If you're a city dweller who relies on subways, buses, and cabs, you'll need a lightweight but sturdy stroller that folds quickly and is compact. A stroller frame would work well. A stroller with large, air-filled tires, such as an all-terrain or jogging stroller, may be easier to push if you'll be going for long walks your car is big enough to accommodate it, and you can lift it. But these bigger, heavier strollers might be harder to use on public transportation.
Besides being more shock-absorbing, all-terrain and jogging strollers typically have three wheels and a seat that gives your baby more support than a simple umbrella stroller. If you'll be tromping through snow or on unpaved roads or grass, a model with large wheels is a great option. Under those conditions, a stroller with small plastic wheels might be difficult to push. If you want to run, use a jogging stroller only.
If you do have a car, make sure whatever stroller you choose fits inside easily. And give some thought to where you will put it in your house. Do you have the closet space for it, or will it block up a hallway if you have to store it there? A folded stroller in the hall might also be a tipping hazard for a crawling baby.
Stacey Ferguson, an attorney and mother of three is on her fourth stroller. Like many parents, she started with a travel system and later added a lightweight umbrella stroller for easier quick trips. When her second child came along, she got a tandem double stroller; the older child could sit in the front, and the infant could ride in the back, snug in her car seat. By the time her third child came around, stylish modern strollers were everywhere and Ferguson wanted something "cute" and sleek. She shopped around and talked to other moms before settling on a combo model.
We asked Ferguson, who lives in Maryland, what advice she has for parents shopping for a stroller: "Get something that is not so heavy mom can't manage it on her own," she said. "It was important to me to be able to carry the stroller while carrying the diaper bag and carrying my daughter." Ferguson also recommends looking for a stroller you can open and close with one hand. "Most of the time you don't have two hands free," she said. A deep storage basket in her first stroller also made a big difference when she was out running errands. She advises parents to find a stroller that either comes with a car seat (such as a travel system) or is compatible with an infant car seat you already own, "even if it doesn't match, or is not the same brand."
In addition to combos and travel systems, you can buy tandem strollers that hold two children, one behind the other, or side-by-side strollers. Depending on the model and configuration, some of these can be used with children of different ages. You might see strollers with a little platform in the back so an older child can stand up and ride along while a younger sibling is in the stroller seat in front, but we don't recommend these. The standing child could slip or fall.