulder and buckle padding: Along with safety, comfort is a main selling point of a stroller. After all, who doesn't want their children to be extra cozy? A stroller that offers shoulder and buckle padding provides that extra plush material to keep the rough straps and hard buckle from rubbing against your little one's sensitive skin.
  10. Washable seat pad: Just think about all of those graham cracker crumbs and juice spills lurking in the crevices of your stroller... babies are MESSY! Because of this unavoidable fact, it's important to purchase a stroller with a removable, washable seat pad. If you're not able to throw it in the wash, it's likely that you'll never get it 100% clean.
We hope this gave you some things to think about and consider the next time you decide to delve into the world of baby gear! What's your personal must-have stroller feature? Tell us in the comments below!
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