Buyer's Guide to Baby Travel Products
At Prestige Prams, we want to make sure that you get the best buggy to suit your needs. This guide provides all the information you require to get the best pram for your newborn, best pushchair from birth or for older children. We’ll also help you distinguish between the best strollers for your toddler.
Firstly, here is an overview of the main types of product available to you:
- Pram: These are designed for newborn babies and enable them to lie flat which is essential for breathing and healthy spinal development.
- Pushchair: A pushchair is for babies that are old enough to sit upright. They often come as either a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 with the latter including the capability to attach a car seat as well as a carrycot and pushchair element. These are also known as Baby Travel Systems.
- Stroller: These are buggies intended primarily for toddlers. They are typically lightweight and easily folded which mean they can also be a convenient alternative to pushchairs in certain situations for younger children as well.
- 3-Wheeler: Ideally suited to various types of terrain from urban streets to off roading in the countryside or on a beach. They are also easier to manoeuvre than four wheeled buggies.
- Joggers: These are intended for taking your baby when you are out running. They are usually big, strong wheeled buggies that suit babies beyond 9 months old.
- Doubles & Tandems: These are designed to carry two babies. They come in a variety of configurations including side by side, stacked and front / rear facing.
- Triples: Similar to doubles except they accommodate three children instead of two.
- Buggy: This is a generic term used to describe prams or pushchairs.
Let’s look at each of these in turn and their key features.
Prams are perfect for newborns as they enable your baby to lie flat on their back and sleep while they travel. A lie flat position is very important for newborns to ensure healthy spine development and it also gives them a view of you to keep them feeling settled and safe. This stops your baby from feeling unsure about travelling and visiting new faces and places. It also helps forge a better bond between baby and parent.
They typically cannot be folded which can make it more difficult to transport by car or on public transport than a pushchair with a detachable carrycot.
A pushchair enables your baby to sit upright and get a view of the world. They can be used when your baby is old enough to hold their head unsupported which is usually from around 4 to 6 months. Pushchairs are frequently very flexible with 2-in-1 systems and 3-in-1 systems that can be used from birth to when a child is a toddler. An example of a 3-in-1 system is shown below. These are sometimes known as Baby Travel Systems and give you the flexibility of different uses with just one unit.
A 2-in-1 pushchair comes with a carrycot to enable you to lie your newborn flat then converts into a pushchair for older babies once they can sit upright or for toddlers. They are foldable without having to remove the carrycot. This makes it easier for them to be transported than a traditional pram. However, being unable to detach the carrycot means you cannot move a sleeping baby without taking them out of it.
A 3-in-1 provides the functions of a 2-in-1 but also includes a car seat which can be easily clipped into the frame in place of the carrycot or pushchair seat. They provide great flexibility and also can typically be used from birth to approximately 2 years old. Some will include a car seat and some will require a separate purchase.
The downside to a 3-in-1 is that they are typically more expensive than other pushchairs but this is offset by not needing to purchase a separate car seat.
All pushchairs can also be reclined and folded up although some may still be quite difficult to fit into a car boot or on public transport. Storage is provided at the base of the pushchair for essentials like a changing bag and shopping.
From age 2 onwards you may wish to invest in a stroller which are more suited to toddlers.
Sometimes known as a buggy, although this can also be applied to pushchairs, strollers are perfect for toddlers although many people buy them for younger children too.
The key attraction is that they are lightweight and easily folded. This means they are much more convenient when stowing them in a car boot, taking them on public transport or storing them in your house. Strollers are by far and away the lightest form of baby transport, meaning they’re good for a light walk or a stroll. They are also usually cheaper than pushchairs so many parents purchase a stroller as well as their pushchair, particularly if they are traveling abroad with their baby.
Some strollers are suitable from birth but they often don’t lie flat or nearly flat which is a key requirement for newborns. So many strollers are only suitable from about 6 months onwards. Many also lack some features you get from pushchairs like adding a carrycot, car seat or multi-directional seat.
Whilst there won’t be as much storage as a pushchair it can be useful to look for an under-seat basket or seat-back pockets.
Generally they tend to have smaller wheels which are more suited to an urban environment so keep this in mind when considering what you will be using it for.
The main reason for purchasing a 3-wheeler is that they are very versatile and can cope with the urban environment or off-roading. This makes exploring the countryside or heading to the beach easy without needing to invest in another pushchair or stroller. If you like to get out and about then a 3-wheeler is a likely to be a good fit for you. The other major benefit of using a 3-wheeler is that they are very easy to manoeuvre.
