Finding the right buggy, pushchair or pram can be a complete nightmare. There are literally hundreds of options, ranging from the pointless £10,000 pushchairs to the break-before-it-gets-home buggies. I didn’t even know the difference between a buggy, pram and pushchair when I started looking a few years back.
For our second child, we’re re-using the buggy and pushchair we’ve already got. There was no point in binning them off and spending £100s buying them a few year’s later. They’re big investments, so it’s worth doing your homework before you buy. To get you kicked off, here’s a list of the different names of travel systems you’ll come across…
(bookmark this page – you’ll need it when you’re pram shopping)
Pram’s are suitable from birth to early toddler. Prams usually have a lie-flat position for newborns with the baby facing you – sometimes this seat unit is reversible and can also be detachable as its own carry cot (suitable for sleeping). Pram is the sturdiest of the transport options and is also the least foldable (but can often still be folded).
Usually suitable for newborns as well as older babies. Pushchairs are similar to prams, still very sturdy but often more foldable. Pushchairs usually have reclining and both forward and rear facing options. Pushchairs also come in 3-wheeler options for the trendy toddlers. The 4-wheeler is more suitable for all-terrain.
Two-in-one travel system
Suitable from birth until toddler. Two-in-ones usually encompass both a pram (lying down base) and a pushchair (forward-facing seat for older babies). For this reason two-in-ones are usually more expensive but they tend to last well into the toddler years.
Three-in-one travel system
Much the same as a two-in-one with the addition of having a car seat as a third option. This becomes useful if you’re embarking on a journey that includes walking and car or train.
Usually suitable from around 6 months old. A buggy is a lightweight option and is often just forward-facing. Buggies take up much less space than prams or pushchairs and can be stored away conveniently. They tend to come with hoods and it’s wise to get a rain cover for it too. The ride won’t be as smooth as a pram but a buggy is very nimble and good for getting around town and for travelling.
A stroller is the same as a buggy. The manufacturers are just adding complexity and presumably think that ‘stroller’ sounds cooler than buggy.
Consider what parenting life will be like…
So there’s your list of travel options. Now here are some other things to think about when choosing travel equipment…
Travelling by train
A pram will be too big to bring up the aisle of a train, so you’ll have to leave it in the corridor. Even if the carry cot is detachable, it’s likely to be too big to take down the aisle to your seat. A detachable car seat allows you to park and fold the travel system’s wheels, and take the car seat to your table with the baby still in it.
Travelling by bus
You’re able to get on the bus OK, but can you navigate between the seats and vertical poles, or is the pram too wide? If there’s no space for another pram on the bus, can you wait for the next bus, walk or fold it and hold the baby?
In the supermarket
You need to get washing liquid, fabric conditioner and toilet roll, plus you want to buy that 4 pack of beer for tonight’s game – but only have room for 3 of these things in the pram
- Leave the beer, you probably won’t get a chance to watch the football anyway
- Leave the conditioner, the baby’s clothes don’t need to be that soft
- Buy all 4 items and try to carry them and push the pram at the same time
- Get a pram with a big basket for storage
Other things to think about when choosing a pram?
- Foldable: where and how will you store it?
- Smooth ride: bigger wheels often lead to a smoother ride
- Width: can you get in on a bus or in between narrow aisles?
- Handling: can you push it with one hand if you need to? Does it feel sturdy but easy to steer?
- Storage: will you need somewhere to store things when you’re out and about?
- Accessories: will you want a rain sheet or a coffee cup holder?
- Safety: it’s passed the safety tests, but do the brakes and safety harness feel secure?