Pushchairs: What you need to know
Choosing the right pushchair can be a tricky decision, here's what you need to know
With a huge range to choose from that suit any budget and lifestyle, you’ll need to do your homework to find a pushchair that’s right for you.
Firstly, think about where you need to go with your pushchair. For example, are you a regular public transport user? You’ll need a light and nippy model that’s easy to fold and collapse.
Or if you’re planning to go on country walks, you may want to consider an all-terrain model.
And don’t forget the car boot challenge; you’ll need to make sure it fits!
The wheels: Larger wheels are better for rougher terrain, smaller ones can be easier to manoeuvre. Look for wheels that can be locked or left to swivel depending on the surface you’re pushing on. Detachable wheels are also useful for easier storage.
The seat: Choose a pushchair with a seat that has a range of recline positions with good padding and support. Fabrics that can be washed or wipe-cleaned are essential as the seat can get pretty grubby!
It’s important to remember that newborns need to lie completely flat. Check that a pushchair reclines to more than 150 degrees or choose a model that can have a carrycot attached.
A baby shouldn’t sit in an upright position until they’re at least 6 months old or can support themselves properly.
The fold: A chassis that folds compactly is handy for storage and smaller car boots, and a one-handed fold is a useful feature for public transport users.
Some models can be freestanding when folded, again useful for storage, while other bulkier models have to have the seat removed before collapsing.
Also think about where you’d store all the extra pieces, like carrycots for example.
Handles and brakes: A height adjustable handle is a must-have for very tall or shorter-than-average parents.
Also test out the brakes to check you’re happy with how they work and where they’re situated on the pushchair.
Other things to look for are a large hood for all weather protection, a roomy shopping basket and useful extras like a raincover or footmuff.
Car seat, carrycot or both?
Many pushchairs include a carrycot that can be used on or off the chassis. This can provide a warmer, cosier environment for a newborn. These models are often more expensive, but many carrycots can also be used for overnight sleeping (check this with the retailer) which means you won’t have to fork out for a travel cot initially.
Another option is a car seat that can attach to the chassis of your pushchair. This is called a travel system.
Many pushchairs come with a carrycot and car seat included in the price, or you can choose to buy them separately.
Test it out
As you’ll be using the pushchair daily, it’s important you make the right choice. If a friend has a pushchair you really like the look of, ask her if you can take it for a test drive. Many retailers also have a special area in store where you can take different models for a spin to get an idea of how they move. Test as many different models as you can to get a good idea of what works for you.