By Chris Barnes – Choice
Swivelling front wheels are easier to manoeuvre, but it’s useful if they can be locked for travelling at higher speeds or over rough terrain. Large wheels tend to be better on kerbs and stairs, while inflatable wheels can puncture but generally give a comfier ride. Before purchasing, give wheels a tug to see they don’t come off.
Try folding and unfolding it in the shop to see if you can carry it comfortably when folded. Measure the stroller to make sure it fits into your car boot without needing the wheels removed. If you have a newborn, make sure the pram you buy is suitable for them size-wise – not all are.
Get an idea of how well brake locks work by applying the brakes while you try to push the handle. It’s handy if rear brakes are linked, so the left and right brakes can be locked with a single action. Some prams also have front brakes — particularly handy on a reversible pram or stroller, as it means you can always lock the brakes nearest you (at the back) whichever way it is facing. Locks you can activate and release with your feet prevent you bending, but make sure your feet fit under them easily.
Give them a tug to check they’re secure and the seat doesn’t come away from the frame.
Two shoulder straps (preferably attached to the backrest at shoulder level; padded ones are softer), a waist strap and a crotch strap, with adjustable length as your baby grows. The straps should be easy to adjust and the buckles easy to use (for you, but not your child).
It’s good to have the option of choosing which way your baby faces in the pram – although the brakes may only be on one set of wheels, making it harder to put them on if you’re at the wrong end. Check in the store how easy it is to reverse the handle.
Some have an upright backrest that can also move to at least one semi-reclined position; some can be fully reclined (best for sleeping). A three-position adjustment makes the stroller more versatile.
A footrest reduces the chance of injury from your child’s feet touching the ground or getting caught in the front wheel.
A detachable bar your child can hold onto. They’re usually not secure, so it’s not safe to use them to lift the stroller.
Some strollers or prams come with removable capsules, which convert into car seats so you don’t have to wake bub up when shifting between pram, car and back. Not all are suitable for newborns, so check before you buy.
Folds and unfolds at the push of a button. But be careful with these, as when we tested the 4Moms Origami stroller, we found it could potentially be operated by a child standing near the stroller and could be a crushing hazard.