Ask the Expert: Strollers
Ask the Expert: Strollers
January 13, 2021

Ask the Expert: Strollers

Ask the Expert: Strollers.
Ask the Expert: Strollers

Ever wish you had a baby gear expert by your side to answer all of your questions and help you build your baby registry every step of the way?

Welcome to Ask the Expert, a new series where I answer real questions from real Babylist users and parents just like you. Who am I? I’m Jen LaBracio, Babylist’s Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines my love of (obsessive) research with my love of all things baby gear.


Today’s topic: all things strollers!

I’m pregnant with my first baby and trying to decide what stroller to add to my registry. I’m going to use the group gift feature so cost isn’t my first concern. What’s the best stroller?

Well, for starters—congratulations!

“What stroller should I buy?” or “What’s the best stroller?” are some of the most common questions I get asked when people find out I work for Babylist. And I totally get it. I vividly remember being pregnant with my son and feeling super overwhelmed by all of the stroller options on the market. (And I review baby gear for a living!). A stroller is a big purchase and, for most people, an item of baby gear they’re going to use multiple times a day for years—so you don’t want to make the wrong choice.

But here’s the thing. There is no “best” stroller; what there is, though, is the best stroller for you.

I realize this probably isn’t the answer you were looking for, but hear me out. Do you live in a city and need a stroller that can handle bumpy sidewalks, high curbs and your weekly grocery haul? Then something with great suspension, big wheels and a large basket is probably your best bet. But what if you’re a suburbanite who’s just planning on using your stroller for quick walks around the block? No need to invest in those features, then. What if you’ll be hauling your stroller up stairs on the regular or riding with it on public transportation? Then a quick, compact fold should be on the top of your list.

You can see where I’m going with this. Your lifestyle, living situation and even your family size are all factors that should go into choosing your stroller. Instead of trying to find the best of the best, take stock of your needs and evaluate strollers and their (many) features based on that. This line of thinking gives you a lens to sort through all of the choices and can help you feel a little less overwhelmed.

Want to take a deeper dive? Check out my guide on How to Choose a Stroller.

What’s a great stroller for a newborn? I read that not all strollers are newborn-friendly…and I’m not even exactly sure what that means? Help!

This is a great question and something you’re totally justified in being confused about. You’ve got an adorable new baby and you want to go for a walk, so you pop them into your new stroller and you’re on your way, right? Well…not exactly.

Not all strollers are made to accommodate newborns. That’s because newborns don’t have the head and neck strength or the ability to sit up unassisted for at least six months or so, which means that without certain features in place, they’ll slump over in a stroller without the proper support.

If you want to use your stroller from day one, here are the features you need to look for:

  • A seat that fully reclines to a flat surface
  • A seat that reclines almost fully and comes with an approved newborn support accessory (like the Infant Snugseat from UPPAbaby, for example)
  • A stroller that accepts a bassinet attachment
  • A stroller with the ability to clip in an infant car seat (a travel system)

As long as you check one of these boxes, you’re good to go strolling with your new addition right from day one.

I’d prefer a lightweight stroller but I’m not sure about safety. Is a full size, heavier stroller just as safe as a lighter model, or is the heavier stroller always a safer choice?

Another great question, as we know keeping your little ones as safe as possible is always a top priority when choosing any item of baby gear. And the short answer here? Yes.

Safety standards for strollers in the United States are set by the CPSC—the Consumer Product Safety Commission. An independent federal regulatory agency, the CPSC was created in 1972 to “protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products.” Safety standards for many baby products, including strollers, are covered by the CPSC. (The exception is car seats, which are regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)

In 2013, the CPSC voted for the first time to set federal safety standards for strollers. All strollers manufactured in the U.S. after September 10, 2015 must meet these these federal requirements for overall stroller safety, which include things like seat belts, latch/lock mechanism and parking brake regulations, wheel safety and stroller stability measures and structural integrity standards. Many stroller brands not only meet these standards but exceed them; you should always check the safety information for your particular stroller brand if you want to learn more.

Keeping all of this in mind, there are some differences between a lightweight stroller and a full-size model. (You can read all about lightweight strollers and our top picks here.) But safety isn’t one of them. A lightweight stroller made in the U.S. meets the same safety standards as its heavier counterparts.

I’m planning to run with my stroller. Do I need to invest in a jogging stroller, or are most strollers jogging-friendly?

First off, from one runner parent to another—you go! Running with my son when he was a baby was tough, but getting out a few times a week with my jogging stroller was one of the best things I did to keep myself sane and in a healthy headspace as a new mom. I hope it brings you the same joy.

You may not like this answer because it’s going to cost you a little more money (sorry!) but yes—if you want to run with your baby in tow, you’re going to need a stroller built specifically for jogging. And here’s why.

Jogging strollers are designed to absorb the bumping and bouncing that comes along with strolling at higher speeds and across uneven terrain. Unlike traditional strollers, jogging strollers have three oversized wheels in a triangle setup and a souped-up suspension system that decreases the impact of jolts on your little one. (Even traditional strollers with really good suspension systems can’t match that of a jogging stroller.) There’s also features like a locking front wheel to help your stroller stay on a straight path when you run and a safety tether (a fancy term for a leash) that wraps around your risk in case you lose your grip.

So is a jogging stroller worth it? If you’re someone who likes to adventure off the beaten path with your baby—or even just fit in a quick run around your neighborhood—I say definitely yes. The good news is that most running strollers can accommodate kids up to about five years old, so you’ll get a ton of use out of your stroller once you invest.

Here are my picks for the best jogging strollers if you want to learn more.

*Note: remember that while you can attach an infant car seat to some jogging strollers, you won’t be able to use your stroller to run until your child is at least eight months old. That’s because your little one doesn’t have the head and neck strength to remain stable while there’s a lot of bouncing around happening.

I’m tall, but my partner is short. What stroller do you recommend for parents with a big height difference?

Good question—especially since you’re asking it to someone who is 5’10” and can definitely relate to the stroller struggle!

Here’s the deal with parent/caregiver height + strollers. In order to comfortably push a stroller—and not bang into the bottom bar with the front of your foot each and every time you take a step—you need to be far enough away while you’re pushing it. But you also need to be able to reach the handlebars. And that’s where an adjustable feature comes in.

If you’re a tall parent, or you’re looking for a stroller that will work for parents or caregivers of different heights, you need a height-adjustable handlebar. (In stroller-speak, this is also often called a telescoping handlebar.) This means the handlebar moves up and down into different height positions so someone with shorter arms and legs will be just as comfortable pushing the stroller as someone who’s on the taller side.

Height-adjustable handlebars used to be more common on higher-priced, more luxe strollers, and while that’s still mostly the case, they’re slowly becoming more of the norm for strollers in all different price ranges. Here are a just few of my favorite strollers that feature these types of handlebars:

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