Saturday, January 7, 2012

What to look for in a jogging stroller.

I think I've come to realize that a lot of jogging strollers are created similar, and it just depends on which one is right for you, your family and your budget! Another running mother was just asking for advice on this and I thought I'd write a more detailed examination of what to look for when picking out a jogging stroller. I have a Red (Single) Baby Jogger which I love and a Blue Double Running Room stroller. My favourite part about the baby jogger, is that you can attached a holder for a baby car seat so I had my babies in it since she was 6 weeks old. I can honestly say that if I could go back in time to before Lillian I would NOT buy an everyday stroller and would just buy my jogging stroller. Granted the basket is smaller, but that's what backpacks are for!

Cecilia with the baby jogger with car seat bar (left), Me with double with toddler (right).
The following are all things to consider and test out when you'll look for a jogging stroller, ESPECIALLY when you plan to use it as your everyday stroller in addition to running. Please note, that I AM NOT an EXPERT in any way shape or form and this is just my opinion. Though, I do own four strollers so I have pushed my share of strollers around (single jogging, double jogging, umbrella and Graco travel system).

1. Age of baby
You should know that most sites I've read recommend you not put little babies in jogging strollers. They typically recommend you wait until a baby is 6 - 9 months old. So if your plan is to use this as your only stroller, you'll want to pick a stroller that has an accessory to allow an infant car seat to be attached to the stroller. Sadly, these typically cost extra. These can also have an effect on whether the covers fit on the stroller so if you run in an area with bad weather you may need another cover. The reason that babies shouldn't go in is that they lack the head control that is needed when bouncing around in the stroller. Also, check the weight limit on your stroller as they can vary by a lot and if you plan to use it for a long time, height in the stroller or weight limits will come up.

2. Height of handlebar and distance to back (leg issues)
I'm short (5'4") so most are fine for me, but my husband is (5'10") and he can find the height of the bar is awkward and ends up running hunched. Also, make sure you have enough room to really get your legs moving between you and the back of the stroller. If it's not far enough you could end up smacking the back of the stroller which won't be fun for you or the baby.

3. Does it have a custom cover/accessories
I have one stroller (baby jogger) and it has a cover that fits perfectly, and another stroller that doesn't have its own accessories so I have to adjust my current cover to fit it. This means sewing, gluing, etc... and while that's fun it would nicer to just buy one to fit it perfectly and never worry about it again. The same goes for extras like baby seat bars, extra adjustable straps, etc...

Both girls in the double stroller.
4. Size of your car
This one is SO important. You have to collapse your stroller (the way you expect to usually collapse it - meaning if all wheels come off but you know you'll NEVER take them all off then test it with the wheels on) and see if it actually fits. If you drive a mini-van you're good to go, but we drive a Matrix so I had to make sure that they fit, and we can only get 1 stroller in the car at a time.

5. Easy to collapse/open
My hubby is a bit paranoid so he is always worried that you can collapse the stroller while the baby is sitting in it. So make sure you know how many things you have to do in order to close or lock open your stroller. For us the single requires two snaps and a pull of a handle while the double needs a pin lock, and a push lock. You also, need to test how easy it is to open. I will say though that it really took a long time to figure out how to open the double stroller and even now some days it just makes me mad when I can't open it first try, but honestly the double stroller CAN NOT be opened while holding a baby but the single one can. If you plan to use it a lot you'll need to test this one handed because babies need to be snuggled and you may try to to do it one armed.

6. Wheels, wheels, wheels
My husband said that he prefers the front wheel to lock (go straight) while I prefer a 360 degree swivel, so an adjustable one keeps everyone happy. You also, need to look at the wheels on the stroller. Do you want hard ones, or pumped wheels? Pumped make the ride softer for baby, and in the case of snow (like we have in Waterloo) it helps to slice through the snow. If you go with pump up tires, make sure you examine where pump up tubes (yes I'm a girl - Steve says it's a valve stem) stick out. We had one stroller that actually required us to buy a new tire pump to be able to pump them up, which was pretty sucky. Removable wheels are also a major plus, as I note in #4.
  
7. Size of basket
This one is a biggie. If it's your everyday stroller make sure you think over how much you plan to use it and get a basket that is big enough. Remember you may be going places with that massive diaper bag and your purse, in addition to wanting to buy things. It's hard to pick up your groceries when your basket is already filled with random baby items. Also, remember that hanging too much on the handlebar of the stroller can be really dangerous and result in tipping, especially since jogging strollers are often very light weight, more so than a standard stroller.

