Finding the right umbrella stroller can be like walking a tightrope. Achieving the right balance is harder than it seems. Get a lightweight stroller that’s too simple, and you’ll miss out on a lot of features that make life easier. Get one that’s too fancy, and pretty soon your “convenient” stroller is collecting dust at home in a closet.
Take it Easy
The whole point of an umbrella stroller is that it should be easy to use. Look for a stroller that collapses easily and that will not take up too much space in your trunk. Some strollers offer a one-handed collapsing mechanism; this may be easier in theory than in practice at first, but doing it a few times in your living room before you actually take the baby out in it can help.
Umbrella strollers vary in weight, from as little as nine pounds on up to twenty or more (depending on how you define “umbrella” stroller—some models push the limit). Many lightweight strollers have a carrying handle or strap, which can be a godsend. Pick and choose your extra features carefully; remember that portability is one of the main assets of an umbrella stroller, so don’t let your load get too heavy.
Be sure to consider the weight limit of the stroller itself. If your baby is on the heavier side of the growth chart, you’ll want an umbrella stroller with a higher limit in order to get the most use out of it.
To Basket or Not to Basket?
Some of the least expensive, lightest-weight umbrella strollers don’t have a basket underneath the seat. But even if you are thinking of buying a no-frills umbrella stroller, this is one feature you don’t want to go without. Even the shortest trip can feel like a major expedition when you’re bringing diapers, snacks and toys. Plus, you won’t be tempted to hang your diaper bag off of the stroller handles—an unsafe practice that could easily tip a lightweight stroller. Make sure that you can access the basket while Baby is actually seated in the stroller; otherwise, it’s next to useless.
Sunny Side Up
Choose a stroller with a sun canopy that you can tilt to protect your baby’s skin at different times of the day. If your umbrella stroller has seat that can recline, make sure that sun canopy is adjustable accordingly.
On the Double
Got twins? A double umbrella stroller is a must. These also work well if you have a baby and a toddler, assuming the baby is old enough for riding safely in an umbrella stroller (check the stroller instructions and with your pediatrician to be sure.)
Other Umbrella Stroller Options
Some umbrella strollers come with snack trays, cup holders, foot covers, and armrests. These features can be useful, but decide which ones are most critical to you before you make your purchase. In some cases, a stroller may not come with such accessories, but they can be purchased separately if desired.
Most umbrella strollers are not suitable for young infants; check the manufacturer instructions for recommended age and weight limits as you would for any stroller or baby product, and always follow manufacturer instructions for use. Some umbrella strollers are compatible with a car seat or car seat adapter, making them a good substitute for a travel system if you have a newborn.
Whether you get a simple umbrella stroller with just a few convenient features, or a fully loaded one, you’ll love the ease of having a stroller that you can carry with one hand or leave in your trunk for quick shopping trips.