Stroller Terms & Definitions: What Do They Mean?
Baby Gear Glossary: Strollers
April 13, 2021

Baby Gear Glossary: Strollers

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Baby Gear Glossary: Strollers.
Baby Gear Glossary: Strollers

No-rethread harness. Anti-colic vent system. Stability Leg. Flip-flop friendly break.

Ever feel like baby gear lingo is written in a completely different language—one you never learned?

The Babylist Gear Glossary is your one-stop resource to help you unlock the techie terms and insider jargon you’ll run into as you build your baby registry and shop for gear. The series breaks down what you need to know about all things baby gear in short, easy-to-digest definitions and explanations. Each glossary covers a different category like car seats, strollers, baby carriers and more.


Strollers

If you’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out which stroller to add to your baby registry, you’re not alone. A stroller is a big-ticket item and something you’re going to use a lot as a new (and seasoned!) parent, so a little bit of research will go a long way in helping you to make the right decision.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to all of the components and features of a stroller. Let’s get to it so you can start shopping.

Belly bar: A belly bar is a feature that’s found on most full-size strollers. Think of a belly bar as an extra layer of safety and comfort for your little one, almost like a bumper. Covered in a soft padding, belly bars extend across the front seat of your stroller and give your little one something to hold onto as you stroll. You can also attach a toy to a belly bar to help keep your little one entertained. Belly bars are often removable.

Bench seat: A bench seat is a type of seat that’s found on a tandem sit-and-stand stroller. It’s a flat bench located in the back of the stroller where an older child can sit while a younger child rides up front either in an infant car seat or in a more structured toddler seat. Bench seats usually feature a three-point harness to help secure your little one and keep them safe.

Canopy: A canopy refers to the section of fabric over a stroller seat that provides shade and privacy for your baby or toddler. Most canopies retract and are made from soft, breathable fabrics. Some have UV protection built right in and many also include a small mesh peekaboo window to help you more easily keep an eye on what your little one is up to. Most standard strollers come with canopies, but some umbrella strollers or more bare-bones models do not.

Car seat adapter: Car seat adapters connect an infant car seat to a stroller. Adapters make it possible to snap an infant car seat directly into a stroller even if they’re from different brands. Being able to do this makes it easier to transition your little one from the car to the stroller (and back again) and allows you to use your stroller from day one if it’s not already newborn-friendly. Note that not all infant car seat and stroller brands are compatible, so be sure to do some research before you purchase.

Car seat compatibility: Car seat compatibility refers to whether or not you’ll be able to attach an infant car seat directly to your stroller. If you’ve purchased a travel system (a stroller and a car seat from the same brand that fit together), your stroller and seat are automatically compatible with each other. However, if you’ve purchased a stroller and a car seat from different brands, they may not be. In some cases you’ll be able to purchase separate car seat adapters in order to use them together. Some brands are not compatible whatsoever, while some strollers do not accept car seats at all. (This is often the case with umbrella strollers and other lighter-weight models, but there are a few exceptions.)

Convertible stroller: A convertible stroller is a stroller that converts from a single stroller into a double. (The UPPAbaby Vista V2 is an example of a popular convertible stroller.) Convertibles are a good choice if you’re planning on having two children relatively close in age. Convertible strollers come either in a tandem configuration or a side-by-side.

Double stroller: A double stroller is a stroller that holds two children at once. A double stroller can be useful if you have twins or two children close in age. Like convertible strollers, double strollers come in both tandem and side-by-side configurations.

Five-point harness: A five-point harness is made up of two shoulder straps, two waist straps and a between-the-legs strap that all meet in a middle buckle. Not all strollers seats have five-point harnesses; some offer a three-point harness (waist + crotch straps) instead.

Fixed wheel: Fixed wheels can be found predominantly on jogging strollers but also on some full-size strollers as well. A fixed wheel means your stroller’s wheels are locked into the straight-ahead position. (As opposed to a swivel wheel that isn’t locked into place and turns, or swivels, freely.)

Why would you need a fixed wheel? Although wheels in the fixed position make a stroller harder to turn and steer, they provide a lot more stability than when your wheels are in the swivel position. This is especially important when you’re running with your stroller. (Never run with a stroller that doesn’t feature fixed wheels.) Some full-size strollers feature the option to toggle between fixed or swivel wheels by pressing a small button located near the wheel base.

Flip-flop friendly brake: A flip-flop friendly brake refers to a stroller brake that doesn’t require you to use the top of your foot to activate it (since doing so while wearing flip-flops would be pretty uncomfortable!). Flip-flop friendly brakes are activated by pushing down instead of up.

