You just found out that you are going to be a parent and you are asking yourself just what are you supposed to do now? Once the panic has subsided you can take a deep breath and begin making a list of the items that you are going to need for your new baby. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you begin to realize just how many things you are going to need to buy. Just keep a couple of thought in mind as you get started on this new journey. The first thought is that there is a lot of help available for you, you are not going to be doing this alone. The second thought is a bit more serious but very important. It revolves around safety and how you need to keep your child’s safety in mind with every purchase.
Certain baby related items will need to addressed before you bring your child home from the hospital. Finding the best crib and choosing the best car seat are activities that you need to take care of before the baby arrives. One other purchase that you will want to think about is a baby stroller. While you probably won’t be using a stroller for the first few weeks after the baby is born, you will be surprised at just how often a baby stroller is used.
Set A Baby Stroller Budget Before Shopping
Choosing the right stroller for you should start out with you setting a budget. Used strollers in decent condition can be found for prices ranging from $15 to $50, depending on the type of stroller. New strollers are like new cars, there are hundreds of brands and styles, all with features that make the stroller unique but also make it more expensive. You need to decide what price range works best for you.
When you begin to look at strollers you should start out by looking at the different types available. Lightweight strollers with a vinyl canopy are very utilitarian and usually will be the least expensive. A stroller that is considered a convertible will have a heavy frame, probably a storage area under the seat compartment, a separate base to use as an anchor for the car seat in your car and a removable seat that converts into a car seat. They are wonderfully convenient, heavy but collapsible and usually a few hundred dollars more than a lightweight stripped down stroller.
There are many advantages to a convertible stroller and from a cost standpoint you will want to consider the savings from not having to buy a separate car seat. If you are going to do a lot of traveling you may want to consider a convertible stroller. The detachable seat not only can be used with an anchor as a car seat, it can also be used for airline travel. Before you reject a convertible stroller because of price you should add up the costs of a separate stroller and car seat.
Baby Strollers, Like Cars, Come With Features
Many strollers have features that you may or may not want, but they certainly will affect the price. Most have a play tray for the baby, usually it is a piece that snaps out easily for cleaning. This tray will have a place to put a juice box or a bottle that your child can easily reach. The tray may have a lip around it to help keep any toys in the tray.
Other strollers will have a version of this tray for the parents. Located by the handle, the parent’s tray will have cup holders for more adult beverages and a storage box for keys, cellphones and other items that you may carry. Both trays are very convenient but both will add to the cost of your stroller.
Strollers should have foot brakes that the parent can quickly access and use to lock the rear wheels. More elaborate strollers will have dual brakes, meaning that the front wheel or wheels will have a separate hand braking system. The braking system is critical for keeping the stroller in place when you don’t want it to move. Having a second front brake is a nice feature but, again, comes with a higher price.
Most basic strollers have rigid height bars for pushing. They get the job done but aren’t adjustable for people who are of different heights. Likewise, basic strollers are designed so that the seat will only face front looking. Higher end strollers allow you to either rotate the seat or rotate the push bar to make the seat rear facing. Many parents like this feature for those times that their child is fussy and seeing mom or dad can help calm them down. Having this feature on a stroller can add $20 to $40 to the price.
Pay Attention To Stroller Bedding
Parents always want the ability to use blankets in a stroller to keep their baby warm. Basic strollers don’t have any special blankets, you simply use a blanket to cover your child after you have them strapped in. Some strollers will have custom blankets that will snap in under the seat. The snaps guarantee that the blanket won’t fall off of your child and onto the street.
What About A Used Stroller?
One good way to save a lot of money is to buy a used stroller. Second hand strollers are sometimes great values, especially if they have been well taken care of. How do you know if a used stroller is safe for your child? Here are some simple safety checks that you can make:
* Check with the Consumer Products Safety Commission to see if the stroller has been recalled or if any safety warnings have been issues.
* Make sure the compartment where your child will be sitting is clean and that there are no tears in the fabric.
* Examine all of the hinges and connections on the frame. If pieces are missing or if a part is broken you should probably avoid this stroller.
* Are the wheels in good shape? Make sure they are attached firmly to the axle and that the brakes press down on them.
* If the stroller has a baby tray you must make sure it fits tightly and doesn’t have any sharp edges.
* Almost all strollers have reclining seats. Check that the seat not only reclines but latches securely into the position you desire.
Buying a used stroller can be a smart move financially but you must be cautious. Your baby’s safety must always be your number one concern. You and your child will have many hours of fun and activity with a stroller so make sure you are making the best purchase.