Strollers Product Guide

Strollers

Each individual is a Parent, Adult, and Child, according to Transactional Analysis, an interactive therapeutic approach that integrates the roles one uses and plays as an integrative approach to personality. This becomes very apparent when you choose to elect parenthood. Bringing a new child into the world reflects your personal dynamics and imposes new challenges. From a baby's wide set of initial vulnerabilities towards its instinctual exploration and experimentation; you confront a child's quest for autonomy. Your life's necessities require mobility. That's why the purchase of a protective baby stroller is among the top-five purchases that are essential before a baby is born.

Most hospitals won't release a baby unless parents have a suitable stroller. Varied needs often lead to the purchase of two or more strollers during a child's life. One stroller may be for the first months of a baby's life. One might be for traveling locally to do errands, with the need to also use in a car or jet. Another might be for exercising and another might be a spare.

Choosing and finding a stroller is easy, especially at JRjr. There are so many! This guide offers an overview of stroller types and tips on purchasing one. It's designed to help make your transition to parenthood simpler and easier.



The Birth of Strollers


A stroller is a baby carrier with wheels. It began as a form of bassinet with wheels, called a Pram. Its invention may be associated with the industrial revolution and the increasing need of moving with children in an urban environment. Earlier societies used primitive baby carriers to strap the baby to the bodice of a parent. Baby carriers are still used but are limited once the baby's weight is too heavy for the parent to bear.

The baby stroller seems so commonplace that few conceive life without use of a stroller. In the timeline of western civilization, strollers are relatively new. Baby strollers evolved through a series of creativity spanning a history of nearly three hundred years. William Kent is attributed to inventing the first baby carriage in 1733 for one of Britain's Dukes. He created the baby carriage in the shape of a wooden shell that a baby could sit in. It used a harness to be pulled by a goat. It also was designed with springs so that the Dukes children could ride in comfort. The idea caught on and soon these carriages were designed to be pushed by people. At the time, this invention was called a perambulator, a vehicle for walking around. Over a few years, the term was revised to Pram. Some still refer to strollers as Prams.

Modern strollers owe their basic design to William H. Richardson. In 1889, he applied for a US patent for a new type of baby carriage. His idea was for a baby carriage that used a special joint to allow a bassinet to be turned to face the operator or face away as in conventional prams of the day. Several changes he made also went into the axles, permitting greater turning ability. Up until that time, baby carriages had solid axels that did not allow for independent wheel movement. The front wheels turned together, and the back wheels turned together. Richardson's carriage allowed for the wheels to turn individually-which meant that the vehicle could turn 360 degrees in a much smaller turning radius.

In the 20th century, safety became a focus in pram development. Footbrakes were added to keep the stroller from freewheeling down a street. The use of plastics and metals began to replace wood and wicker. They contributed to helping make strollers lighter and more affordable. It wasn't until the 1960's that the umbrella stroller was invented. Using a new, lighter weight material (aluminum), Owen MacLaren's stroller design increased load capabilities and added foldability for easier storage. MacLaren strollers remain as a major brand today.

Adjusting the stroller more to parent's lifestyles contributed to further advances. Around 1980, a parent wanted to go for a run with his son in tow. He realized that the four small wheels of a typical stroller would be inadequate. He decided to replace them with bicycle tires from his garage. After a couple designs he finally came up with one that worked. This is how the three-wheel baby jogger was developed.

While many concepts of early designs are incorporated in today's strollers, further customizations have been introduced to benefit the safety and comfort of parent and child. There are many to choose from. The transaction of buying the right stroller may seem complicated. That's why many parents have more than one. This guide is intended to help you find the stroller that fits you.



Types of Strollers


Pram

Pram is short for perambulator, the term originally used for early baby carriages. The word meant, "to move about". The pram is the traditional first carriage, often supported by hospitals and health professionals.

Pram carriages are essentially bassinets on wheels. They are favored for babies from birth to about one year. Built with an elegantly curved lightweight metal frame and oversized wheels, traditional prams function as a cozy place for your newborn to nap while you take a stroll. Prams are intended for infant use only, meaning you will need to purchase another stroller once baby is able to sit up and stand.

Travel Systems

Travel System Stroller

Travel systems combine a car seat and a stroller, making it possible for you to use the system throughout your baby's infancy and toddlerhood. The car seat locks into the stroller for easy transport. As your baby grows, use the stroller alone as you would a traditional stroller.

Most parents find this stroller to be the best value because of its adaptability to suit children from newborn to about 4 years old. Some of these models are basic shells and require suitable seats as accessories for particular ages.

The key benefit is that the stroller seat can become the car seat (with or without an adapter) while you can easily fold the stroller for storage in the trunk.

Choose a stroller from a manufacturer that offers a wide range of available seats, including compatible adapters from other seat manufacturers.

