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An Urban Parent’s Guide to Buying a Stroller

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By Pamela Weinberg

Newborns and toddlers alike spend many hours in the stroller going to the park, supermarket or window shopping in the neighborhood.  New York City is a walking town, and the stroller is the equivalent of a minivan.

Most parents choose a stroller that has a carriage component to transport their newborns around town.  Once the infant becomes around six months old, or twenty lbs., they can be wheeled around in an “umbrella” stroller, which is much lighter, more portable, and folds easily.

Parents today have a many options when deciding which stroller to purchase.  Here are some points to keep in mind if you will need to buy a stroller:

•    Consider the time of year that your baby is due. “Winter” babies may require a stroller with a boot (an enclosed end) to keep the baby warm in the colder months.  “Summer” babies will not have that requirement, but those parents will need to make sure that their stroller offers adequate sun protection.

•    Take into account where you live. If you live in a doorman building, your doorman will help you maneuver your stroller in and out of your building, and even help you in and out of a taxi.  Living in a brownstone or walk-up?  Consider purchasing a stroller that you will feel comfortable carrying up flights of stairs or one that folds easily.

•    Purchase your stroller from a reputable retailer. Some of the best stroller advice comes from the store owners. They know what works best for the NYC parents, and can answer any questions about which stroller will be best for your particular living situation and usage.  Two stores that are trustworthy are: Albee’s (715 Amsterdam Avenue at 95th Street) and Schneider’s (41 West 25th Street).

•    Some desirable stroller features to look for include: a stroller seat that reclines (a must for newborns), plenty of storage space underneath, brakes on all four wheels, and a handle that reverses to allow baby to face in or out.

Traveling around the streets of New York City is a great way to see what strollers are out there.  One of the most popular for newborns is the car seat/stroller combination, often referred to as the Snap ‘n Go. This invention is brilliant invention as it allows parents to use their car seat as the stroller and snap it onto a stroller base. This makes taking taxis a breeze.  The other popular stroller, the Bugaboo, has taken NYC by storm.  It is a good-looking stroller and rides beautifully.  The downside is that it is expensive and difficult to fold. The Maclaren is the “umbrella” stroller of choice among New York City parents.  It folds easily, weights almost nothing and is extremely durable.  Other popular brands are: Graco, Stokke, Kolcraft, and Peg Perego.

Whatever you chose, take the stroller for a test drive to make sure it is comfortable for you to maneuver.  You are making a purchase that, similar to a minivan, should last a number of years.

Pamela Weinberg is co-author of City Baby, the best-selling NYC parenting guidebook, and runs seminars for new and expectant moms. Her website is www.citybabyny.com.

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