Unlike some lightweight strollers or pushchairs a 3-wheeler is stable enough to hang bags from meaning it suits shopping trips as well as picnics in the country. If you do plan on taking it out of urban environment then you should select a model with air filled (or pneumatic) tyres. These models are often referred to as ‘all terrain’ pushchairs or ATPs. They typically have a swiveling front wheel which can be locked in place to provide more stability for trips over rougher terrain.
If you do want to explore the great outdoors check that the fabric can be easily cleaned as it is likely to get dirty. Larger wheels are also beneficial as they provide a better suspension.
Some models are designed to be used in an urban environment and these usually feature moulded wheels. These are not suited to ‘all terrain’ use though.
If you plan to purchase a 3-wheeler for a newborn check to see whether it is suitable for this purpose as not all enable a lie-flat position or can be adapted to carry a car seat or carrycot.
Not all 3-wheelers enable your baby to face you either so this should be checked if this would be your preference.
They are also typically bulkier than 4-wheeled models even when folded so it is important to ensure you have enough storage space and can fit it in your car boot if required. Some feature a quick-release front wheel which make them easier to store.
If you plan to go jogging with your baby there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. Firstly, it is recommended that babies should be able to sit up and hold their head before you start running with them so typically this would be from around 6 months onwards.
Purchasing a stroller designed for running should be a priority if you will be doing it regularly. Typically these are similar to 3-wheelers in that they need a good suspension, are capable of handling varying terrain and are easy to maneouvre. Wheel sizes should be 16 inches or larger and your front wheel should be locked in place if it swivels.
Stability and comfort for your baby is crucial so you need to make sure your buggy has a suitable suspension and shock absorption. Some 3-wheelers come with adjustable suspensions designed for this purpose. In addition, try to buy a buggy with a handbrake and sun screen when running on sunny days. A wrist strap that attaches you to the handlebars is also recommended.
Doubles, Tandems & Triples
If you have a growing family then you’ll likely need to consider buying a double, tandem or triple buggy. Double pushchairs have seats for two babies side-by-side. Typically they are suitable for use from birth and can be a good choice if you’re having twins. Tandem pushchairs are designed with one seat stacked on top of the other. They are usually best suited to people that have children of different ages as typically only one seat can be used from birth with the other intended for toddlers.
Some single pushchairs can also be adapted with a clip on second seat so bear this in mind if you are planning to another child in the next few years.
Triples are similar to doubles except they accommodate three children instead of two.
When you’re purchasing a double, tandem or triple make sure the pushchair will fit in your car boot and there is enough space to store it at home. Most doubles are also quite heavy at between 12kg to 15kg so you need to be able to lift it.
Things to Consider When Making Your First Purchase
To recap here are a few questions you should be asking yourself when making your purchase:
- Do you want their pram or pushchair to accommodate them until they are a toddler? If so, a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 might be the best investment as a classic pram will only accommodate your baby up to 6 months.
- How much storage space do you have? Will your preferred model fit in your boot or on public transport?
- Is there enough storage space for a changing bag, shopping or anything else you might need to carry?
- Is it reversible so your baby can face you or forward? There is a huge debate on whether front or rear facing is best. There are many models that allow you to change the direction your baby faces so take this into account if this matters to you.
- Will your family be expanding? Do you need a single pushchair, a double or a single that can be adapted to double?
- Is it appropriate for the environment you will be using it in? If you are off-roading an ‘all terrain’ or 3-wheeler would be most appropriate.
- Is it portable enough to take on holiday or you need a lightweight stroller as well?
- Are you going to be exercising with your baby? Do you need a pushchair designed for running?
- Will you and your partner be using the buggy? If so, you’ll probably need a height adjustable handle.
If you take these into account then you can make sure that you buy the best pram, pushchair, stroller or Baby Travel System for your needs.
Finally, once you have picked the right buggy for you the last thing you should consider is what accessories you might require. Some key ones to consider are:
- Rain cover: many prams and pushchairs come with this but if you don’t have one it should be considered an essential.
- Sunshade: to protect your little one from being exposed to the sun.
- Footmuff: to help keep your baby warm when the colder weather settles in.
- Cup holder: so you can get your caffeine fix!
Armed with this information you should be able to make the right choice for you and your baby so you can always travel in style, safety and comfort.