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January 29th, 2012 | Author: babylover Buying Advice for Strollers Having a new baby can be a walk in the park-with the right stroller, of course. In fact, a stroller is one of the most important pieces of baby gear you'll buy. And as your baby grows, you may end up with more than one. Many parents buy a traditional stroller for every day and a lighter-weight one for traveling. You may even want a more rugged stroller for jogging or simply negotiating uneven sidewalks and curbs. City streets are deceptively hard on strollers. There are dozens of choices on the market, everything from the lightest-weight umbrella strollers to heavyduty, midsized strollers, carriages, jogging strollers, and models designed to carry two or more children. For a newborn, you can find a basic frame with no stroller seat of its own that can support almost any infant car seat. Or, consider a fully reclining stroller with leg holes you can close, so your baby doesn't slip and get trapped. Another option is a travel system, which consists of an infant car seat, a car-seat base for your car, and a stroller. Some jogging strollers, such as the Graco LeisureSport (0), are sold as travel systems, and some strollers also function as travel systems by allowing you to attach an infant car seat. All Peg-Prego strollers--the Pliko P3 Classico, GT3 Completo, Centro Completo, and Aria OH Classico--are designed to anchor a matching Peg-Prego car seat, which is sold separately. Those strollers include a strap to attach other manufacturers' car seats to the stroller. When babies reach 6 months old or can sit up and control their head and neck movements, you can use the stroller alone, without the infant seat snapped in. The downside? Until then, you have to push your baby in both a stroller and a car seat, which can be unwieldy, depending on the circumstances, such as the terrain you're navigating. A final option is a combo stroller--such as the Bugaboo Frog, Gecko, or Cameleon--which functions as both a carriage and a stroller. This stroller is a hybrid that consists of a stroller chassis with wheels that can be used with various manufacturers' car seats. It includes a removable bassinet, which converts it into a carriage, so your newborn baby can fully recline, and a removable stroller seat to use when your baby is ready to sit up. Your stroller options are dizzying. Here's what you need to know to buy the right wheels for you and your baby. SHOPPING SECRETS Select it yourself. Strollers are popular baby gifts and shower presents. Still, you should shop for a stroller yourself because you're the best judge of how you intend to use it--then register for it at a department or baby store if you want to receive it as a gift. If you receive a stroller you didn't select yourself, make sure you want to keep it. Strollers, like cars, are highly personal items. You'll probably use your stroller often, and your baby will spend a lot of time in it. You should love the one you end up with. Let your lifestyle be your guide. City dwellers who rely on subways, buses, and cabs will need a lightweight but sturdy stroller that folds quickly and compactly. A travel system, for example, probably isn't your best bet. A stroller with sizeable, air-filled tires is recommended if you'll be going for long walks with your baby and your vehicle is big enough to accommodate it. Besides being more shockabsorbing, these strollers typically have cushier, more supportive seating. If you'll be strolling through snow, on unpaved roads, or on the beach or taking your baby to soccer games in the park, a stroller with large wheels is the way to go. Under those conditions, a stroller with small wheels may be difficult or impossible to push. If you're athletic, you might want an all-terrain or jogging stroller for walking or jogging workouts. Don't go by price alone. As you'll find out when you're shopping, there's a wide price range among types and brands. What makes one stroller worth 0 and another 0? Several things drive up the price tag. Higher-end strollers are made of high-grade, lighter-weight aluminum, and are easier to lift in and out of a car. The seat is cushier, with more back support, and is likely to be made of high-quality fabric. And because they often feature large, shock-absorbing, swivel wheels, higher-end strollers are easier to push, especially over rough terrain, which includes anything from uneven sidewalks to sand and snow, so babies get a smoother ride. Bigger-ticket strollers have such comfy amenities as adjustable handles, which can save your back if you're tall, and a reversible seat so your baby can face toward or away from you. They tend to be more durable, lasting from child to child. But that doesn't mean a lower-end stroller won't serve you well. A lot depends on where and how much you'll use the stroller. For infrequent travel or trips to the mall, a lower-end umbrella stroller (less than 0) may be all you need. But if you're going to be strolling more often and through all kinds of weather and conditions, consider spending more. Good-quality traditional strollers start at around 0. That said, a higher price doesn't always mean higher quality. Consumer Reports' tests have shown that some economical strollers can perform as well as or better than models costing hundreds of dollars more. Even the most sophisticated models can have typical stroller flaws: malfunctioning wheels, frames that bend out of shape, locking mechanisms that fail, safety belts that come loose, or buckles that break. Search

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Consider your baby's age. Newborns can't sit up, so they need a stroller that lets them lie on their backs for the first few months, or one that can hold an infant car seat. Don't use a traditional stroller that doesn't fully recline--including an umbrella-style stroller--until your child can sit up, usually at about 6 months of age. If you buy a stroller that fully reclines for an infant, make sure it has a wall surrounding all sides above the retention space. In addition, you can use the cover or stroller boot the manufacturer sometimes supplies for the foot area/leg holes so your baby can't possibly slip through, or use the bassinet that may come with the stroller. Size up the storage. A stroller with a large shopping basket makes life easier for parents who get around town mostly on foot. If you opt for a model that reclines, make sure you can reach the basket if the seat back is fully reclined, or, if it's a travel system, when the infant car seat is in place. Evaluate warranties and return policies. Most stroller manufacturers and retailers have warranties that cover poor workmanship and inherent flaws, but they won't necessarily take the unit back if it malfunctions. Manufacturers may refer you to the store for a replacement or insist that you ship the stroller back for repair--at your expense--leaving you stranded without baby wheels. Your best bet is to purchase the stroller from a store, catalog, or Web site that offers a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Keep the packaging the stroller comes in until you're sure you want to keep the stroller and ask about a store's return policy (usually 30 days). It's not uncommon to buy a stroller many months in advance. If you're shopping that far ahead, you'll want to buy from a store with a flexible or long-term return policy. Check certification. Somewhere on a stroller's frame or carton there should be a certification sticker showing that the stroller meets the minimum requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) voluntary standard and that its manufacturer participates in the certification program administered by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). The key tests are for restraint system, brakes, leg openings, and locking mechanisms that prevent accidental folding, as well as for stability and the absence of sharp edges. The program is voluntary, and models from uncertified companies may be as safe as those from certified ones. But all things being equal, choose a certified model. Companies that are certified are: Baby Trend, Britax, Bugaboo, Delta Enterprise, Dorel Juvenile Group, Evenflo, Go-Go Babyz, Graco, Hauck Fun for Kids, J. Mason, Joovy, Kolcraft, Maclaren, Mia Moda, and Peg-Prego. About the author: The autor writes on a variety of subjects including baby gear. He also has a blog on the subject and a website where baby gear can be purchased at substantial savings: Best Baby Things Online Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/parenting-articles/buying-advice-for-strollers-230693.html

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