At some moment in time you are going to need to buy new child car seats as children usually grow, some faster than others!

Where at all possible, it is best to buy new but this is not always feasible. So what should you look for?

The first thing you should know is that it is best to buy from someone you know, simply because you are more likely to know the history of the seat you are considering. As a rule of thumb, if the seat is older than 5 years, leave it. More specifically though, if you suspect that the car seat has ever been involved in a collision be aware that the structure of the seat is likely to be compromised and therefore unsafe for use.

Another thing you should check is that the belts, harnesses and all the connections are all safe. Do the straps show any sign of fraying? Are there any cracks in the seat or signs of tearing? Give it a good ‘wobble’ does it seem stable? Is it clean? A clean seat means the covers are removable for cleaning and that the seat has been looked after.

Are you sure it will fit in your car? If you want a child car seat with an ISOFIX fitting (basically, this is a universally standard for a push and click car seat), then make sure it is! With around 90% of seats being badly fitted, ISOFIX fitting seats take away the likelihood of the seat being incorrectly fitted. If the seat doesn’t fit securely in your car, don’t buy it.

Ensure the seat is appropriate for your child’s weight and height and check that it meets the standard regulations for the country you live. Lastly, get yourself a copy of the manual from the seat manufacturer if it isn’t available.

strollersThe happiness of having kids and then to take them around and shower them with love knows no bounds in parents. However, with this comes the responsibility of taking care of their needs and their safety. Among the important things to have for your baby is a stroller. And then when you have twins or two infants to take care of a sit and stand stroller or double stroller becomes a necessity. Here are a few important features to look for in a double stroller.

Compact and lightweight: In order to carry around the stroller with you wherever you go it needs to be light in weight. This can make your social outings comfortable. Also airlines have a limit to the weight that you can carry. So travelling with a compact and a lighter stroller can help create that scope to carry other important things for your baby’s health or entertainment.

Easy maneuverability: Just like a test drive is important before you buy a car, similarly you need to know if the stroller can be moved around easily. It should be easy and convenient to push, turn, and pull behind a stroller. It especially counts indoors when pushing the stroller through corridors or in and out of rooms needs to be smooth. Also, easy maneuvering of the stroller greatly contributes in the safety of your infants.

Safety options: Although you are excited to take your babies for a stroll it is obvious that you will always be concerned about the safety of your infants. It becomes extremely important to check whether your stroller has these basic safety options. A good stroller will always have safety harnesses to keep your babies in place, locking brakes to avoid mishaps, safety wrist strap for a grip, all terrain tires for a safe ride, and deep seats to avoid falling out of the stroller.

Reclining seats: When you are taking your infants out on a stroll they may not always be in a mood to stay awake and interact. They may fall asleep for a quick nap shortly after beginning the stroll. Seats that do not recline tend to make the baby’s head fall to the sides making them uncomfortable. A reclining seat puts the baby to a comfortable sleeping posture while your anxieties are put to rest.

(If you want both children to be able to recline at the same time, then in most cases, this feature is easier to find in a side-by-side double stroller).

Retractable sunshades: Your concern for complete comfort of the baby will definitely make you look for sunshades or canopies which will protect the babies from sun, mild rains, and from strangers. And then retractable ones make it convenient to push them up and behind when you think your babies don’t require them. This requirement though a small thing can make the stroll much more comfortable.

Removable seat cushions: This aspect does not seem to be so important but if you are concerned about hygiene when it is related to your babies then you will definitely want the seats of the stroller to be always clean. And then with infants how can you avoid dropping things around making the seat cushions dirty. Having removable seat cushions can make it possible to dust or wash them for regular use.

Storage basket: It is extremely important that while your babies are in the stroller your hands have to be free to take them around and to conveniently pick them up whenever required. So you need to have space to keep all your stuff. A good storage space can carry your purse, shopping bag, cell phone, keys, your water bottle, and any other stuff that you need to carry along. This makes it convenient as well as safe.

Our recommended ones are Baby Trend Sit N Stand Ultra Stroller if you are looking for light weight and excess storage and BOB Revolution SE Duallie Stroller select double if size is not an issue.

Snack trays: Your babies might be taken out for a short stroll but you never know when they may feel thirsty or hungry. And then with twins, things are always unpredictable. It becomes necessary to carry snacks, water, or other drinks to see to it that the baby does not have to cry out of starving. And this makes it important for you to look for this feature in the stroller. A spacious snack tray can help stock on whatever that your baby would like to have while on a stroll.

Little Lamb Cradle n' SwingMy parents purchased the Fisher Price – My Little Lamb Cradle n’ Swing for us just before my second son was born.  This swing was so wonderful to have as I didn’t have one when my first son was born.  I used to hold him and carry him around all the time!  Fast forward to child number 2 and I needed a swing!  As much as I’d love to carry my baby around all the time, my 2 1/2 year old demands a lot of attention too and I needed to put the baby down.  So, this is the swing I got!

