When I was preparing for Rosalie’s arrival I found choosing my pram to be one of the hardest baby related decisions I had to make – not least because of the expense – but also because you are trying to decide on the practical aspects of something that you aren’t doing yet! And there is just so much choice.
Although it can be helpful to speak to other mums and get their recommendations, ultimately the travel system that is right for one person’s lifestyle might not suit another’s. So I have put together some advice on how to go about making this difficult choice.
Identify your needs
As for many things in my life, I turned to a trusty spreadsheet to help me out. But first I asked myself a series of questions; you should ask yourself these questions too:
What terrain will you be mostly pushing it on? e.g. pavements, gravel, off-road.
Do you want solid or pneumatic wheels?
Will you be walking with it or also wanting to jog?
Do you want 3 wheels or 4?
Do you want a detachable carrycot?
Are you hoping to use the carrycot in place of a moses basket for overnight sleeping?
Do you want to be able to fix a car seat onto the wheels?
Do you want something light weight because you travel by public transport?
Do you need to be able to fold it up with one hand?
Will you need a big shopping basket?
Would you like the choice of a parent facing as well as forward facing seat?
Do you need to be able to fit the system into your car?
Next I set up a spreadsheet with the following columns; you could do the same:
Pram make and model
Suitable from birth (lie flat)
Number of wheels
Type of wheels
Parent facing seat option
Basic price (chassis & pushchair seat)
Cost of carrycot
Cost of car seat
Car seat adapters – included or extra cost
Total cost for system
Compatible with maxi cosi (the car seat I had chosen)
Dimensions (folded and un-folded)
Use your spreadsheet to rule out those systems that don’t suit your needs. Once you have a shortlist, read some reviews to see what other mums have to say. You might find a broad spectrum of both satisfied and dis-satisfied owners, so try to average out the opinions – if many people are reporting a similar issue then it’s worth taking into consideration.
My top 5 tips for going pram shopping:
1. Do as much research online beforehand so you are armed with all the facts (in a spreadsheet!).
2. Make sure you spend time trying out all the pram functions – pushing it, collapsing it, lifting it, removing the seat, adjusting the handle height, fixing the car seat etc. – on several different makes and models.
3. Don’t be afraid to spend a long time, and ask the staff questions if you need to.
4. Check the travel system will fit in your car boot – this is very important!
5. Get the best price by shopping around, bearing in mind places such as John Lewis price match; and not forgetting to include the cost of accessories, such as rain cover, parasol and foot muff.