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The Best Pram Buying Guide from the mind of a Stroller Designer

by Mark Edwards 06 May 2024

I think about prams all the time.  I think about cool features we could add, improvements we could make or fun designs we can do.  And when I say I think about it all the time, I mean ALL THE TIME.  Ask my husband, ask my kids – they’re always trying to get my attention while I’m ignoring them in dreamland thinking about our products.  This means I’ve done all the hard work and I can make pram shopping easier for you!  I have considered all the little details (and dismissed lots of stupid ones) and I have firm opinions about what is best for most modern Kiwi parents.

Mark working on pram

Having a child is an exciting, nerve-racking and generally emotional time.  We all want the best for our babies, the safest thing around, and that makes us susceptible to fall for gimmicks.   So many products look great on an Instagram reel, but on the whole, may not be right for you and your family.  Some examples I’ve seen recently are “The lightest pram in it’s category” or “Look, you can walk it down stairs!”.  Sure that’s cool, but the lightest pram will also be much bumpier and weaker; and the pram that can walk down stairs will be harder to fold and be more bulky in your boot. 

Where do I start?

In my opinion, the best place to start is thinking “Do I enjoy being outside and walking?  Does it calm me?  Does it help my mood?  If the answer is yes, then chances are when you are tired, with a screaming baby, taking the pram outside and pounding the pavement will be an enjoyable and uplifting ritual for you.  In that case you’ll want an easy to steer pram, with good sized wheels and a large shopping basket.  And if you have a dog, having something you can steer with one hand becomes even more important.  Look for a pram that centres it’s weight balance towards the back wheels.  Load the potential pram with weight and try it outside.  When you have a heavily loaded pram, how the weight is balanced will make the world of difference on angled footpaths and kerbs even in cities that are relatively flat.  And if you live with bumpy footpaths (from tree roots, construction sites etc), look for a pram that has front wheels larger than 8inches/20cm so you don’t end up rebounding the front wheels off larger rocks and concrete steps.

If the answer is No, then maybe you won’t walk much!  In that case, a smaller stroller could be perfect for you.  You may also find that as you baby gets older, longer walks become less frequent.  Travel strollers such as Otto fold so small they can be left in the boot of your car, then whipped out when you need them!  While the wheels are small and only suitable for short walking, they are space and weight savers. 

The non-negotiables you should be looking for

First of all, I always recommend physically trying your stroller solution at a store, or at a baby expo, or using a friends BEFORE purchase.  I’ve talked to so many parents over the years who have bought online who have been romanced with glowing online reviews from influencers or website reviews only to be disappointed.  Online review sites such as  Tellmebaby.com.au are awesome for user feedback, but shouldn’t be completely relied upon to make your purchasing decision.  And when considering at these reviews, I recommend reading the content of them and relating that back to your lifestyle (don’t just rely on the level of stars or number of ratings the product has had).

So ask yourself when trialling a potential pram, could I work out how to use this without an instruction manual?  While you may know how to use it, others such as your partner or grandparents may not.  And if it’s pouring with rain and you’ve got a crying baby – do you really want to be trying to push 2-3 buttons to fold it?  Other small things, like can it stand fold to save your back? If you’ve had a C-section bending over will be torture!  If you have a tall partner, is the handlebar height suitable for them?    If you live in a rural/country area, we would strongly recommend an all-terrain stroller that has front wheels at least 9 inches/23cm in diameter.  Our all-terrain stroller Oscar M2 also has the option of an Air Tyre Kit which will glide over any soft or bumpy terrain.

Can the product work as a complete baby travel solution?  For example, can you connect a car seat capsule, and/or carry cot, and how easy is it to do that? (you don’t want to get out straps to do it!)  I guarantee that you’ll be out visiting grandparents, visiting friends, or going to shops often and you’ll want to keep a sleeping baby sleeping as you move about.  My daughter loves to eat, but can often be hard to convince to get into the stroller.  So I designed our Snack Tray you can attach to the stroller seat which has been a game changer for me and so many customers.  Fill the snack tray with food and she will sit in her pram for hours.  These little details and accessories can make all the difference to help you. 

Overall in my opinion, it’s function over form when it comes to pram shopping.  It’s getting back to basics.  It’s the most important product you will purchase for your baby.  Some investment (but not too much!) in a decent solution will save you pain in the long run.  Good luck out there!

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