buyers guide pushchairs

Everything you need to know about pushchairs & travel

Pushchairs, baby prams, travel systems, 3 wheeler pushchairs… it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices. And it’s true, there’s a huge amount of choice, but baby wheels needn’t be daunting. This buying guide makes it – almost - as easy as a walk in the park.

A few starter tips…

  • all our Kiddicare stores have try-before-you-buy tracks. Take those baby wheels for a spin!
  • remember to read our customers’ reviews of all our travel systems. Good, honest advice from parents who’ve bought them & rated them
  • always go pushchair shopping with your partner to check you’re both comfortable with handle height and legroom (legroom for you not baby!)
  • occasionally – just occasionally - wheels go a little bit wonky. If it happens we offer a replacement & repair service (and a courtesy pushchair if there’s one free)

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU & YOUR BABY

Choosing the right pushchair is all about complementing the way you live.

Do you travel by public transport? If buses, trains and tubes are big in your life pick a pushchair with maximum nippiness; one that’s light, compact and folds easily like a buggy or stroller. Bear in mind though baby needs to lie flat for the first six months so you’ll need to choose a full recline model.

Do you travel by car? If so car boot space is a great starting point – compare the folded dimensions of pushchairs and prams with the size of your boot. If you’re coming to one of our stores we’ll do that bit for you! You’ll be needing a car seat too so think about a multi-function system that combines car seat and pushchair: either a 3-in-1 or a travel system.

Will you be walking a lot? A great way to get about, but you’ll need a sturdy pushchair that’s up to the job. Where will you be walking? If you’re navigating busy high streets and curbs, swivel wheels are best. Planning some off-road adventures? Fixed wheels will glide easily over rough terrain. For added versatility, some pushchairs offer both options. And bear in mind that uneven surfaces mean a bumpy ride for baby so pneumatic air tyres and an adjustable suspension system with shock absorber are recommended.

Do you have steps or stairs? Don’t forget that you’ll probably have baby in one arm, pushchair in another (bag over your shoulder, keys in your mouth…) so lightweight and collapsible are key considerations.

Short on storage space? If you live in a flat a compact, folding pushchair that can stand in a corner will be a lot less cumbersome than a sturdy 3-in-1.

Is space not an issue? A travel system that includes a carrycot would be a good choice so you won’t have to disturb a blissful baby when returning home.

Is your baby brand new to the world? If so your newborn needs to lie flat. Make sure your pushchair has a lie-back facility or choose a pram or pushchair/carrycot cot combo instead. And as a new parent, you may never want to take your eyes off your precious little bundle. Many pushchairs have fully reversible seat units so baby can face you…. or the big wide world.

Are you planning on using this pushchair for another baby? Now we appreciate that baby-making might not be top of your priority list right now (!) but if you are thinking of extending your family it’s worth investing in a sturdy model that will go the distance.

WHICH FEATURES TO CHOOSE?

With so many models and so many features it can feel a bit overwhelming but by figuring out which features you need so we can start narrowing your search. It’s a good idea to make a handy checklist of your must-haves:

  • multi-position seat recline - remember newborns have to lie flat
  • reversible seat so baby can face you or face forwards
  • carrycot or car seat options
  • one-hand folding – a godsend on public transport
  • freestanding when folded
  • adjustable footrest to grow with baby
  • lightweight
  • lockable swivel wheels or fixed wheels
  • pneumatic air tyres for rough terrain
  • adjustable handle height
  • shopping basket
  • bumper bar for extra protection
  • carry handle
  • adjustable suspension/shock absorber
  • handbrake
  • removable & washable accessories eg footmuff & hood

PUSHCHAIRS

The definition of ‘pushchair’ is a loose one – it pretty much covers everything from strollers to prams - but if you think of it as the buggy’s big brother you’re on the right track. A classic pushchair is a great all-rounder: sturdy, comfy and generally suitable from birth to 3 years. Most but not all have lie-back seat unit, some have a reclining bucket seat.

TRAVEL SYSTEMS

Or in other words: the all-in-one package. These flexible combination models come with a pushchair chassis and car seat or a pushchair, car seat and carrycot.

Baby travel systems are a great choice for drivers, the car seat simply clips on to the chassis and off you go, with your sleeping beauty still sleeping. (Remember that babies shouldn’t sleep in a car seat for longer than two hours; little backs need to straighten out). A travel system can cost a little more money, but it makes budgeting sense as you won’t be needing a separate car seat.

By their very nature travel systems tend to be bigger than regular pushchairs so if you’re visiting us in-store we’ll check it fits your car boot plus we’ll fit the car seat. But to get started, take a look at our travel system range.

2-IN-1 & 3-IN-1 PRAM/PUSHCHAIR COMBOS

Don’t be put off by the jargon, these are simply combination systems:

2-in-1s

A hybrid set of wheels that combines a traditional ‘pram’ and pushchair. Babies lie flat for the first six months or so then, when they can support their heads, the pram converts to a pushchair. A great option from birth to 3 years.

3-in-1s

Like a 2-in-1 but with a separate carrycot. The beauty of these combination systems is that the carrycot detaches from the base giving your child somewhere familiar to sleep. In fact some models can even replace the need for a separate Moses basket, but not all, so please check the spec.

Some 3-in1 combination systems also add a car seat to the equation so you get the flexibility of a full travel system.