8. Width of stroller
This is really important if you plan to use the stroller everyday. My single is narrow and can go anywhere, while my double is a beast and doesn't fit through standard doorways, thought it JUST makes it through the doors at my Starbucks (thank goodness). Also the width can effect how you do your errands. For example during Christmas shopping there were stores I could NOT go into because the displays were so close together I couldn't fit the stroller in the path. So that was a major bummer.

Lillian in the baby jogger with her awesome sun roof.
9. Replacement parts
It's a sad fact that things break over time so it's good to go with a brand that has a good warranty or one that is able to get you replacement parts. If you just buy one off the shelf at a local store, that doesn't have anything like that, you may end up replacing the whole stroller just because one part broke and honestly this society throws enough stuff away, let's not extend that to strollers!

10. Extra needed features
If you want a stroller that can hook up to a bike, you will be limited to ones that can do that. If you run on trails you'll want larger wheels and springs to handle that extra stuff on the route. Same if you live in really cold areas, you want to make sure it can handle snow and salt on the gears. Some strollers have nice features for the baby. Our double stroller has cup holders for sippie cups, and a mesh bag area that holds my ipod with a mini speaker to play music to the girls while I run.

11. Safety notes
Make sure that the stroller has a good sun shade. My baby jogger is a dome cover, while my double is just a pull out one, which my toddler pushes back. It's also good to check if that stroller has a safety strap. They are a pain to always have to wear, but they keep the stroller from taking off if you fall, and they help keep it from tipping if you pull sharply (when it's hooked to the bottom NOT the top handlebar).

12. Single vs. DoubleThis might seem funny to consider but if you buy a single jogging stroller and then have another baby pretty quickly after your first (mine are only 19 months apart) you'll need to upgrade to a double stroller, and you may not get as much back for your single as you planned on. So if you know you want a second baby ASAP after your first, look into the double strollers that can also hold just one kid. Not all of them are capable of this, and not all of them can hold a new born but if you plan to expand your family quickly you could save yourself some expense but getting your second stroller first. Plus the larger basket is always a nice feature.

Lillian can even push the double stroller! She doesn't care that she can't see where she's going.
Please know that I am not trying to sell anyone on a particular brand of stroller. I just happen to have the running room and baby jogger. I just hope that this article helps you to figure out what stroller works best for you and saves someone the money of buying both an everyday and jogging stroller and regretting it (like we did).

13 comments:

  1. I posted this on the WW board as a GSO to you, but I'm wondering what type of treadmill you have and if you find it sturdy for regular running? I'm hoping to buy one soon and am looking for suggestions from runners like you.

    I love your blog! :-)

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  2. YES! This is exactly what I've been thinking about. I've been scouring reviews and books and websites figuring out which stroller is best for me and I found one (Mountain Buggy Terrain) that has an adjustable handlebar (I'm 5'9", husband is 6'5"), locked vs swivel front wheel, and CAN be used for an infant as it lies flat (although no running with her till head control = 6 months)

    I will NOT be buying an additional stroller as too much stuff gives me major anxiety! :)

    Awesome review.

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  3. Thanks for writing this. I really feel as though I know so much more about stroller reviews than I did before. Your blog really brought some things to light that I never would have thought about before reading it. You should continue this, I'm sure most people would agree with me.

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  4. Thanks for sharing this!!! actually I also think about to buy the stroller hooks and the stroller hook review that is given in this blog help me to select the best hook for my child so thanks again!!!!

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  5. Choosing a stroller hook
    for the baby is really difficult because we have lots if work to do so we get confused that which kind of stroller we must choose if we go for jogging or working at home.

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  6. Thanks for the info! Do you happen to know if the double has a buyable attachment for an infant seat?? I'm trying to buy a used stroller but the seller doesn't have the attachment and I can't find anything online...my baby is due in 6 weeks and my son will only be 14 months old...would REALLY like to be able to use the stroller this summer!
    Thanks

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  7. http://fit4mom.com/latest/blog/safe-strides-jogging-stroller-safety-tips

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  8. Hmm these things are really necessary which you have told to pick a stroller.
    best double jogging stroller

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  9. Very Nice and Informative blog for parents! Yes, Alice you are right it is very important that you should check each and every thing before buying a baby strollers. Also jogging strollers are helpful for parents to keep their fitness.

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