The Ultimate Pram Buying Guide
Everything you need to know before you buy a pram
First things first. The key to finding the right pram is to understand and prioritise the features that are going to be most important to you. No one pram can be a perfect fit for everyone, but understanding what's going to fit into your lifestyle and make your life with a new bub easier, will go a long way towards finding the perfect fit for you.
We'll take you through the key info you need to know before you buy a pram:
1. Types of Prams and Strollers and the pros and cons of each
2. Key Considerations before you buy, like how you'll be using the pram, future proofing and budget
3. Pram and Stroller Features; what's available, what's a must-have and what you need to be looking for
Types of Prams and Strollers
There's a lot of variety out there in pram-land, which can be both a blessing and a curse. The first point of call will be understanding the different types of baby transport and the pros and cons of each.
Travel systems can be configured for use with a bassinet (0-6 months), stroller seat or infant car capsule (that fits on both your pram and in your car) depending on your need. They can be single prams (like the Babybee ROVER) or have the ability to add a second bassinet or seat (like the Babybee DUO)
Generally, all seating options can face in either direction and the seat typically reclines to 180° flat. They are a great flexible option for new parents who are using a car capsule for their newborn, as well as a bassinet for longer trips in the pram.
They can be used from birth and will last up to 4 years depending on the size of the stroller seat.
They are far sturdier than lightweight prams and offer a smoother ride.
They’re larger in size than most lightweights and can be heavier and less compact when folded.
Often will have smaller seats than fixed seat strollers.
Generally can't be used for jogging/off-road.
Things to check:
Is the bassinet and/or car capsule included?
What car capsules are compatible?
Fixed Seat Strollers
Suitable for children 6 months and up, fixed-seat strollers will generally have the largest seat-size of any stroller model. They are often lighter and more compact than 2-in-1 models when folded and do not require the seat to be removed when folding.
The fixed seat, however, will mean that you miss out on the flexibility and benefits that come with a reversible seat.
Did you know that your baby is more likely to fall asleep in a parent-facing pram than in a forward-facing pram? It's all in the eye contact between parent and baby – this not only strengthens the bond between you and your child, it also makes your baby feel more content and secure.
Some models will have the ability to use a soft-shell bassinet or cocoon or attach a capsule for newborns.
Larger seat back height
Generally more compact fold and lighter weight than travel-systems
Can't reverse the seat or bassinet
Often not suitable for newborn
Things to check:
Can it accommodate a bassinet or cocoon?
What car capsules are compatible (if any)?
There’s no doubt that double prams are a convenient way of transporting two children at once. Especially during a hectic day, the ability to strap both kids into the stroller and get going is priceless. There are many options for two-seater prams and strollers on the market and the first step in starting your research is to narrow down your options by selecting the type of double pram or double stroller that will best suit your family.
Whether you see them referred to as double pram, double pram stroller, double buggy, twin stroller, 2 in 1 double, tandem double pram, side by side stroller or any combination of these, when we break it down there is are two categories: Side-by-side or Tandem.
What's better? Side by side or Tandem Double Prams?
Whether you’d prefer side by side or tandem (in-line) double prams is a matter of personal preference. Below are some key points for consideration.
Side-by-side prams are clearly wider than tandems. Although they can often fit through standard doorways it will be more difficult navigating crowded footpaths, shops and tight spaces.
People are often shocked to hear that side by side strollers are actually easier to manoeuvre than tandems. This is due to the length; the shorter the pram the easier it is to turn. And for the same reason, tandems are also harder (and heavier) to push up curbs.
Most side-by-side strollers have fixed seats that are not reversible. Some are compatible with a soft-shell cocoon or bassinet for newborns and may be compatible with a car capsule. Tandems tend to have more configurations between seats, bassinets and car capsules and are often reversible.
Lightweight and Compact Strollers
Sometimes referred to as "umbrella" strollers, these are the cheapest, most compact and simplest form of stroller. They fold up to resemble a - you guessed it! - umbrella, or compact box perfect for travel. Some are specifically designed for air-travel, folding into a carry-on size or coming withe a protective travel bag or case.
They’re great for quick trips and the car but they’re not going to be as sturdy, comfortable or last as long as other strollers. The fixed seat will only face outward and will not be suitable for newborns.
Things to check:
Seat size and weight limit
Can it be taken on board as a carry-on? Does it come with a travel bag?
Wheel size and suspension - larger wheels mean a smoother ride
Lightweight and Compact Strollers
While 3 wheelers are typically designed for jogging, not all 3 wheel prams are suitable for this type of activity.
If you’re a serious jogger we suggest doing more research, however in general you’ll be looking for;
- Wheels that are further apart
- Air-tyres that are as large as possible
- A lockable front wheel
- A hand brake can also be useful
These prams tend to be wider, longer and heavier than four-wheelers and can also be more prone to tipping, particularly when turning or mounting a curb.
Things to consider before you buy a pram or stroller
Generally 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 travel systems will give you the best flexibility with a bassinet, car capsule or seat option. If purchasing for a newborn, parent facing and a fully flat option are recommend by experts for optimal development.
Some prams and strollers allow a second seat attachment to be added to the frame. Toddler buggy boards or skateboard attachments are another option for your toddler to stand on and ride along behind the pram.