3 WHEEL PUSHCHAIRS

With their streamlined urban styling 3 wheeler pushchairs look undeniably cool. But it’s not just an aesthetics thing. They’re also ideal if you live near the countryside or beach, or if you’re planning lots of off-roading. Many 3 wheeler pushchair models come with pneumatic air tyres that make light work of tough terrain.

A 3 wheeler is also the perfect choice if you’re planning to join a buggy workout or power pramming group. Do look out for a model with good suspension though so baby has a comfy ride. If you’re planning on car journeys go for a model with car seat adaptors and quick release wheels for maximum compactness.

It’s worth noting that not all 3 wheelers are suitable from birth, some are recommended for use from 6 months.

TWINS, TANDEMS, DOUBLES & TRIPLES

Blessed with two little cherubs? Whether you have newborn twins or a baby and toddler in the equation, you’ll need a travel solution that makes life easy.

The difference between doubles and tandems? Double pushchairs sit side by side while tandem pushchairs are one in front of the other. Both have their bonuses; with a double pram or pushchair your little ones can keep each other company while a tandem means less width (we all know how narrow some pavements and shop aisles can be – never a problem in our Kiddicare superstores though!) Love the urban good looks of three wheels? We have a range of 3 wheeler twin pushchairs, ideal for town or country.

Most but not all models are suitable for newborn babies (some doubles don’t have full recline) but all have individually adjustable seats and some have individually adjustable footrests. And lots come with carrycot and car seat options for travel system flexibility.

And if you have three? A triple buggy with a gold parenting star for you! Our own Kiddicare triple pushchairs come highly recommended by childminders and parents alike.

PRAM & PUSHCHAIR ACCESSORIES

Pushchair and pram accessories get the most out of your baby travel system while making life easier for you. Check which accessories come with your pushchair package. If they’re included, great! If not, we’ve got plenty to choose from:

Parasols & sun protection

Sunhats have a habit of not staying on for long so sun protection is a must for your little one. Choose from flexible arm parasols or mesh sunshades that fit over the full length of your pushchair.

Pushchair raincovers

A soggy baby isn’t a happy baby so protection from sudden downpours is an essential. Lots of pushchair packages include a raincover but if yours doesn’t we sell universal ones. Some models have SPF protection and some come with storage cases too. Just remember to remove a PVC raincover when it’s sunny to keep your little one safe.

Pushchair footmuffs

When temperatures dip your little one will thank you for the extra warmth and snugness of a padded footmuff. Many unzip to leave a comfy pushchair liner.

Pushchair travel bags

Now this is a good idea. A sturdy travel bag to protect your pushchair from scratches and marks when travelling or storing.

Baby bags

Nappies, wipes, change mat, bottles… all those on-the-move essentials need a smart carrying solution. From coordinating changing bags complete with PVC change mat to double buggy bags that fit aside a stroller, we have the perfect bag for you.

Ride on boards

Little legs get tired so if your toddler is dawdling on the school run this is a perfect buy. Buggy boards attach to the chassis and are suitable for children aged 2-5 weighing up to 20kg. Not all ride on boards fit all pushchair models so if you’re considering buying a Lascal buggyboard please check it fits by visiting www.buggyboard.info.

Extra accessories

Cup holders, bag hooks, head support cushions, bumper bars, baby weights to counterbalance the weight of shopping bags, buggy liners for extra comfort… there’s a whole host of clever additions to make your baby travel system work harder for you.

TRAVEL COTS FOR TOTS (AND BABIES)

Will you be making lots of overnight trips to cot-free homes or hotels? We ask because sometimes parents buy a baby travel cot and find it only gets used a handful of times. If, however, you’re planning lots of visiting it’s a great addition to your kit list.

Most travel cots have a plastic or metal frame, woven mesh sides and a hard base with a folding, lightly padded mattress. They use a central locking system that holds the sides and base rigid.

If you’re travelling with a newborn choose a travel cot a bassinet or raised mattress (alternatively take your Moses basket with you). From six months a standard travel cot can be used. Weight-wise they go up to either 9kg or 15kg.

It’s also worth noting that travel cot mattresses tend to be quite thin so lots of parents buy a separate travel mattress for additional comfort. They come in different sizes so be sure to check and double-check again!

CARRIERS & SLINGS

Closeness to mum and dad is essential for a growing baby but you’re a busy parent so holding your baby in your arms for hours – however lovely – isn’t a reality! Cue: carriers and slings. They make light work of baby-carrying and leave your hands free while you go about your day.

During the early months your choices are either a traditional front carrier or a baby sling. The second stage carriers – when baby has developed head and neck control - include backpacks and hip seats.

Front baby carriers

The popular choice; baby sits in a cushioned support facing your chest until head and neck control is developed, then faces outwards with the head support folded down. Some front carriers convert to rear carrying for maximum flexibility.

Baby slings

Ideal for breastfeeding mums, slings let you carry your baby in a hammock position and have adjustable straps to fit all shapes.

Rear baby carriers

Most of our rear baby carriers are suitable for use from six months and have support frames to evenly distribute the weight of your travelling companion.

Hip seats

Endorsed by chiropractors, our hip seats are suitable for children aged 6 months to 3 years. They secure round your waist keeping your child’s head level with your shoulders or chest, giving a great view of the world while keeping close to you.


©Kiddicare 2014

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