Forward-facing vs. parent-facing seat: Modular strollers (strollers with a removable seat) feature seats that can face in two directions: either forward-facing (looking in front of you while you walk) or parent-facing (your baby facing backwards and looking directly at you). Many parents and caregivers choose to parent-face for the first few months, or even a bit longer, because it’s much easier to keep an eye on your baby and to encourage eye contact and bonding. Older babies and toddlers often prefer to forward-face so they can take in the world around them while on a walk or a run.

Four-wheel stroller: A four-wheel stroller has four wheels arranged in a rectangle shape: two wheels up front and two in the back. Four-wheels strollers offer good stability and many fold easily and compactly. Because this is a more popular stroller configuration, there’s a larger selection of four-wheel strollers than three-wheel models.

Jogging stroller: A jogging stroller, also called a running stroller, is a stroller that’s designed specifically for running with your little one in tow. Jogging strollers are built to handle rougher terrain and have souped-up suspension systems for a smoother ride and fixed wheel options for added stability.

Modular stroller: A modular stroller is a stroller with a removable seat. That seat (or seats, in the case of some convertible strollers) can either face forward or can be turned to parent-face.

Newborn-friendly stroller: You’d think that you’d be able to stroll with your little one from day one if you’d like but…not so fast. Not all strollers are made to accommodate newborns. That’s because babies don’t have the head and neck strength or the ability to sit up unassisted until about six months or so, so without certain features in place, they’ll slump over in a stroller without proper support.

A newborn-friendly stroller means that the stroller can accommodate your little one from the newborn days and beyond. Newborn-friendly strollers must have a seat that reclines fully flat (or near-flat and come with an approved newborn support accessory), accept a bassinet attachment or accept an infant car seat.

One-handed fold: A stroller that boasts a one-handed fold means just what it sounds like: that you’ll be able to fold the stroller with just one hand. Anyone who’s ever fumbled with a complicated stroller fold or tried to fold a stroller while also holding a baby, a diaper bag and who-knows-what else will appreciate this thoughtful feature. Just keep in mind that not all one-handed folds are created equal; some are much easier and smoother than others, so be sure to test out the stroller you have your eye on before you buy if this is something that’s important to you.

Peekaboo window: A peekaboo window is a small opening located in a stroller canopy. Often made from mesh or another breathable fabric, peekaboo windows let you get a quick peek at what your little one is up to without having to retract the canopy or sneak around the side of the seat.

Ring adapter: A ring adapter is a type of car seat adapter that helps you connect your stroller and your car seat. Shaped like a long ring, these types of adapters snap easily on and off your stroller whenever you need to attach or detach your car seat.

Seat recline: How far the seat reclines—or doesn’t—is an important feature to pay attention to when shopping for a stroller. Different brands and models of strollers offer all different seat relines: full, partial or none at all. A seat that fully reclines has a few benefits. It means your stroller is newborn-friendly, so you’ll be able to use it from day one. Many parents also appreciate a fully reclining seat for naps on the go. (It’s pretty tough to keep an upright baby or toddler from getting too distracted to ever take a nap!)

Self-standing fold: A stroller with a self-standing fold means that the stroller will stay upright when in its folded position. It’s a nice feature to have if you’ll be folding and unfolding your stroller on the regular; it’s much more convenient (and cleaner) than picking it up off of the floro or the ground each time you need to open and close it. A self-standing fold is also helpful if you plan to store your stroller upright when it’s not in use.

Side-by-side stroller: Side-by-side refers to a stroller’s seating configuration. A side-by-side stroller has two separate seats that are positioned next to each other.

Sit-and-stand stroller: A sit-and-stand stroller is a type of tandem stroller that has a standard stroller seat in the front (some accept an infant car seat up front as well) and a bench + standing platform in the back. Sit-and-stands are a popular choice if you have two children with a wider age gap (think about three to five years), as they offer a bit more independence to the older child who may protest riding in a stroller but not be ready to walk longer distances independently quite yet. Sit-and-stand strollers tend to be lighter in weight than many other stroller models but don’t typically have good suspension systems.

Snack tray: It’s no secret that babies and toddlers love to snack. A snack tray is a small tray that attaches to the front of a stroller seat. There’s often enough room for a small snack or two and a spot for a small cup. Some snack trays are included with the purchase of a stroller while others are sold separately. There are also universal models available.

Storage basket: A storage basket, also called an undercarriage basket, refers to the storage space underneath the seat of your stroller. There’s a huge range of storage basket sizes depending on your stroller model, from oversized to pretty tiny. If you know you’ll be using your stroller a lot and frequently hauling around a lot of stuff (think diaper bag, a blanket, toys for the park etc.) then you may opt for a stroller with a larger basket. If you plan to travel light, however, this feature won’t be as important to you.

