Most brands offer models better suited to urban over country living and vice versa so it’s a good idea to consider where you will be doing most of the pushing and how big your boot is. If you are intending to take the pram off-road, you’ll probably want to suss out the models with all-terrain features and if you’re a regular public transport user you’ll no doubt be less worried about how the pushchair copes on rough ground and more worried about how easily it’ll fold down in rush hour. If you’re a runner and want to combine pram-pushing with your usual exercise you might want to opt for a jogging stroller, which alongside being suitable for your park circuit also doubles up as an everyday option.
You may also need to think about older siblings or, if this is your first baby, whether or not you think it’s likely you’ll be having any more children before your new baby is out of the pram stage. With some pushchairs, it is possible to buy a second attachment for subsequent children and of course if you have babies very close in age, or twins, you’ll need to go for a double buggy option from the outset, in which case you’ll need to consider whether you want them to sit side by side or one in front of the other.
In terms of the nitty gritty of the pushchair specification, it definitely pays to test drive (or test push) a few different models if you can. How easy is it to manoeuvre? How robust does it look? Are you looking for a reversible seat unit (so your baby can be either rear or forward facing)? Is it easy to fold down and store, both at home and in the car? Are the brakes easy to operate and does the pram feel secure when stationary? Could you attach a buggy board to the back of it to aid tired toddler legs in future? What’s the overall wheel width of the pushchair and will this fit through your hallway?
Pushchair laws or legislation
All prams and pushchairs should have a safety label to show that they comply with the relevant British Standards of safety requirements and test methods for wheeled child conveyances – BS EN 1888: 2012 or BS EN 1888: 2003, if you’re wondering. But if you’re buying from a retailer or a reputable brand, this label will always be there.
One thing it is worth bearing in mind – and this is less about legislation and more about safety guidelines – is that if you do purchase a travel system it is not recommended to keep a baby in the car seat for prolonged periods of time. Though it is handy to have the option of attaching the seat to the pram’s frame, particularly if you’re just nipping somewhere quickly, the general advice is
that car seats are designed for car journeys and shouldn’t be somewhere your baby is left to nap noting that it’s safest for them to sleep in a flat position. Some manufacturers recommend a two-hour limit even on journeys, so it’s just something to bear in mind.
Much the same as a new car, a pram will often start off looking clean and shiny but soon become a mud-encrusted eyesore with rice-cake crumbs in the folds. If you’ve forked out a small fortune for the travel system of your dreams then it’s probably worth reading up on the advised maintenance tips as some brands will recommend seat-cleaning products and tyre inflation guidelines. We’ve always found that brushing the mud off the wheels and giving the straps a once-over with a baby wipe seems to do the job, though that might explain why our pram no longer looks very sparkly.