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14 Jan 2021

Six mistakes to avoid when buying a pushchair

Choosing the wrong type of pushchair can be costly. Follow our advice to make sure you don't end up regretting your decision
Person shopping for a pushchair

From reversible and lie-flat seats to one-hand fold and recline mechanisms, there's an abundance of features to choose from when shopping for a pushchair.

But while some are nice to have, others are essential for making sure the pushchair is suitable for your child.

We surveyed 1,650 parents* to discover which features parents value most. Below, find out why choosing a pushchair that's missing these important features could be a waste of money.

Find out the best pushchairs our expert tests have uncovered

1. Choosing the wrong type of seat for your newborn

Newborn baby in a pushchair

If you're planning to use your pushchair with a newborn baby, make sure the seat is suitable to use from birth - this was rated the most important feature by parents in our survey.

Newborn babies can't support their own weight, so they need to be able to lie almost flat in the seat. A from-birth seat reclines to at least 150 degrees, allowing your baby to be in a safe position.

Alternatively, you can use a carrycot for your baby's first six months, although we'd advise checking to make sure the pushchair you choose is compatible with a carrycot.

2. Not having a reversible seat

Parent looking at baby in pushchair in parent faci

Some pushchairs have a fixed forward-facing position, which means you won't be able turn your child around to face you.

So a reversible seat is a must-have if you want to be able to enjoy face-to-face interaction with your baby while they're in the pushchair.

You can choose to position them parent-facing or switch the direction to world-facing when they're a bit older and want to see what's going on.

Read our reviews of world and parent facing pushchairs if you're after one with a reversible seat.

3. Not being able to attach a car seat

Parent looking at baby sitting in car seat attache

Travel-system-compatible pushchairs let you attach certain car seats to the pushchair frame (sometimes using adaptors). This prevents your baby being disturbed when you're transferring them between the pushchair and the car.

If you regularly travel by car, having a travel-system-compatible pushchair is handy, but there are safety restrictions on how long your child should be kept in their car seat.

Newborn babies less than four weeks old can stay in a car seat for a maximum of 20 to 30 minutes, while older babies shouldn't stay in a car seat for more than two hours.

Check out our car seat reviews to see which models we recommend.

Get more advice on how to choose the best travel system

4. Paying more than you need to

Person pushing a child in pushchair

Pushchairs can be pricey, with some models costing more than £1,000.

Avoid an expensive mistake by reading our pushchair reviews before you buy.

We've found plenty of great-value options that won't break the bank, including cheap Best Buy pushchairs costing less than £150.

Read our 25 money-saving tips for parents

5. Having a small shopping basket

Items in pushchair shopping basket

A shopping basket is handy for storage, but we've found the capacity can vary widely. Some models we've tested take just 1kg of items, while others can manage up to 8kg and more.

Choosing a pushchair with a decent basket size means you won't have to carry as many extra bags when you're out and about.

As well as making sure the basket is big enough, it's also important to choose one that's easy to access and has sturdy sides, so items don't fall out.

6. Not being able to attach a carrycot

Person standing next to pushchair with carrycot at

Newborn babies need to be in a lie-flat position, so if you don't opt for a pushchair with a from-birth seat, you'll need one that's compatible with a carrycot.

Carrycots can either be slotted straight on to the pushchair frame or attached using adaptors.

Pushchairs are only compatible with certain carrycots, so check you're happy with the available carrycot options before you decide which one to buy.

Find out more pushchair shopping tips and advice in our guide to buying the best pushchair

* In March 2020 we surveyed 1,650 parents who owned a pushchair and had a child under the age of five.