How to Pick the Perfect Stroller

A stroller can be a big-ticket item, but the right stroller has the potential to make your life so much easier. On the other hand, if you get a stroller that isn't suited to you and your family's situation, it could really drive you crazy—and eventually you'll start using it less and less. When you're about to shop or register for a stroller, ask yourself these questions to help narrow the field.


1. How many kids?
Got twins? You'll probably want a side-by-side stroller, or a slimmer model that can hold two infant seats. If you have a baby and a toddler, some double strollers have space for the bigger kid to ride below or even stand on a little platform near the handles.

2. How big and heavy?
The size of your stroller can be a very big deal. If you need to haul it up and down stairs or you'll be constantly lifting it in and out of a car trunk, you want to look for something that's light and folds up easily. But if you park it in a ground-floor garage or you have an elevator, a bigger stroller might not hold you back.

3. Are you jogging, or going offroad?
If you plan to go jogging, look for a stroller suited to jogging—they have bigger wheels with air-filled tires to absorb bumps, and the front wheel locks into place, making it more stable when you're pushing it along. Make sure there's a tether you can strap to your wrist, too. Even if you're not a runner, a jogging stroller is easier to take "offroad" and can be a godsend in parks and on hiking trails.

4. Does it work with your car seat?
A lot of strollers connect to an infant car seat, which lets you move the baby from the car to the stroller without waking up. You can buy the car seat and stroller together as a system, or get a universal snap-n-go for any infant seat.

5. Does it have enough storage?
If you love to shop, look for a stroller with a generous basket underneath that can hold a lot of things. Trust me, a stroller that skimps on storage will drive you crazy after a while. A hook for your diaper bag, and a cup-holder for your coffee mug are nice add-ons, too.

6. Are mom and dad different heights?
If one parent is 5-foot-5 and the other is 6-foot-3, look for a stroller with adjustable handles so you can each push it comfortably.

7. Should you get a lightweight stroller, too?
As the kids get a little bigger, some parents swear by keeping an umbrella stroller for travel. Umbrella strollers don't have enough support for infants, and usually lack the storage and stability to be your everyday workhorse stroller. But their size makes them great for trips: You can fold one up and carry it on stairs and escalators with a shoulder strap, and be ready to push the kids anytime they get too tired to walk.

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