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Shopping for a baby stroller can be a little intimidating. There are several types to choose from and all manufacturers offer a wide variety of features. Options like retractable boots and shock absorbers may leave you feeling like you're shopping for a car instead of a convenient way to take your baby out for a stroll. AmericasBaby.com offers nearly a hundred different models of baby strollers to choose from, starting at around $30 up to beautiful deluxe pram models at over $500. Which type is right for you? The following descriptions may help you decide:

Umbrella type strollers are so named because they fold up similar to an umbrella. These are usually the most compact and inexpensive models. These models offer few comfort features but are the most convenient. They are recommended for children over one year in age.

Lightweight Strollers are generally a little larger and have more features than umbrella types, although some models fold up similar to umbrella models. They are usually of aluminum construction and therefore generally weight 13 pounds or less. Most manufacturers offer a range of options for this type of stroller..

Midweight and Sport Strollers are bigger and sturdier, but also heavier and more expensive, than lightweight counterparts. As their name suggests, they are designed for more active parents who need a stroller that can stand up to more than shopping mall conditions.

Running Strollers have a very stable tricycle design with fixed wheels and adult-sized bike tires to safely carry baby while mom or dad is jogging behind. Other types of sport strollers have knobby tires, shock absorbers and higher ground clearance for “off road” use where more durability is required.

Car Seat Strollers  is an infant car seat and separate stroller combination. They are a multi-use product that accommodate a growing baby. The infant car seat maybe used for infants up to 22 pounds and may also be used as rocking carriers. The infant car seat fits into the stroller for use as an infant carriage. As the child grows the stroller maybe used without the car seat. These category of products is not only economical but also extremely convenient.

Tandem and Side by Side is an infant car seat and separate stroller combination. They are a multi-use product that accommodate a growing baby. The infant car seat maybe used for infants up to 22 pounds and may also be used as rocking carriers. The infant car seat fits into the stroller for use as an infant carriage. As the child grows the stroller maybe used without the car seat. These category of products is not only economical but also extremely convenient.

Carriage or Pram style strollers are very popular. The more traditional looking bassinet shaped models allow baby to lie flat and have a “retro” look and feel. Newer models with a more modern look convert from a fully horizontal riding position to an upright sitting position like other types of strollers.

No matter which type of stroller is right for you, you’ll likely find a variety of options to outfit your purchase. Consider these points before you purchase your baby’s new stroller:

  • Weather protection varies greatly from one model to another. You might want a partial or full canopy. Some models offer a boot to protect baby’s feet and legs. Others have enclosures that adjust to fully cover the stroller in the worst weather.

    Look for see-through materials that allow you to keep an eye on baby no matter how much cover is employed.

  • There are different handles to consider as well. Simpler models have handles with one fixed position. Others have height adjustments that may be easier on your back and some handles are reversible so smaller infants can face you. Padded and ergonomically designed handles offer additional comfort for mom and dad.

  • Stroller seats may be sling or hammock style while others are made of more rigid material with car seat type padding. Pram type strollers are equipped with small mattresses. Whatever the seating type, removable machine washable padding, covers and canopies are most desirable.

  • Wheel types vary greatly. Unless you’re looking for the additional stability offered by fixed position and oversized wheels usually found on sport models, fully independent wheels are recommended for mall and supermarket use. Their caster like movement allows for the best maneuverability and many models feature a locking device to point the front wheels straight forward for added stability.

  • All strollers are equipped with brakes on their wheels. Two braking wheels are preferable to one, but you should never rely on a stroller’s brakes alone to secure your baby on an inclined surface.

  • All strollers have three point harnesses and many models have five point harnesses. The best safety bars are padded and removable. Some have detachable snack trays or toy bars for your baby’s entertainment. All stroller restraints should be easy to adjust but kid proof for safety.

  • Some models have storage baskets or mesh carryalls that attach behind or below the stroller seat. Consider the capacity and accessibility of storage options when purchasing your stroller. To prevent tipping, never hang bags or parcels from your stroller’s handles.

Remember that when traveling with your baby, it’s safety first. Strollers should only be used for children up to 35-40 pounds. Look for models that meet or exceed current safety standards like those imposed by the JPMA. Collapsible models should employ a locking mechanism to insure the stroller will not collapse while in use. Watch out for safety bar openings or leg holes that may be too big for your baby and may allow baby to slip through. Never leave your child unattended or attempt to carry your baby in the stroller, especially on stairs and escalators.