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Bonnie Vengrow
Contributing Writer

Your Age-By-Age Guide To Strollers: What To Get When

The perfect ride for baby largely depends on her age. Here's a rundown of the types of strollers and features you'll need (and want) as your child grows.

Let’s be honest: A stroller is a big-ticket item, but unlike all those adorable onesies you scored at your baby shower, a good one will actually last more than a few months. So how do you make sure you buy a stroller (or two, but not four or five) that has everything you need for every age? Read on.

0-6 Months

What you’ll need

At this point, your main concern is keeping baby stable, supported and comfortable. Look for a sturdy, structured stroller with a good suspension system that can absorb bounces and prevent jostling. Another must-have feature: a comfy seat that fully reclines, so your newborn can lie flat on his back.

What you’ll want

With a travel system or a stroller that accommodates an infant car seat, you don’t have to wake baby every time you take her in and out of the car. Some moms opt for an inexpensive stroller frame at this age, which the car seat snaps right into, and then get a pricier full-sized stroller once baby can sit up on her own.

What to consider

If you’re a city mom, or you just don’t drive much, instead of a travel system, get a stroller with a bassinet attachment. That'll allow you to lay your little one down and go, with no attachments, adaptors or snaps to finagle with–something you’ll appreciate in the early sleep-deprived, new-mom days. The bassinet can also double as a mini crib. 

6-12 Months

What you’ll need

Now that baby is sitting upright, your stroller’s seat is more important than ever. It should be roomy, with plenty of support and cushioning, adjustable and offer multiple recline positions to keep up with your growing child. Also make sure it comes with a five-point harness to keep your child snug and secure while you’re strolling.

What you’ll want

You’re getting the hang of this mom thing and feeling more confident taking baby out and about. Strolling is a perfect chance to chat (read: bond!) with him, especially when he can see your face. One often-overlooked feature that will come in handy now: a seat that can face forward or backward.

What to consider

Now’s the time you might start thinking buying a specialty stroller to compliment your original one—once baby has good head and neck control, of course. To figure out which kind is right for you, think about your lifestyle: Are you an avid runner who wants to exercise with baby? Look for a lightweight jogging stroller that handles both sidewalks and trails. Are you a mom on the go? Consider picking up an ultra-portable umbrella stroller that’s easy to stash in the trunk.

18-24 Months

What you’ll need

Your kid is becoming more independent and curious, and wants to soak in the world around her. With your child constantly hopping out of the stroller, you’ll likely wind up carrying it, so look for a lightweight model with a quick and easy fold. (If you have to choose one over the other, go with the one that's a cinch to fold.) At this age, it should still have a five-point harness to keep your wiggly explorer secure. Also, check for potential pinch points where the canopy opens and closes: It's a popular spot for kids to rest their hands when they’re walking, and you don’t want your toddler to get hurt.

What you’ll want

Look for a set of wheels that’s easy to navigate. When your toddler is walking next to you holding your hand, you’ll need to steer the stroller with the other hand. That’s not easy to do with every stroller.

What to consider

A ride-on board can be a godsend on those days when your child wants to be a big kid and walk instead of being wheeled around. Because let's face it, she'll soon be complaining about her tired tootsies after a few blocks; in that case, she can just hop on the board. Crisis averted. 

Stroller Features for Every Age

Whether baby is 2 days or 2 years old, there are a few stroller features that'll always come in handy. When shopping, look for these extra important perks:

Sun protection. In a pinch, you can use a blanket to shield your newborn from the sun. But as she gets older and becomes more active, you’ll be grateful for a stroller with a big canopy that's UV protective. 

Storage space. How much room you need is a matter of preference and lifestyle. Are you the kind of mom who likes to take everything but the kitchen sink with you when you leave the house, or do you travel light? Do you do your grocery shopping on foot or in a car? Would you rather stow your diaper bag or carry it? 

Adjustable handlebar. Let’s say you’re 5’4”, and your partner is 6’2”. Can you both comfortably stroll your little one? Consider who’ll be doing the pushing, then make sure the handlebar can be moved to accommodate those people's height and leg span.

The Bump expert source: Ali Wing, founder and CEO of Giggle.com

The Bump Ultimate Stroller Guide:

PHOTO: Daniel Kim