What will you use your pram or stroller for the most? There is no point buying a jogging pram if realistically, you're going running once in a blue moon. The same applies to fixed seat stroller if you're always in the air. Think about the usability of each pram in you're day to day activities - things like frame size/width, weight and flexibility are extremely important to get right.
Set your budget early and don’t be tempted to exceed it. To some extent you’ll get what you pay for, however safe, quality, well-designed prams are becoming increasingly more affordable. If you do spend big, make sure you’re getting all the features on your list and a lengthy warranty.
Pram Features to Look Out For
Most frames are made from aluminum or steel. You can get ultra lightweight plastic frames that are cheaper and great for the beach (won’t rust) however they’re not designed to last.
Seats, bassinets and canopies are typically made using a combination of plastic and fabrics. Fabric type can vary greatly. Most pram and stroller fabrics clean up quite well with a damp cloth. It helps to be able to at least remove parts for easy cleaning if they’re not machine washable. Look for fabrics that feel sturdy. Separate fabric packs allow you to refresh your look and extend life of your pram. Other parts such as handles, latches and buttons will be made from rubber or plastic.
Size & Weight
As a rough guide, most prams and strollers will fit into these weight brackets:
- Lightweight strollers: 3 – 8kg
- 3 or 4 wheel mid – large pram/strollers: 7.5 – 15kg
- Double pram/strollers: 10 – 20kg
Depending on how you plan to use it will determine how important the weight is.
A few things to consider:
- Will it fit through doors or checkouts?
- How important is it that it’s simple to collapse and set it up in a hurry?
- When collapsed is it easy for you to carry?
- And light enough to lift into your car?
- Will the pram fit into the boot of your car?
- Can the handle bar be adjusted to a comfortable height for both parents to use?
Experts recommend the use of bassinets for babies less than 6 months old as the safest travel option for their development and safety. Lying flat ensures your baby’s airways remain clear, reducing the risk of SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death – formerly called SIDS).
A flat, firm surface also allows newborns to stretch out and move freely which is important for both muscle and spinal development (your baby is developing rapidly during this period).
More to think about:
- Is it parent facing? (important for development)
- Does the base of the bassinet have “feet” so that the fabric doesn’t get dirty on the ground?
- Does the bassinet have a carry handle?
- Is it easily removed from the pram frame?
- Does it recline fully flat for sleeping?
- Does it sit fully upright for inquisitive toddlers?
- How tall is the seat? How much headroom is there under the canopy?
- Can the seat or handle be reversed so that the seat can face forwards or backwards?
- Will your child’s feet be far enough away from the ground or front wheels?
- How far can the canopy extend to protect from weather?
- Does the seat have a bumper bar? Great for kids to hang onto, attach toys to and an added safety feature.
- Does the seat have a washable seat liner?
- Does the canopy have a “peekaboo” flap so you can keep an eye on your little one if they’re not facing you?
- The seat weight limit should be at least 15kg
Wheels, breaks and maneuverability
$ Solid EVA:
Light, puncture free wheels made from a rubbery like, plastic. Best suited to even-paved surfaces and indoor floors. The plastic is prone to getting small stones and gravel stuck in or leaving small dents/marks. This won't effect performance it just leaves them looking worn. Found on many cheaper prams and travel strollers.
$$ Solid PU:
Slightly heavier than EVA they are made with a high quality rubber substance which is resistant to small stones and gravel and therefore remain in great condition and also last a lot longer than EVA. The density of rubber can vary from hard to quite spongy (almost mimicking air-tyre cushioning). They can be used on any surface.
$$ Air tyres:
Heavier again than PU, air-filled tyres offer additional cushioning which is great for rough terrain and outdoor exercise. Like bike tyres, they will require the maintenance, pumping-up and may need to have the inner tube (or whole tyre) replaced if punctured.
$$$ Foam filled:
An air tyre filled with foam rather than air. They do not require maintenance but are the heaviest option and typically most expensive.
More to Consider:
- Does the pram or stroller have front swivel wheels to make maneuvering easier? It’s useful if they can be locked when travelling at higher speeds or over rough terrain to avoid what’s known an “wheel shudder”.
- Large rear wheels tend to be better on kerbs.
- Is the rear brake easily accessible and easy to use? Linked brakes allow both wheels to brake with a single action rather than individually.
- Front brakes are particularly handy with a reversible handle so you have a brake on both sides.
- Hand brakes will be convenient for jogging prams.
Does the pram have adequate storage space for your needs? How big is the basket and what is the weight limit? Is it easily accessible from the front, back or sides of the pram? Look for additional pockets or handle bar organisers.
Pram Safety Standards
Always look for strollers and prams certified to the Australian standard, AS/NZS 2088 and look at the date at the end of that number (the most current is 2013).
Some key things to check:
- The mechanism that activates the brake is red.
- A tether strap is attached to the handlebar that allows the pusher of the pram to be tethered to it whilst in use.
- Seats which recline more than 150° require a head barrier of some sort.
- Does the canopy offer a reasonable amount of shade?
Ready to stroll!
With so many options out there, buying a pram or stroller can seem daunting to say the least! We recommend having a think about what features are must have vs nice to have, and setting your budget early.
With a bit of research, we know you'll find the perfect pram for you and your family!
If you have any questions about buying a pram (or anything at all), you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.