Select a five-point harness system to provide best body support in case of possible motion issues. The design and use of this harness is based on professional support systems used by racecar drivers to prevent injury in fast vehicle accidents. Your baby's developing body is more vulnerable than a professional driver. A five-point harness system is comprised of straps or webbing that extend over your child's hips, shoulders/collar bones, and between their legs.

Some of the larger models may offer a second seat adapter to grow with your expanding family needs.

Structurally, these strollers may be heavier and bulkier than typical strollers. What you gain is diverse adaptability, a one-for-all ages design, and excellent conversion for car or jet use.

Traditional Strollers

These strollers generally come with seats and are targeted for children that have outgrown the pram.

Traditional strollers span a very wide price range. All are foldable. Support quality may vary.

Notably, these are lightweight and great for walking and shopping near home. The MacLaren Umbrella stroller is part of this category.

Higher priced traditional strollers may offer features found on travel strollers, offering adapters for seat upgrades.

Structurally, these carriages are meant for shorter and lighter use than the travel stroller. The key benefit is that they are easy to push and navigate while walking in public areas.

Jogger Strollers

Jogger Stroller

If you're looking for outdoor activity and exercise with baby on board, jogging strollers are the way to go.

Once reserved for the jogging enthusiasts aiming for marathon running, these 3-wheel strollers use larger tires and offer speed while assuring a small ride.

These are generally designed mainly for this particular use. Some claim the 3-wheel support is less navigable and less steady in general street use. While there are 4-sheel models, there are compromises in speed and sporting performance.

Jogger Strollers are not intended for use with babies less than 9-months or 1-year in age. Many do not accept seat adapters or car seats.

The Jogger Stroller is more of a second stroller to help keep the parent on the fitness track while taking the older baby along. It's a compromise to suit a parent's lifestyle and is not recommended as a main stroller.

Double Strollers

Double Stroller

Double strollers come in two styles: tandem, where you have one child in front and one behind, and side by side. It's perfect for twins or for expanding families.

Tandem styles are either available as strollers themselves or as double-seat adapters for traditional or travel strollers. These are generally suited for two children, about a year or two apart in age, where one sits behind the other.

A key advantage of the tandem style is better handling and access through normal doorways.

Side-by-side is preferred with twins or older children. Both are equally facing forward. This model is heavier and bulkier but preferred by some. Because they are wider, access through doorways and access to stores may be difficult, if not impossible.

Seat Carriers

Some people prefer a stroller alternative that is basically a shell that requires use of a car seat. The compatible car seat fits into the seat carrier, to complete the stroller.

Carriers offer a simple frame to hold your baby's car seat. Some seat carrier models come with an extra seat for an older sibling.

As a shell, you must have a compatible baby car seat for use since this type of carriage does not have any seat at all.

Reversible Strollers

Reversible strollers are an easy way to change the baby's orientation towards you or away from you. Either bond with your baby or let the baby experience the world.

When it comes to selecting the right stroller, many parents question whether it's better to choose a model that faces forward or one in which the child faces the parent. Many opinions float around with no immediate consensus whether one way is better than the other. There are even models that can be switched back and forth. That's the concept of the reversible stroller.

Reversible baby strollers allow you to position your baby facing towards you or away from you, and often let you lay your baby flat for naps or straight up for active toddler sightseeing. Made popular by Bugaboo strollers, the reversible style is now available from several companies.

Most reversible strollers have the feature of a swiveling handle that can allow you to face your child as you are walking or have the child facing outward so he or she can survey the terrain as you walk. Other models of reversible strollers also have a removable bassinet included. The bassinet is great for newborns because it allows your child to fully recline and stretch out while providing maximum support to his or her spine and neck. And. of course, the bassinet can be installed forward or backward.

Strollers with a reversible seat feature offer parents a convenient, simple choice as to how the child experiences reality while in the stroller. When shopping for a stroller, you may want to check for this feature.



Urban and Suburban Lifestyles


Selecting a stroller has more to do than style and function. There are variables to take into account regarding climate, baby's age, your residence, and the frequency of using a vehicle for travel.

Climate

If you live in areas where there are cold, snowy winters, you may not be venturing outside often and need only an infant car seat for the first few months. A pram may not be suitable. If you live in an area that's warm and sunny most of the year, you might be thinking more about a lightweight stroller to avoid the added stress of heat

Age

During the first few months of your baby's life, the skeletal muscles are basically undeveloped to the point that the baby lies flat. In this case, a pram (a bassinet on wheels) may be most suitable until your baby grows to the point of sitting or standing on its own.

If you prefer not to use a pram due to its more temporary use range, choose to find a stroller that will grow with your baby (either by reclining positions or by hooking in a car seat), or look for a stroller with capabilities during different times in your baby's development.

City or Suburbs

Do you live in the city or the suburbs?

If you live in a place like New York City and don't own a car, your stroller will likely get a lot of wear. You may want strollers with larger wheels for improved wear and smoothness when encountering bumpy sidewalks and streets.

