The ‘pushchair decision’ is a big one - and rightly so. It’s a large purchase that you’re likely going to use almost every day. So, you need to get it right. The good news is that the perfect pushchair for your family is out there.
Before you rush out to the shops, it’s important to do your research, because what the perfect pushchair is for you will really come down to your family’s needs, and your expectations.
What do you need?
What do you want?
What are you willing to compromise on?
The crux of the matter is what features of a pushchair are necessary to your family’s needs, lifestyle and future?
When doing your research, here are the key elements to consider.
Calculating a pushchair budget
One surefire way to be disappointed is falling in love with a pushchair that is way over budget. So, before you do any shopping, sit down and decide your budget. Then stick to it! However, when deciding on your budget it’s important to remember that a pushchair is an investment, so you don’t want to compromise on something that keeps your child safe.
Spending more money to ensure you get a high-quality pushchair that will stand the test of time (and the test of children) is important. While there are cheap pushchairs and prams on the market, they most definitely won’t last as long as those that have been designed to endure years of use.
Keep in mind, however, that quality doesn’t always equate to expensive. There are plenty of affordable options for parents who want to ensure quality and safety without forking out thousands of pounds.
The little ones you’re investing in
Pushchairs are for both parents and kids. But for the moment, let’s concentrate on the little members of the family. The main thing you should consider is whether you’re buying a pushchair for one child or two, and whether the pushchair needs to expand at some stage.
For example, if you are thinking of having more children in the future it may be worth considering a pushchair that converts into a double or tandem pushchair when needed, such as those offered by Redsbaby.
It’s also important, of course, to consider the age of your children. The best type of pushchairs and prams are ones that grow with your child – they can accommodate a newborn, infant and toddler and, as one child outgrows the lie-flat seat, a younger sibling may move in.
Your newborn must be in a carrycot or travel capsule that attaches to a pushchair. This is because newborns will need to lie flat - or almost flat - when they’re in the pushchair.
Also, if you drive a lot, you may want to consider a travel system. In this case you’ll need to ensure the pushchair has adaptors for the capsule, so you can have a swift swap from car to pushchair. The benefit of going down this route is that you’ll never have to wake your baby as you move them from car to pushchair or vice versa. Simply transfer the capsule.
Infants are notoriously curious, and they tend to have an innate desire to investigate their surroundings. When a newborn becomes an infant, they’ll likely grow out of the carrycot and capsule features, so it’s usually time to move them into the pushchair seat. Again, there are two choices – parent facing seat, and outward facing seat. Some pushchairs have a seat that will do both - it’s a personal decision as to which you prefer for your family.
Have you ever met a toddler who was happy to sit still for hours on end? Neither have we. In our experience toddlers are impatient to get out of any seat to run around and explore. So for this age it’s crucial to have the right harness in place – it should be easy for you to unclip quickly but difficult for the toddler to open. For example, our Redsbaby 5-point safety harness is designed to provide a high level of protection for your child, while not being complicated for parents to open.
If you think you’re going to need the pushchair until your child reaches four or five, it could be more cost-effective to opt for a seat that is tested for up to 20kg in weight.
Of course, sometimes there’s a sibling to consider before your child outgrows their pushchair. There are a few alternatives in this case - you can either purchase one pushchair that does everything, or two pushchairs to suit different situations. Again, it depends on your needs. For example, if you’re going to be managing the kids on your own, one pushchair may be preferable.
A pushchair that adapts to the family lifestyle
While a pushchair needs to be suitable for the children, it’s also important to consider your pushchair’s suitability for you and your family. Do you use public transport a lot? Well then, it needs to be able to be put on buses and trains. Travel a lot or always on the go? An easy to fold, compact pushchair is your best bet. Live in the countryside or planning on using the pushchair on rugged terrain? You’ll need a pushchair with solid wheels and good suspension.
It’s also worth investigating how much the pram weighs without the child sitting in it, and how easily you can fold it. There may be times you need to quickly fold it up, bundle the kids into the car, and then unfold it again. The last thing you want to be struggling with is collapsing the pushchair.
