Baby and You

Buying a pram

Pregnancy shopping. Pregnant woman choosing pram for newborn carriage at baby shop store
Looking for a pram but bewildered by the sheer number of options to chose from? Nat Barnes has the following tips to help you find the perfect pram to suit your needs and your lifestyle without breaking the budget

Pram usage

Your first step is to think where and how you’re going to use the pram. The first thing to know is that not all prams are suitable for newborn babies. As newborn babies can’t support their own weight, you need a pram that can either recline or can convert so that they can lie down. Many actually come with a carrycot or bassinet option.

If you have a car, you should also check if the pram is compatible with your car seat too. While it’s not recommended that babies remain in a car seat for any length of time, travel systems which allow you to slot the car seat into the pram base are a great option if you’re just popping to the supermarket and don’t want to wake them. However, you need to check if they’re compatible with Group 0 or 0+ car seats.

It goes without saying that it’s crucial that both you and your partner try the pram out for size. If there’s a big height difference between you, then an adjustable handle is a must-have and you’ll want to ensure that you don’t catch the pram with your feet when walking.

The same goes for its weight and the folding mechanism. You’re understandably likely to be unfamiliar with it initially as these things always take time, but make sure you continue to try it in the shop to ensure you’re happy. Plus, if you’re going to need to fold it up on a regular basis for storage at home or into a car, then you’ll want it to be reasonably light. You’ll also want a big under-basket if you’re planning on visiting the shops a lot.

Another crucial factor is to buy a pram that boasts a reversible seat and can adapt to your child as they grow. To begin with, you’ll want to be able to keep an eye on your baby with them facing you, but as they grow up, they often want to sit forwards to see where they’re going.

There are a host of other specialist prams on the market too. Whether you’re after a retro look or a pram to run with, one for taking across fields or one for more serious travels, the diverse nature of the market means there will be something out there for you. Just bear in mind that the more specific your list of needs, the less choice you’re likely to have.

Bear in mind too that most brands will also have a range of optional extras to choose from, from cup holders, to blackout blinds to help your child sleep, so it’s possible to adapt your choice accordingly.

PRAM SAFETY TIPS

• Make sure that any pram you’re buying meets with British Safety Standards 7409:1996 or the later BS 1888:2003 – look for the label.

• Try and buy a pushchair with a five-point harness that goes over the shoulders, round the waist and between the legs.

• Be careful not to hang too much shopping on the back of the pushchair as it might become unstable or tip over.

• All prams and pushchairs have a weight limit, so make sure you check what it is before buying to ensure you get a long life from it.

• When buying secondhand, make sure that all of the pram’s functions, brakes and wheels work properly, plus that the frame is in a good condition.

The right price
Then there’s the thorny subject of budget. Spending more than £1000 and beyond is all too easy (yes, really), with many pram manufacturers now producing limited edition models with designer brands.

The good news though is that you don’t have to break the bank and plenty of budget options are always available. Alternatively, if you’ve set your heart on a particular model, then check out auctions and secondhand sites online as there’s likely to be plenty for sale. Just be sure when buying secondhand that the frame and wheels are in good condition, that any travel systems are complete and also that the brakes work and the harnesses all clip together correctly. Don’t be afraid of asking the owner questions about its history ( just like buying a car) and if you’re not sure, just walk away – there will always be others to choose from.

But whether you get your pram new or used, choose to splash the cash or buy on a budget, taking your time and thinking about your needs beforehand should see you get a pram that will last and serve you well.

PUSHCHAIR DEFINITIONS

Buggies, strollers, prams and pushchairs – all different words for essentially the same thing, but here’s a few official definitions for you:

PRAMS – these are generally for younger babies and newborns while they’re lying down. While solid, often they can’t fold down too much and aren’t as practical for more general everyday use.

STROLLERS – usually lightweight and collapsible, handy for older babies and when travelling.

PUSHCHAIRS – a combination of both pram and stroller, these are suitable for both newborns, enabling them to lie flat and also older babies who will be able to fit facing backwards or forwards. They can fold flat and are often quite sturdy.

BUGGIES – a frequently used alternative name for a pushchair or stroller.

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