Pushchairs and prams: buyers’ guide
Selecting the best prams is one of the most important choices you’ll make for your little one. From your child’s first few weeks to their toddler years, pushchairs and prams will be an essential part of everyday life for months or years, so it’s imperative you pick the right one to suit your lifestyle and your baby’s needs.
The endless choice of prams in various size or style and colour or design can seem daunting, especially if you’re expecting your first child when everything seems overwhelming and stressful. Don’t worry – find all the information and advice you need to make an informed buying decision that’ll keep you and your little one happy when you’re out and about.
Before starting to look at buying prams online have a think about your lifestyle and environment. Do you use a car? Are you very active? Do you live in a city? Do you travel often? Will your little one be spending a lot of time in pushchairs? Once you start getting a better idea of which factors will influence your buying decision you’re ready to start to compare deals and offers and read pushchair reviews on designer and cheap pushchairs.
Types of prams
Prams and pushchairs: Prams and pushchairs are the ideal option for newborn babies but they can also be perfect for toddlers, too. Prams typically feature lie back and flat designs for newborns whereas pushchairs have a reclining, forward-facing seat that is better suited to older babies and toddlers. Many styles have changeable rear and front facing options thanks to a reversible seat, and most styles are foldable and stand up when folded - great for storage and travelling.
Three in one pram and pushchair options: These models feature a combination of a carrycot and two-in-one pram and pushchair, meaning your baby can sleep in the carrycot for his or her first few months. These types of prams are easy to fold up with one hand and can feature reversible seats and fixed or swivel wheels. This is a more traditional-looking pram for those looking for a specific aesthetic.
Two in one pram and pushchair: Two in one pram and pushchair options combine the classic comfort of a pram with the versatility and ease of use of a pushchair. This style can be suitable for newborns to toddlers and usually features a reversible seat unit and adjustable recline settings.
Strollers and buggies: Strollers and buggies are simple, lightweight and easy to fold, making them perfect for on-the-go mums and dads who frequent public transport, or who have limited storage space. Strollers and buggies usually feature a number of lie back positions, making them perfect for newborns and toddlers alike. Strollers are usually great value for money and can last for years to come, making them a great investment buy. Stick to pneumatic tyres for long walks, and swivel tyres for ease of maneuverability.
Tandems and double buggies: If you’ve got your hands full with twins or two young children, a tandem or double buggy is a god-send. Tandems are designed so that one child sits in front of the other, making it a narrower option than a double buggy. Tandems also allow you to move both seats independently of each other and fully recline the rear – ideal for a newborn. Remember that it’ll be longer in length so it’s always best to check its size when folded.
Double pushchairs are designed for both children to sit side by side. These are suitable for kids over the age of four years old.
Three-wheeled pushchairs: Thanks to high-tech suspension and sturdy tyres, three-wheeled pushchairs make mobility and getting around a breeze – they’re even brilliant for mums and dads who like to jog, plus they look stylish and sporty. This is a great option if you spend lots of time outdoors as they glide easily over different terrains but may not be the best option if you’re looking for a compact and easy-to-stow style. Many three-wheeled types feature a partially-reclining chair – ideal from 3 months – or a fully reclining chair - a good option for newborns.
Things to consider before buying prams or pushchairs
Weight: Weight is an important factor to consider when comparing prams. Gone are the days of heavy, bulky prams and pushchairs and in their place are modern light and flexible styles with sturdy frames as standard. Certain prams, such as all-terrain designs, are built with heavier frames and high-spec suspension to navigate bumpy roads and hills. For country living or adventure-seekers, heavier-duty pushchairs allow for easy navigation on rougher terrain that lighter styles simply wouldn’t withstand.
Lighter prams and pushchairs are perfect for urban living or those with limited space, such as in flats. They’re also much more suitable for moving around so if you’re a frequent traveller this may be the best for you.
Remember that the weight of prams and pushchairs doesn’t necessarily have to affect the amount of storage available; many light-weight styles have just as many trays and pockets as heavier designs so you’ve got plenty of room for you and your baby’s essentials.
Features: The small and trivial features you may not consider for too long are often the ones that you find most useful as your baby grows. Consider these selling points:
- Movable seats
- Forward or rear-facing
- Adjustable/changeable wheels
- Height-adjustable handles
- Three or four wheels
- Easy-to-fold mechanism
- Shopping baskets
- Sun parasols and footmuffs
Age suitability: Age is an essential factor to consider during the pushchair buying process and many prams and pushchairs are designed for certain ages, such as 3 months, 6 months, 12 months+, after which they become impractical.
- Newborn babies need to lie flat so shop for a pushchair with a fully reclining seat. Consider where they sleep most of the time. A moses basket? Crib? Cot or carrycot? This could also influence your buying decision.
- At around 3 months you can begin to partially recline prams or pushchairs
- From six months you can fully recline your baby prams.
Many modern prams and pushchairs were designed with the growth of your little one in mind and offer several recline positions. This is a brilliant option as your baby grows and will save you money in the long run.
Portability: The most portable pushchairs are light and easy to maneuver, tackling corners, rough ground and water easily. It is often argued, however, that the more cumbersome styles, with extra padding and different seat options, are more comfortable for your child.
Storage: Storage for shopping and all your baby’s necessities is crucial in baby pushchairs and prams. Consider all the things you’ll need to have on your person when taking your child out and about and it soon adds up - bottle, nappies, changing equipment, toys, change of clothes, wipes – as well as the things you yourself may need to store in the pram – handbag, groceries, shopping, food and drink.
Look for an underlying tray, pockets and hooks for holding and storing all your essentials and don’t skip the optional attachable bag option – it’ll be a storage savior! Think lightweight means less space? Think again; modern, lightweight pushchairs have cover it, with good sized trays that can stow away a surprising amount.
Environment: Will you be uploading the pram into a car boot or through confined spaces? Measure your boot or doorway if it’s narrow to ensure you don’t get any nasty surprises when it comes to taking your new pram out.
Safety when using baby prams and pushchairs
Keeping your baby safe and comfortable while out and about is your number one priority. Here’s our definitive guide to pram and pushchair safety:
- Familiarise yourself – and anyone else who will be using it - with your baby’s new pram before putting him or her in it. Read the manual carefully and get to grips with different settings and adjustments.
- Pay extra attention to how the brake system and locking mechanisms work, and how the pushchair folds and opens.
- Secure your child safely into the seat with a harness and put the break on whenever you stop.
- Don’t use a raincover when it’s warm, very sunny, or indoors.
- It’s essential to ensure locking mechanisms are in place and working when you open the pushchair.
- Be careful what you store on/in your pushchair - heavy shopping balancing on the handles of a lightweight buggy is a recipe for disaster.
How to buy prams online
After narrowing down your choices refine your search with the settings in the left column on the prams and pushchairs page. By narrowing down number of seats, wheel type, number of wheels and whether you want adjustable handles or not, you can begin to compare models and styles. Select keywords or select your budget to make sure you’re getting the best pram to match your needs.
Compare online retailers’ delivery options and costs and be sure to check out reviews of any prams and pushchairs you’ve shortlisted. Then all that’s left to do is click and buy – good luck!