It's likely you will be using your stroller daily for long and short walks for recreation, shopping, play dates, or visiting friends.

If you live in suburban or rural areas, travel by car to anywhere is routine. In this case, you might opt for a car seat. Many car seats are equipped with handles so you can carry baby when out of the car for a quick bit. A seat carrier stroller may be a nice convenience. Choose an safe but affordable model since, most often, it might remain in your car's trunk.

The guideline is simple. If you mainly travel by car, investing in a high-quality a car seat is a wise choice. Finding an affordable stroller or seat carrier stroller for light shopping might be more sensible.

If you plan on walking everywhere with baby then you might be more willing to spend money on a top-of-the-line stroller that's designed for frequent use.



Safety


It's important to know how safe a stroller is for your child. When choosing any product for your child, safety is your utmost concern. You can ensure that you choose the safest stroller possible by familiarizing yourself with these standards and guidelines prior to selecting a stroller for your family. There are several sources available for reference:

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. The ASTM examines and tests products to develop international standards. While ASTM develops technical standards that apply to baby strollers, they are not responsible for enforcing compliance with these standards. Strollers correspond to F833 ASTM coding and reports may be purchased directly from ASTM.

JPMA Certified - JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) is a trade group representing most manufacturers and dealers that sell strollers and other baby supplies.

If a stroller has a JPMA Certification, it means that the product meets the safety standards developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) along with JPMA and industry members, consumer groups and staff from the US Consumer Products Safety Commission.

In order to receive a JPMA Certification, manufacturers voluntarily agree to have their products tested by several standards. Some of the standards tested for strollers include brake requirements, stability tests, restraint system integrity and load tests on the stroller seat and footrest. The JPMA Certification Seal that their packaging bears can identify strollers and other baby products that are JPMA Certified.

Criteria used by JPMA for certification of baby products including strollers and car seats may be found here: http://www.jpma.org/sites/default/files/resource_docs/Overview%20of%20Standards%2012-14-11.pdf

When choosing a stroller, a 5-point safety harness is a better choice than a 3-point harness. The 5-point harness was first developed for professional competitive sports, particularly driving. A 5-point harness consists of two straps at the shoulders, two straps at the hips and one at the crotch. It offers extra stability in event of sudden impact motions.

Make sure the stroller has a simple yet effective way of locking the wheels. A single one-foot-one-time braking system is the easiest to use type of brake to use. Do Not Leave Your Child Unattended in a Stroller.

While some Jogging Stroller manufacturers claim that these models are suitable for children 6 months and over. The generally applied recommendation is that your child should be a minimum of 1-year, and adequately harnessed. You should also be attached to stroller to prevent stroller from moving away.



Accessories


A wide range of stroller accessories is available from storage bags to electronics. Please make sure that these are compatible with your stroller.



Summary


There are many baby strollers around and word-of-mouth recommendations may be reliable. Purchasing second-hand strollers may not be advisable if you do not know the health and condition of the original user.

Strollers are designed to meet a variety of different needs. When choosing you first stroller, discuss your more immediate needs. Consider your child's age and your lifestyle issues. Seek out JPMA certification as a dependable rating for your baby's stroller.

Stroller brands include Bugaboo, Century, Combi, Disney, Evenflo, Graco, Jeep, Kolcraft, Maclaren, Mountain Buggy, Perego, Phil & Teds's, Quinny, and Schwinn. Several are very popular and score high in consumer reviews. Ultimately, choice pertains to whether the stroller meets your needs.

Here are some sample questions to ask when buying or ordering a stroller:

  1. How easy is it to fold?
  2. Does it have a five-point harness to secure the baby?
  3. Does it recline? How many positions does it have?
  4. How easy is it to use the brakes?
  5. Are the handlebars adjustable? (Some parents have different heights)
  6. Is the basket big enough for your needs?
  7. Does the stroller have cup holders?
  8. Is the stroller weight too heavy? Is it too light?
  9. Is it easy to handle, navigate and steer?
  10. Do the front or back wheels swivel? Both?
  11. Does the stroller fit conveniently into your car's trunk?
  12. Does the stroller have the JPMA seal?
  13. Would it be recommended for city use?
  14. Are the wheels replaceable?
  15. Are seats upgradeable from one manufacturer or several manufacturers?
  16. Is there a warranty? Is the warranty center conveniently located or has a toll-free phone number?

These may seem like a lot of questions but it's better to have all the information available to avoid surprises. Parenthood offers many unique challenges and you want to do your best to make certain that your purchase meets you and your child's needs. Sometimes you may actually need to purchase more than one stroller. Many parents do so for several reasons. Whether you're expecting your first child or your next child, make sure your stroller purchases meet your needs. It's the vehicle your child or children will spend lots of time with. It's the vehicle you'll be handling.





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