Experts recommend the use of bassinets for babies less than 6 months old as the safest travel option for their development and safety. Lying flat ensures your baby’s airways remain clear, reducing the risk of SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death – formerly called SIDS).
A flat, firm surface also allows newborns to stretch out and move freely which is important for both muscle and spinal development (your baby is developing rapidly during this period). Some key pram features that are the best option for newborns include:
- Prams with parent-facing seats are best for newborn bonding and development
- Bassinet bases with "feet" which ensures the fabric does not get dirty when placed on the ground, ensuring best hygiene practices
- Bassinets with carry handles to easily transport bub to and from the pram
- Easy to remove bassinets from pram frames to ensure your bub is not bumped or disturbed whilst sleeping
STROLLER SEAT FEATURES
Key features to look out for to ensure you get the best possible quality stroller seat include:
- Fully reclinable stroller seat to allow for sleeping
- On the other hand, you also ideally want the seat to sit fully upright for inquisitive toddlers
- Seat height is crucial in ensuring you see the maximum life out of your pram - be sure to check the height and additional headroom under the canopy
- For maximum flexibility, look for prams with reversible seats or handles so the seat can face both forwards and backwards
- How much leg room will your toddler have and will their feet be far enough away from the ground?
- Check to see how far the canopy will extend - the more extension, the more protection from the elements
- Prams with bumper bars are great for kids to hang onto, attach toys to and are an added safety feature
- Washable seat liners will allow for easy cleaning and increase the life of your stroller seat
- Some canopies come with a "peekaboo" flap so you can keep an eye on your baby even with the seat facing forwards
- To ensure the maximum life of your stroller seat, look out for products with a weight .limit of at least 15kg
WHEELS, BRAKES & MANOEUVRABILITY
There are 4 common types of pram wheels:
$ Solid EVA:
Light, puncture free wheels made from a rubbery like, plastic. Best suited to even-paved surfaces and indoor floors. The plastic is prone to getting small stones and gravel stuck in or leaving small dents/marks. This won't effect performance it just leaves them looking worn. Found on many cheaper prams and travel strollers.
$$ Solid PU:
Slightly heavier than EVA they are made with a high quality rubber substance which is resistant to small stones and gravel and therefore remain in great condition and also last a lot longer than EVA. The density of rubber can vary from hard to quite spongy (almost mimicking air-tyre cushioning). They can be used on any surface.
$$ Air tyres:
Heavier again than PU, air-filled tyres offer additional cushioning which is great for rough terrain and outdoor exercise. Like bike tyres, they will require the maintenance, pumping-up and may need to have the inner tube (or whole tyre) replaced if punctured.
$$$ Foam filled:
An air tyre filled with foam rather than air. They do not require maintenance but are the heaviest option and typically most expensive.
- Does the pram or stroller have front swivel wheels to make manoeuvring easier? It’s useful if they can be locked when travelling at higher speeds or over rough terrain to avoid what’s known an “wheel shudder”
- Large rear wheels tend to be better on kerbs
- Is the rear brake easily accessible and easy to use? Linked brakes allow both wheels to brake with a single action rather than individually
- Front brakes are particularly handy with a reversible handle so you have a brake on both sides
- Hand brakes will be convenient for jogging prams
As many pre-existing pram owners will tell you - do NOT overlook how important storage is going to be when using a pram. Getting around town with a pram (in particular, navigating small spaces) can be a challenge to get used to. Think about the added pain if you are forced to carry your handbag, drink bottle and shopping in addition to the pram or stroller?
Ensure you investigate how much storage space and the weight limit of the storage space. Prams that offer accessories including a handlebar bag or cup holder are a great option and are very reasonably priced. Additional pockets are also a big win!
SAFETY STANDARDS OF AUSTRALIAN PRAMS
Always look for strollers and prams certified to the Australian safety standards AS/NZS 2088 and look at the date at the end of that number (the most current is 2013).
Some key things to check:
- The mechanism that activates the brake is red
- A tether strap is attached to the handlebar that allows the pusher of the pram to be tethered to it whilst in use
- Seats which recline more than 150° require a head barrier of some sort
- Does the canopy offer a reasonable amount of shade?
Ready To Stroll!
With so many options out there, buying a pram or stroller can seem daunting to say the least! We recommend having a think about what features are must have vs nice to have, and setting your budget early.
With a bit of research, we know you'll find the perfect pram for you and your family!
If you have any questions about buying a pram (or anything at all), you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.