Another aspect to consider is that the manoeuvrability of the pushchair will differ when there’s no one sitting in it, compared to when there’s a child on board, a nappy bag somewhere, and a basket full of essentials or shopping. If this is a concern, opt for a pushchair that has a higher level of manoeuvrability, as these are designed to deal with heavier weights.
Image source - Asset file from Redsbaby
The always important safety factor
When purchasing a pushchair, the most important priority should be the safety of the child/children.
First, make sure that the pushchair complies with British Standard/European Standard 1888: 2012 or British Standard/European Standard EN 1888:2003. This standard sets out all the safety requirements necessary for pushchairs, including that they should be permanently labelled to show their compliance. It’s also worthwhile making sure that the pushchair has been independently tested.
Here are some things to look for:
- Fire regulations The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 apply to all upholstered products, including pushchairs. There should be two labels clearly attached – one stating that the pushchair complies with the regulations and one stating how. There should also be a ‘carelessness causes fire’ caution notice.
- Air-vents Airflow is crucial for a child’s wellbeing, especially if you’re utilising rain or wind covers to deal with UK weather. Look for netting on the side or at the head of the pushchair. This will ensure proper airflow.
- Five-point safety harness A safety harness on a pushchair should include five points all connecting at a central buckle that is easy enough for a parent to open, but difficult for a child to. There should be at minimum two shoulder straps, two waist straps and a crotch strap. Importantly, the design should be that when the buckle is released, all five straps release from one another. The harness should also effectively prevent the child from rolling out as you push the pushchair around.
- Brakes Make sure the brakes can be applied by a simple action, especially in the event that you must quickly stop the pushchair. For example, the Redsbaby brake requires a simple foot press. Always use the brake when you stop the pushchair, and check the tyres regularly as tyre wear can impact how well your brakes work.
- Folding and locking devices
A common injury caused by pushchairs is little fingers getting caught in locking mechanisms for hinges. Check that the pushchair can be quickly and easily folded, and then locked into place so it can’t pop undone and pose a safety hazard for the kids. Another reason for checking the pushchair locks into place is to make sure there is no risk of it collapsing with your child inside.
The pushchair style features
While safety comes first, it’s still nice to have a stylish pushchair - the pushchair will be a consistent accessory when out and about, so it really should suit your style.
Quality fabric is a must. A child may spend hours in the pushchair,at different times of the day – some cooler, some hotter, sometimes sleeping, sometimes alert and awake. And whether or not you think they’re going to keep the pushchair clean, it’s inevitable that food and drinks, and maybe other items, will be spilled on the fabric. This is why you need material that can be easily and quickly cleaned. In addition, the breathability of the fabric will make a huge difference to the comfort of your child.
The wheels will affect how the pushchair manoeuvres and how steady it is on the base. The larger the wheels, the better equipped they are for rougher terrains, so if you’re a city dweller there’s probably no need for massive wheels that are just going to take up room. It’s also worth checking to see whether the wheels are rubber or if they need air, and whether they swivel. Remember, air-filled tyres will need ongoing maintenance to ensure comfort for your child.
A number of different people may be responsible for pushing the little one around in the pushchair: mum, dad, grandparents, nannies and everyone in between can hold the title of ‘pushchair driver’. The height of the driver will affect their comfort of pushing the pram. Fortunately Redsbaby pushchairs have telescopic handles that allow you to easily adjust the height of the handle to suit drivers of different heights.
A few more things you might like to consider
While safety and style are always the frontrunners when assessing pushchair criteria, bonus extras aren’t far behind.
If you plan to be out and about with your little one, storage within the pushchair is a must. It’s never a good idea to put too much weight on the handle of the pushchair as this can overbalance it, especially as you take your child in and out. It’s handy to keep some essentials in the bottom of the pushchair (wipes, a blanket and some nappies etc.), but it’s also useful to be able to use the basket for a quick grocery stop or some shopping. Consider what types of outings you expect to use the pushchair for, and then make sure you have enough storage to help you on your way.
For a wide range of trustworthy designs and confidently executed pushchairs, have a look at our products at redsbaby.co.uk. We will go above and beyond to find the perfect pushchair for all your family needs and desires. For more information, contact us here .