buying your first pushchair
Baby basics

What to consider before buying your first pushchair

Buying your first pushchair or pram is a major decision and investment. Follow this advice to help you make an informed choice.

Shopping for your new baby is an exciting, but also daunting experience – there is so much equipment to buy with so many different products to choose from. One of the biggest purchases you will make for your baby are the pram or/and pushchair. Make sure that you do your homework before you hit the shops, as it will really help if you know exactly what types/brands you’re looking for. These pointers below will be helpful for first-time parents or those wishing to upgrade.

Prams and pushchairs

The pram or stroller is probably one of the most essential pieces of baby equipment you will buy. There are many factors to consider before you make that all important purchase. Narrow down your choices with the following advice. Being able to differentiate between the options will make it easier for you to make a decision.

A pushchair is generally a sturdy model. The seat should be able to fully recline and be either forward facing or facing you. Suitable for both newborns and older babies, some can also fold flat.

A pram is similar to a pushchair and usually designed for newborns and younger babies, when they are also lying down. Prams are quite sturdy too but cannot be folded down flat.

A stroller is lightweight and usually collapsible. They are suited to older babies.

A buggy can be a pushchair or a stroller, depending on the manufacturer.

According to Which?, the best three options for a newborn are:

  1. From-birth seat – this is a pushchair seat that reclines to 150° or more.
  2. Pram format – some pushchair seats can convert to a pram format by unclipping or unzipping the fabrics.
  3. Carrycot – it’s best for babies to sleep on a firm horizontal base, so if you’re expecting to use the pushchair for lengthy daytime naps, or whole afternoons in the park, choose one that can take a carrycot. Most pushchairs come with a carrycot option, attached either straight onto the seat or by adaptors.

It’s best to wait until babies are around six-months old, or when they start to sit up on their own, before you use a pushchair seat in its most upright position. Travel systems, with multiple seat recline positions, can be used from birth with the seat in its lowest position (or a carrycot). Older babies and toddlers can then use the seat in its most upright position.

buying your first pushchair

Strollers, or buggies, are a lightweight and basic version of a pushchair. Some can only be used with older babies and toddlers, from six-months old, as they don’t recline far enough to be used from birth. Some models can be used with an accessory pack to turn them into a from-birth pram.

Consider

  • Handlebar height: Make sure that the handlebar height is easily adjustable so that it is comfortable for all who use the pushchair.
  • Folding: It’s really important that the pushchair can be easily folded – if you drive a car you’ll be doing this every day to get it into the boot so make sure it’s easy to do. Try it out in the store before you buy.
  • Shopping basket size: It’s always good to have a big shopping basket underneath the pushchair that allows easy access and features strong sides.
  • Is it comfortable for baby? Is the pushchair or pram padded? Will my baby be secure?
  • Is it easy to use? This is an essential point. Make sure that it is easy to push and manoeuvre. Check the brake pedals are easy to find and to apply.
  • Is it travel seat compatible? If you are a regular car user, then it’s worth being able to transfer your baby from the pushchair to the car without waking them up. You can purchase adaptors that can fit your car seat onto certain models of pushchairs. However, babies should not be confined to their car seat for long periods of time as it can increase the risk of SIDS.

Newborn safety

It is really important that your pram or pushchair can facilitate the needs of your newborn. Newborn babies need to lie back and not be sitting upright. The pram or pushchair must have a lie back facility.

Mum’s tip

“As someone who is tall, I needed a pram that was comfortable for me to push and was sturdy as I walk a lot. I also needed a pram that would serve me until baby no longer needed to be pushed around. I love my pram still to this day.”

  • Kacy Downes

More like this:

Self folding pram? Yes, please!
Choosing the right pushchair for you and baby
Top information for using public transport with baby

Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.

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ASK LUCY

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….