Monday, March 30, 2015

Choosing a Stroller: One Mom's Search

As a first time, parent stroller shopping can be incredibly intimidating, overwhelming and frustrating. So many companies to research, options to choose from, fabrics for genders, safety concerns, lifestyle and many more factors that will weigh heavily on your mind when trying to decide which stroller is for right for you and your growing family! Thanks to my trip to Active Baby on Lonsdale Avenue, I learned about all the options, some of the companies and felt much more comfortable making  a better informed choice.

We learned about foam filled tires vs  air filled tires. We learned about the Patented Quick Fold Technology that Baby Jogger has, which allows you to fold the stroller in one quick easy step. We took the Bugaboo for a test drive to see if the Dutch designed, aesthetically pleasing bassinets did indeed actually make the ride as enjoyable as others. Then there was the Peg Perego strollers, which I'd seen more of than Bugaboo but Peg Perego Strollers were always said to be one that you could use from infancy to the toddler years. One of the highlights of this stroller is the easy fold and the ability to easily reverse the seat.

When Ava was  born, we had a second-hand  stroller/carseat combo and unfortunately due to an airline mishap, we ended up having to replace our stroller at the beginning of one of our vacations. Hastily, I made some car seat purchases that did not fit our family. I strongly believe, that before ANYTHING else, you must shop for your lifestyle, not for what other mommies have, or what the stroller looks like, and I can see that now, the second time around.

Mind you, I am aware that technology has changed a lot since Ava was a wee babe, but we did the car seat combo; we did the umbrella stroller, and the "jogging" stroller and at that time, there was not a single stroller that spoke correctly to our lifestyle and our needs. 

The Umbrella was too short and too flimsy, the carseat/stroller combos were never a smooth ride, as the front wheels are usually foam filled, rather than air filled, and found that the jogging stroller was too big for our life, from not fitting into the trunk to not fitting in isles of stores.

Now we are in the market for a new stroller and thought this time around; we go into a smaller independent store to actually learn and make the correct decision. We'd driven by Active Baby on Lonsdale a few times, and it seemed like the right place to start. We were greeted by several lovely sales associates and the owner. We began speaking with Elina about the large selection they had.

With roughly 14 strollers on hand from several different companies, there was a lot of information to learn, and thankfully they have very educated staff on hand that speak from experience! We learned about all the newest technologies that were not yet around/perfected as when we initially looked for strollers back in 2008/2009.

We fell in love with the Thule Urban Glide and as Elina showed us all of the features, it was hard not to imagine all the activities that we could use this stroller for. One of the things that immediately caught our attention was the weight. At a light 23lbs, this stroller is incredibly easy to maneuver. All of the features of this stroller just fit us so perfectly, the rear suspension gives a smooth, comfortable ride, which means every bump we hit on the way to and from Ava's school won't wake up Zoe.

The Ergonomic handlebar means that my husband at 6'0"  can set it at a comfortable height for him, and my 6 year old can also lower it to her height. Everyone can push the stroller, especially with it being so lightweight. The seating in this stroller allows for it to recline to near flat position for on-the- go naps. The final two features are the canopy overhead, which comes down almost half way to block the sun, half the times the canopy on other strollers provides very little sun protection. It also has a large storage compartment with zippered water resistant cover, which is perfect for "raincouver"

So at the end of this trip, we took away a lot of valuable information and learned about so many strollers, but most importantly I learned about the importance of choosing a stroller for your life, your family and your needs. It's very easy to fall victim to purchasing a stroller because of the way it looks, or the other moms who use it, or what having that stroller might say about you! I spent a long time watching moms with certain strollers and hoping that I could have one for my second pregnancy and truth be told, after testing it out, it just wouldn't have been the right stroller for us!

If you're in the market and truly want to learn about the different strollers, features and shop in a no-pressure family-run  environment than Active Baby is the best place to start. They have a wide variety of brands and options to help any family make the most educated and informed decisions on any baby product that you invest in.

Checkout our Urbanbaby & Toddler UrbanGuide Sponsored by Active Baby on page 28-29 of the Spring 2015 magazine for more information about choosing the best stroller for your family. 

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