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Tips for picking the perfect stroller

Looking for the perfect stroller? Cookie magazine pored over dozens of  styles, then employed real parents to test drive our favorites with their kids.  Whatever your needs, these tips will help you cruise smoothly (and safely) through the choosing process.

Strollers today are tailor-made to accommodate every lifestyle. But with all the options out there, shopping for the perfect model has never seemed more complicated. As experts prattle on about shocks, pneumatic tires, or the five-point safety harness, you may fear you’re talking to a used car salesman. Cookie magazine pored over dozens of styles, then employed real parents to test drive our favorites with their kids.  Whatever your needs, these tips will help you cruise smoothly (and safely) through the choosing process.

Before hitting the storeConsider your daily routine. Do you live in a big city? Will you be jogging with the stroller? Does it need to fit easily in your car? Are you low on storage space? With so many varieties you shouldn’t have to compromise.

Take note of any obstacles you encounter on your everyday errand routes: stairs, narrow aisles, public transportation or bumpy sidewalks, for example. It will help you figure out what type of size and maneuverability you’ll need.

While shopping around
Try to bring your child or, if you’re expecting, a friend with a baby. Pushing the stroller around with an actual child in it will give you a much better idea of how it handles.

If you have a nanny, relative, or spouse who will also be using the stroller, consider their height and strength levels as well. Bring them along to see how easily they can fold, unfold, and handle the stroller.

Don’t be intimidated into buying every bell and whistle. Many new models are entirely customizable, from detachable cup holders to entire conversion kits. Buy the essentials now and see how you use it. The extras will still be there later after you’ve done some road-testing.

Once on the road:
Follow these guidelines to keep your kids safe and sound:

  • Obey the manufacturer’s weight limit and age restrictions.
  • Always use the harness to restrain children and prevent tipping.
  • Always use the parking brake when stopped.
  • When in use, make sure all locking mechanisms are properly engaged to avoid collapse.
  • While folding or unfolding, make sure your child’s fingers aren’t near the frame.
  • Don’t hang heavy bags on stroller handles; the unit could tip backward.
  • Remember to return the stroller warranty card so can you can be notified of any recall.

For more of Cookie’s favorites, check out Pushy, Pushy and On the Double!, both on cookiemag.com.