Pushchairs: How to buy the best pushchair Buying pushchairs for babies
When it comes to pushchairs, small babies have different needs from older babies and toddlers. Things to remember are:
- Fully reclining New babies need the back support that only fully reclining pushchairs can give. Check the pushchair’s back reclines to more than 150°.
- Sitting up Babies shouldn’t sit in a pushchair that doesn't recline until they’re six months or so (ie until they can sit up).
- Three-wheel pushchairs You shouldn't use a three-wheeler pushchair over rough ground until your baby is about six months old – babies’ necks aren’t strong enough to take the strain of a bouncing head.
- Sleeping in a pushchair Babies should sleep on a firm horizontal base, so if you’re expecting to use the pushchair for lengthy daytime naps, or whole afternoons in the park, consider one with a carrycot and mattress.
- Travel systems Travel systems including a group 0 child car seat are appealing, as you can transfer your baby from pushchair to car without waking them up, but babies shouldn’t be confined to their child car seat for long periods of time.
- Reversible seat Many parents prefer to have their baby facing them, rather than facing away (as they would in a basic buggy), because they like to maintain eye contact. If you want your baby facing you, use the Compare features tool in our pushchairs review to find pushchairs with a reversible seat unit.
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Buying pushchairs to suit your lifestyle
You're unlikely to find a pushchair that meets all your needs perfectly. But thinking carefully about your lifestyle and future plans can help you buy a pushchair that serves you well.
Travelling with pushchairs
- Pedestrians need pushchairs that are easy to push on a wide variety of surfaces and can negotiate curbs and stairs with ease. Protection from wind, rain and sun is important, and you'll need a pushchair with plenty of storage space to accommodate changing and shopping bags.
- Public transport users should choose lightweight and easy-folding pushchairs that can be used from birth, with a one-handed fold mechanism
- Motorists will need to check the folded pushchair and its accessories will fit in their boot and might want to consider a pushchair that can be fitted with a child car seat.
Storing the pushchair
You're unlikely to fold the pushchair every time you finish using it. Consider the pushchair's unfolded size taking up space in your hallway. Pushchairs that stand upright independently when folded or are easy to lock folded are easier to store.
Even though manufacturers recommend removing your child from a pushchair on stairs, this is often not practical. Some of the larger pushchairs can be very heavy, especially when loaded with child and shopping, so if your local terrain or daily routine features lots of stairs and kerbs, consider buying a lighter-weight pushchair. Lifting some pushchairs from the car boot can also be a challenge.
Best pushchairs for comfort
Pushing a fully laden buggy can be quite demanding, so finding a pushchair that suits your size and shape is vital. You should always visit a shop and test drive pushchairs before buying. Points to consider are:
- Pushchair handle height If you or your partner are taller than average, you don't want to be stooping to push your baby. Don't assume adjustable handles will be long enough for you.
- Handle grip Hard plastic grips can be uncomfortable after a time; look for pushchairs with softer rubber or foam grips and handles with soft, rounded edges that are angled to support a natural wrist position. Some handle bars can be adjusted higher or lower to give you a more comfortable grip.
- Uninterrupted stride Check you’re able to walk with the pushchair using your normal stride, and that you don't scrape your shin on a rear axle, brake bar, shopping basket or other accessories.
- Brake pedals Check you find the pushchair's brake easy to apply, and that there’s a good grip on foot pedals, so you won't risk ripping off your toenails if you tend to wear open-toed shoes.
- Manoeuvring pushchairs When putting pushchairs through their paces, check how easy you find them to move in a tight space, do a complete about-face, tip backwards to mount kerbs and change direction abruptly.
For all you need to know about buying for your baby, from pushchairs to high chairs, you can download our free guide, created in conjunction with the NCT.