Finding the right buggy, pram or pushchair can be a minefield – the choices are so overwhelming. It is important to figure out exactly what type will suit your baby and your lifestyle. Consider these factors before you decide.
What is the difference between a pushchair and a pram?
Here is a rough guide to help you differentiate between the options and hopefully make it easier 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. They are 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 lying down. Prams are quite sturdy also. Generally speaking, they cannot be folded down flat.
- A stroller is lightweight. They are usually collapsible and are suited to older babies.
- A buggy can be a pushchair or a stroller, depending on the manufacturer.
Before you decide:
Do you use public transport?
If you use public transport or have steps leading to your home that you would have to carry the pram up, a lightweight, compact easy to fold pram would be the most suitable option. There are some models where the seat unit will fold away, which are very handy if you are stuck for space or somewhere to store the pram.
Do you use a car?
If a car is your primary mode of transport, it is extremely important to make sure that the pram or pushchair you buy is able to fit comfortably into the boot. Check the dimensions of the folded pram and compare it to the size of your boot.
Another consideration if you use a car for travel is that it might be a good idea to invest in a multi-function travel system. This is a baby car seat and pushchair in one. This means you can transport your baby from home to the car to the pushchair without ever having to wake them up to move them.
Do you mainly walk?
If you are going to be walking while pushing your pram a lot, it is recommended that you opt for a sturdy model that has lockable wheels. The wheels are important as swivel wheels make the chair easy to manoeuvre, while fixed wheels make pushing the pram over rough surfaces easier to handle.
Also ensure that the handle height of the pram or pushchair is adequately suited to your size. Invest in a weather shield for your stroller to protect your baby from rain and sunshine. These covers are made from plastic or netting and include vents to allow your little one to breathe easy despite the elements.
Is the pram safe for a newborn?
While you are most likely buying a pram that will hopefully last for years, it is important that the 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. It is also possible to buy a chair with a lie-back feature that is reversible so that your baby can face you.
Figure it out first
Before you use your chosen pushchair for the first time, carefully read the instructions and get to know all the moving parts before you use it. It is important that you and anyone who pushes your baby’s pram is familiar with how to open and close it, as well as how to operate the brakes and locking mechanism.
Ensure that locking devices are secured when you open the chair. It is also important to remember to release all of the locks before you fold it away. Always use the chair’s harness to secure your child. Be careful to never adjust the seat position while your child is sitting in it. Do not hang shopping bags or anything else heavy on the handles as this could cause the chair to topple over while your child is in it. While PVC rain covers are great protection for your child from the rain, they are never to be used in strong sunlight or indoors.
For twins and multiples
Tandem pushchairs have one seat in front of the other so they comfortably hold two children of a similar size. Some tandems are suitable for babies from birth onwards and some are suitable for twins.
Double buggies have side-by-side seats, ideal for carrying two babies, or a baby and a toddler. Different models are suitable for different ages. It is possible to get models that are suitable for babies from birth. Not all double buggies are suitable for babies from birth as not all of them include a lie-back or reclining seat that will accommodate newborns.
Ready for action
If you plan on jogging or going for walks with your baby in its pram or pushchair, you need to choose one that is designed with this in mind.
If you regularly walk on the beach, consider the effect that the sand and salt water will have on your wheel fittings and the steel/chrome/aluminum surfaces of the pram. Some will erode easier than others so choose a brand that is best suited to your needs.
Some pushchairs and prams have a wider wheelbase, particularly ones with three wheels. While the three wheels can be great for providing stability if you are pushing it over rough ground, they can make the pram too wide for some activities, such as fitting down narrow supermarket corridors.
“Safety and price were my two big factors in choosing a pushchair. The best value for money was in choosing a travel system instead of buying a buggy and car seat separate. I also didn’t want to pay over the top just for a brand name. I wanted something I knew would be safe to use and would last. I bought gender neutral colours to ensure I could use it again.”
– Hannah Boylan
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