Invest in a Good Stroller
New parents are easy prey for the marketing barrage that assails them. You may not realize it now, but the second you discover you’re pregnant you will begin to want the absolute best for your child. This want transcends all spheres: health, nutrition, education, clothing, bedding, entertainment, whatever. Of course, the essentials are nutrition and health, but often marketing has us believe that if we don’t buy every single educational toy or gadget, we are dooming our offspring to a stunted fate.
The most famous marketing ploy was the Baby Einstein dvds. Many parents were convinced that if they plopped their child in front of these videos, they could raise a genius. Simple, right? C’mon! The company had to offer a refund for all dvds after admitting that they would not increase intellect. For more specifics on the Baby Einstein case, click here.
Among all of the marketing overload, I would stipulate that strollers are worthy of the hype. That should have been my big splurge as a new mom. If I had realized how important that one piece of baby equipment was I would not have wasted years killing myself pushing around my dreadful plastic-wheeled Graco stroller. Nor would I have 5 different strollers taking up all the real estate in my garage today. I’m dead serious. We cannot park our car in the garage because of these strollers. I have 1 single Graco stroller, 1 umbrella stroller, 2 double-strollers and 1 double jogger (also converts into a bike trailer).
The only ones worth their space are:
- the MEC double jogger. This is the affordable alternative to the Chariot. It converts from a regular stroller into a jogger and a bike trailer;
- the Baby Trend Sit N Stand. This one is useful when kids are close in age. My youngest sits in the seat and my eldest can stand at the back when he gets tired of walking. Plus, it’s not too much of a pain to push around.
The worst stroller in my garage is the Safety 1st Two Ways Tandem stroller. I spent the entire first summer of my daughter’s life pushing my two kids around in that thing. The only positive feature is that, by the end of the summer, my shoulder muscles were so defined I looked like I had spent hours in a gym. Pushing that thing is an intense workout, and not in a good way. To get any momentum I would have to push it while my body was leaning on a 45 degree angle. I would have to anticipate a turn 10 meters in advance. My complaints about it could fill an entire separate post, so I’ll leave it at that for now.
If I had to do it all over again, I would buy either a Bumbleride or a B.O.B.. Of course, there are many other luxury strollers available, but these would be my top picks. Some tips to keep in mind while shopping for a stroller:
- Wheels: Invest in large rubber wheels. Anything made of plastic is not worth a penny. The front wheel should have the capability to swivel or stay fixed in case you want to run with it;
- Storage basket: a necessity for hats, sand toys, baby wipes, tissues, etc;
- Turning radius: Does the stroller turn easily? If not, forget it. You’ll end up hurting yourself.
- Folds up nicely: Any stroller you buy should fold into itself to allow for easy storage in your car, garage or house;
- Weight of the stroller itself: Will you be able to lift this puppy into your car or up stairs?
- Can it go through most commercial entryways? If you buy a single model, this should not be a problem. However, when purchasing a double stroller (side-by-side models) test to see if it will pass through most commercial entryways. It has happened to me. Trying to enter a store with my kids sleeping int he stroller, but I could not get the darn thing through the door;
- Resale value: a quality product will not depreciate as much. Once your kids grow out of it, you will be able to sell your stroller for close to the full amount you paid. My Graco stroller is a dime a dozen. I will never get that money back.
There are other features to consider, depending on your priorities. If you are a chronic coffee drinker, make sure your stroller has a cup holder. Think your purchase through carefully. It sounds tedious but you will spend YEARS pushing this thing around, especially if you have more than one child. Considering the amount I spent on 5 different strollers (mind you, 2 of them were second-hand) I could have purchased one of my dream strollers! Ah, the bitter taste of regret.
Although both my kids are almost out of the stroller stage and it’s too late for me, save yourselves! Invest wisely.