Stroller board: Also called a buggy board, glider or ride-along board, a stroller board is a flat wooden or plastic board on wheels. The board attaches to the back of a stroller to create a safe spot for your older child to stand on and ride along as you push the stroller. Stroller boards are a quick and easy solution for a little one who may be resistant to riding in a stroller but not quite ready to walk on their own just yet. Some stroller brands offer their own custom stroller boards, but universal boards are also available.

Stroller bunting: A bunting is a great stroller accessory to add to your registry if you live in a colder climate and know you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors with your little one. Think of a stroller bunting as a giant sleeping bag for your baby. The bunting attaches directly to your stroller’s seat, providing a warm and cozy cocoon to keep your little one snug and warm. Lots of buntings are even warm enough that your baby won’t need a heavy coat (or any coat at all) underneath.

Some stroller brands make their own specific buntings, but there are lots of universal buntings available too. Pro tip: always go for the larger toddler size. You baby will swim in it at first, but they’ll grow into it before you know it and you won’t have to spend money on the larger size.

Stroller frame: Think of a stroller frame as the bones of your stroller. The frame holds everything together and supports your stroller’s wheels, seat and handlebar. Stroller frames are most often made from metal. The type of metal plays a big role in the stroller’s weight; aluminum frames, for example, are lightweight and a popular frame choice.

Stroller organizer: Also called a parent organizer, a stroller organizer helps you keep all of your essentials (think phone, keys, water bottle etc.) in one place and within easy reach while you’re out and about with your baby. Some strollers come with organizers, while others must be purchased separately. Universal options are also available. Stroller organizers generally attach to the upper handlebar section of your stroller and are held in place with Velcro or clips.

Suspension system: Wondering what keeps your baby from bouncing around in their seat too much while out for a walk or a run? You have your stroller’s suspension system to thank. Just like on your bike or even your car, strollers feature suspension systems too. Some strollers feature all-wheel suspension and independent shocks, making them better at handling bumpy terrain, while others feature two-wheel suspension or even none at all, making for a bouncier ride.

Tandem stroller: A tandem stroller refers to a stroller’s seating configuration. Tandem strollers feature two separate seats that are lined up one in front of the other. In-line or front-to-back are other terms often used to describe this type of seating configuration.

Deciding between a tandem stroller or a side-by-side is often a matter of personal preference. Some parents like the idea of a tandem stroller due to its narrower width and stadium-style seating, while others prefer a side-by-side that allows for easier interaction between kiddos.

Telescoping handlebar: If you’ve ever kicked the bottom bar of your stroller while trying to push it then you already recognize the importance of a telescoping handlebar. Also called a height-adjustable handlebar or sometimes just an adjustable handlebar, a telescoping handlebar is one that moves up and down into different height positions. If you’re on the taller side, or if there’s a big height discrepancy between parents and/or caregivers, then a stroller with a telescoping handlebar is going to make your strolling a whole lot more comfortable.

Three-wheel stroller: A three-wheel stroller has three wheels arranged in a triangle shape: one wheel in the front and two in the back. Three-wheel strollers often feature larger rear wheels that better handle rougher terrain. (That’s why all jogging strollers feature a three-wheel design.) Some parents also find that three-wheel strollers are easier to turn, steer and maneuver when the front wheel is in a swivel position. They can also be pushed with one hand. However, three-wheel strollers are often bulkier than four-wheel models and don’t fold as compactly.

Toddler seat: A toddler seat is the type of seat you’ll find on most strollers. It’s where your baby or toddler will sit while you stroll and often features recline positions and always includes a harness for safety.

Travel system: A travel system is a stroller that comes with an infant car seat that attaches to it. The biggest pro of a travel system is that you won’t have to disturb your baby every time you switch from the car to the stroller (and back). Travel systems are available with a stroller and car seat from the same brand, or you can mix and match different brands to make your own—you’ll just need to make sure the brands are compatible with each other and purchase the correct adapters.

Travel stroller: Also known as a lightweight stroller or a compact stroller, a travel stroller is designed with travel in mind. A travel stroller is a hybrid between a traditional stroller and an umbrella stroller. Travel strollers are generally lighter in weight than standard strollers, boast a quick and compact fold and can often be slung right over your shoulder or even stored in the overhead compartment of a plane. A travel stroller is a smart buy if you’re a family that’s frequently on the go.

Umbrella stroller: An umbrella stroller is a type of stroller that quickly folds in on itself into a slender, vertical shape that’s similar to, well…an umbrella. Umbrella strollers are ultra lightweight and often lack many of the amenities that you’d find in a traditional stroller like an adjustable seat and a cup holder. Umbrella strollers often have skimpy canopies and minimal cushioning, and you won’t be able to push one with one hand; however, they’re great when you need a slimmer, fast-folding stroller.

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