Choosing a Stroller: Five Things to Consider

There are a number of big purchases to make when you’re expecting a baby, and the stroller is probably one of the most exciting. As you stand in the store, trying out strollers, it may all suddenly start to feel very real. Strollers can be expensive, so it’s not a decision to take lightly. Here are five things to consider when choosing a stroller:

  1. Price – before you step foot in a store, work out a realistic budget for this purchase. Have a quick look online to see what sort of price to expect, and then work out what you can afford to spend. There’s no point falling head over heels for a designer stroller if you can’t take it home for you. Set a budget, and stick to it. Tell the shop assistant how much you have to spend, and ask them to only show you strollers in your price range.
  2. Size – strollers vary drastically in size. From the nifty ones that are perfect for city living, to the larger systems designed for off roading in the countryside, you will be able to find a stroller to suit your lifestyle. It’s important to work out where you will store the stroller when not in use, and make sure you buy one that can fit in that space. You should also consider the size of the trunk of your car, because the stroller needs to fit easily in there. If you use public transport a lot, choose a stroller that will fit easily on public transport, and be easy to navigate on and off buses and trains.
  3. Usability – it’s important to get a stroller you can use. There’s no point spending a small fortune on a fancy stroller only to discover you can’t get any of the additional functions to work. How easy is the pram to use? Does it feel nice to push? Is it the right height for both you and your partner? Are the breaks easy to use, and do they feel secure when on? Is it easy to fold down when not in use? Is it parent-facing so you can talk to your baby as you walk? Does it look comfy for your little one? Make sure you are familiar with every function of the stroller before you buy it.
  4. Reviews – speak to your friends and family to find out what they think of their strollers. By speaking to people who have experienced strollers day to day, you can get more of an idea what that stroller is like. While it may feel great to push in the shop, you may find out that your sister finds hers difficult to push on county roads. Parents are the experts on this one, so speak to as many as you can before making your purchase.
  5. Style – you’re probably going to be spending a lot of time with this stroller, and at times it may seem like an extension of your own body. Strollers come in all shapes and sizes, some are available in simple designs, and others have themes. Choose one that you love. If you’re planning to have more children, it might be worth avoiding strongly gendered themes. While your newborn daughter will look great in a hot pink pram, her future little brother may be less impressed a few years down the line.

Have you chosen your stroller, or are you currently trying to decide which one to buy?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Understanding Infant Spine Development

The basics of infant spine development
Adult spines are ‘S’ shaped, and feature four slight curves that assist with balance and flexibility. The curves in our spine also help to absorb stresses placed on our back. For example, when walking down a cobbled street, the curves will take the impact of each step to prevent damage to the spine. Babies are not born with ‘S’ shaped spines, instead they have a long ‘C’ shaped spine. This is why babies appear curled up, because gravity has not yet lengthened and altered their spines.

The ‘S’ shape develops as your baby grows. When he learns to lift and hold his head, he will start to develop the first curve at the top of his spine. It will take until after your child’s first birthday, when he walks away from you unsupported, for him to acquire the ‘S’ shape of a developed spine.

Prams and infant spine development
Newborn babies do not naturally lie flat. They will have their legs pulled up to allow the spine to adopt the natural ‘C’ shape discussed above. Lying your baby down in a horizontal position for long periods, such as in a pram, forces the ‘C’ shape to flatten, putting pressure on the developing spine.

Babies can often be contained in prams for lengthy durations during the day. If the pram is used for the duration of a day trip, the baby could spend a long time lying flat. This would put a lot of pressure on the developing spine, and even prevent it from developing properly.

While this doesn’t mean that you must never lie your baby flat, it does mean you should try to reduce the amount of time your baby spends in this position. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should relocate your baby to the car seat as an alternative.

Car seats and infant spine development
Car seats, while allowing the baby’s spine to stay in its natural ‘C’ shape, are still problematic for infant spine development. Babies who are restricted in car seats for long periods may find that their spinal development is delayed. If sat upright in a car seat, the baby may not strengthen and learn to use the muscles to hold up and control his head. Experts advise that babies should spend no longer than two hours a day in a car seat.

What should I use?
Obviously, a car seat is a legal requirement and should always be used when in a moving vehicle. However, you should try to reduce the amount of time your baby spends in his car seat outside of the car.

To avoid your baby spending a lot of time lying flat in a pram, you could invest in a sling. Slings hold babies in the foetal tuck position which supports the natural ‘C’ shape of your baby’s spine. Being held upright allows your baby to develop and use muscle control to stay upright, get comfortable and look around. Babywearing is a great way to support the natural development of your baby’s spine.

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock


This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2013. All rights reserved.