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HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PUSHCHAIR

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Elizabeth Adetula presents 7 things you need to think about when choosing a buggy

Parents, consider buying your pushchair as buying your child his or her very first car. There is almost as much choice and as many things to think about, but instead of choosing between a reliable little Nissan Micra and a smart little Peugeot, we’re talking Bugaboo, iCandy, Mamas and Papas and more. We all know that too much choice can be stressful, so we bring to you this helpful guide to buying the best buggy for you and your baby…

1. How much should I spend on a pram?

Money, money, money

Prams can be expensive, so think about your priorities for the buggy (more on the below) and what you can afford. With pushchairs ranging from anywhere between £100 to over a grand, the difference can be vast. Some things to bear in mind are:

What comes included in the price? Think about raincovers, car seat adaptors, sunshades and storage. If not included, check how much the accessories cost, and make sure you take these costs into account as well as the cost of the buggy while comparing buggy brands.

How long will you use it for? If you are hoping to have more than one child, it is worth investing in a buggy which is going to go the distance. A child uses a buggy for up to three years, normally, so calculate the price-per-use before deciding one brand is too expensive.

How much will repairs be? Check warranties for what repairs are covered and for how long after buying the buggy. Find out how much repairs not covered by the warranty will cost. Also check the location of the repairs workshop as this is unlikely to be where you bought it from, but rather a warehouse somewhere miles away.

Can you get a discount? Look for seasonal promotions and buy in advance to save money. If you are buying from a baby showroom, you might even be able to ask if they can offer a discount on any of their prams. You can also ask any retailer if you can buy the display buggy because, if the time is right, you might get a good deal.

Can you buy or sell second-hand? Look on eBay and in local parents’ Facebook groups for second-hand buggies if you can’t afford the brand you have your heart set upon. Just be aware that warranties are unlikely to still be in place and there may be damage to important components such as buggy breaks. Similarly, if you buy a new buggy, you might be able to sell second hand if you keep it in good condition (although this is easier said than done).

2. When should I change my pram to a pushchair?

Comfort is key

The good thing about getting a pushchair is that there are brands such as Bugaboo and iCandy that sell innovative pushchairs that accommodate your baby from newborn to toddler. With bassinet and push chair fittings, you don’t need to think about getting two separate baby travel systems. Babies should be flat on their backs until they are around six months old (when their neck is stronger and they can sit up by themselves). To ensure that your baby’s back and neck are well-supported and comfortable, choose a pram with a good-quality mattress. Also check to see if the model you have in mind can be converted from pram to parent-facing buggy to outward-facing buggy, as this will give you more flexibility as your baby grows up and is in need of more stimulation.

3. Which model of pushchair should I buy?

Size does matter

When deciding on the best stroller to buy, consider where you will be going with it and where it will be stored. Many ranges offer different models of their buggies, with smaller, lighter models more suited to city life (think hopping on buses and parking up in cafes), whereas outdoor types might need a sturdier model with bigger wheels for bumpy paths and grassy hills.

Think about where you live too. If you need to cart it up staircases and store it in your living room, you might want to choose one which collapses easily. Think about whether it can fit through your front door and, if applicable, in your car boot.

Another thing to consider is who will be taking your little one for walks. Having adjustable handles means that the bars adjust to the best/comfortable height for whoever is pushing the stroller, whether that be big, tall daddy or teeny-tiny Granny.

4. Travelling with a pushchair

Have baby, will travel

If you do a lot of travelling by car, choose a buggy which can be part of a travel system. Car seats can be clicked into the chassis of a pram, meaning you don’t also have to take the bassinet with you. The one-click Isofix fittings save a lot of time and unnecessary stress (check your car is compatible with these, too). Please note that newborns shouldn’t be spending long periods of time in car seats. Also be sure to check the diameters of your buggy to ensure that it can fit in your car boot.

If you’re planning some overseas travel, investigate which pushchair models have specially-designed travel bags. When babies are older, a collapsible pushchair such as a Maclaren is useful to travel with as you can often take them all the way up to the plane door, but, for younger babies, you will have to put the pram in the aircraft hold, and will need a suitable travel bag to do so.

5. Should I buy a single pushchair, double buggy or a tandem pram?

Two’s company and three’s impressive!

It seems strange to have to think about it before you’ve even had your first, but it is worth thinking about how many children you plan to have, and how far apart. If you’re having twins, search for twin buggies and think about whether you’d like the pram to be ‘wide’ or ‘high’. If you hope to have two in quick succession, the iCandy buggy has a converter so you can have an upper and lower unit for two babies, whereas many other brands offer ‘buggy boards’ for when you have one baby and one old enough to stand up and hold on tight.

6. Which pushchair accessories do I need?

The devil is in the detail

Think about what you are likely to be doing while taking your baby out and about. Some brands offer smart accessories such as coffee cup holders (which you can’t actually use for coffee unless you want a stained buggy and a burnt baby the moment you tackle your first doorway, but water bottles are ok!), bag clips and extra storage. There are also extras such as bigger wheels, buggy fleece liners, foot muffs and sun shades to allow for variable weather and terrain. Thinking about what you are likely to want or need will help you decide which make and model of pushchair to choose.

7. How do I test a pushchair?

Try before you buy

While shops will let you have a look at their various buggies, the best way to choose is to talk to any parents you know. Ask them if they’re happy with their purchase, if they think it was value for money, how easy it is to collapse, and if they’ve had to have anything repaired. Have a go pushing the buggy around to feel how light or heavy it feels, how it takes corners and kerbs, and how easy it is to carry or bump up and down stairs.

The rest is then up to you, and could even boil down to whether you like the look of the buggy and which colours it comes in. Trivial? Maybe. Does that matter? No: your buggy will be with you through thick and thin, so it’s important that you like it too.

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