Pros

  • The padding and plushness of the seat are great.  It is so soft and comfy feeling.  I’d like a chair made out of this!
  • This swing is perfect for a newborn!  It lays nearly flat so that you don’t have to worry about your child slouching forward or to the side.  It also does have 3 seat positions if you have an older infant that you’d like to have sitting up a little bit more.
  • My son has really enjoyed watching and grabbing at the mobile hanging overhead (which also rotates in a circle).  He also likes the domed mirror in which he can look up at himself.
  • The swing allows for side to side or head to toe swinging and has 6 speeds.
  • There is also a tray that snaps on and off of the swing with some toys attached for your baby’s entertainment.
  • There are about 10 songs and nature sounds to play as well as volume control for those sounds.
  • The battery life on this swing was pretty decent.  I can’t say exactly how many hours a round of batteries lasted, but in 6 months I probably replaced them 3 times.  So, I felt like I didn’t change them too often.
  • The swing folds up for storage which will be great when I’m ready to put it in the attic until it’s ready to be used again!

Cons

  • The motor is pretty loud on it.  When I first turned it on, it kind of shocked me at how loud it was.  But this has never disturbed my newborn while he was sleeping; it probably actually helped to block out the noise made by my 2 year old son!  We eventually got used to hearing it, so it didn’t bother us for too long.
  • The straps used to buckle your child in are pretty short.  At  7 months old and about 17 lbs., my son still fits in the seat okay, but the straps seem tight around his waste… and that’s with them pulled out the whole way.  I don’t think he’ll be fitting in the seat for too much longer.  I’m not sure why they made them so short, but a little longer would be nice.

Overall Opinion

Like I said at the beginning, I didn’t have a swing for my first son and that worked for me.  But I needed one for Baby #2 and this swing was a lifesaver for me!  The loud motor bothered me at the beginning but I eventually got over that.  This swing was great for my son and he slept in it a lot in the weeks after he was born!  Now that he’s an active 7 month old, he doesn’t use it too often.  But for the time that it was used regularly, this was a good choice of a swing!

14_2_I purchased a Moby Wrap for my son after my he was born… when he was a little less than 2 months old.  I really wanted to be a babywearing mom and originally had purchased a Peanut Shell sling, but I had a hard time getting my little one into it and once I did get him in, he’d just cry and cry.  He didn’t seem comfortable in it and didn’t look comfortable either.  I had read many good things about the Moby Wrap but I personally didn’t know anyone who had one, so I decided to try it out for myself.  I ordered the color above… woven earth tone stripes with chocolate.  Well, my son loved it and slept in it often!  I carried him around in it for many months until he got to being an active little guy that didn’t really want to be held.

Pros

  • There are a wide variety of ways to carry your baby in the Moby Wrap.  I primarily used the Hug Hold when my son was very young but when he got a little older and liked to look around more I used the Lotus Hold, which is like the Hug Hold, but with my son facing outward.  Some of the other ways to carry your baby is to cradle a newborn in it, the hip hold, and the back carry.  The last two are for when your child is older.  There is even a breastfeeding hold to carry and feed your baby at the same time.  I never got a chance to try that one, but maybe when the next one comes I’ll try it out!
  • I thought the wrap was a lot more comfortable than regular baby carriers like the Baby Bjorn or Snugli.  It didn’t seem to pull on my shoulders as much and felt like it gave more support to my back because of the way the Moby is wrapped around your body.
  • This wrap is a great way to bond with your baby because of the closeness you have with each other.  Your baby is right against your chest and baby can snuggle right up to you.  There is no fabric or barrier between you and your baby.
  • Putting the Moby Wrap on is not as hard as it looks!  It’s actually very easy and doesn’t take too long to learn.  It only took me a couple of time until I actually remembered how to do it.

Cons

  • The only con I could think of is that the Moby Wrap is a little toasty to wear… especially in the summertime!

Overall Opinion

Forest_300x400The Moby Wrap is definitely my favorite baby carrier!  After trying out the Peanut Shell, Snugli, Baby Bjorn, and Beco Carrier, this has been my favorite and I can’t wait to use it with our next one!  I really like the Baby Bjorn and Beco out of those other ones, but I didn’t really like using them until my son was older.  When he was a small baby, the Moby Wrap was great and he seemed to love it.  A perfect example is when we went to the beach when our son was 2 months old.  It was a windy day and our son just cried and cried because he didn’t like the wind.  Well, as soon as I put him in the Moby Wrap, he stopped crying and went to sleep!  We were sold just because of that!  I would highly recommend this to anyone who is in search of the perfect baby carrier.

baby-stroller-buying-guideStrollers can be very useful, especially if you’re a parent who has to deal with a ton of errands apart from taking care of your children. Choosing a good baby stroller may be extremely important, not only for those who don’t want to lose a lot of money on maintenance or even on buying a new stroller from time to time (it’s not that convenient, you know), but also for parents who want to make sure that their children are completely safe and comfortable.

The good news is there are lots of strollers for every type of lifestyle you can imagine, and if you invest some time in trying out a few of them before you buy, you may be able to get just the thing to keep you and your little one satisfied.

Types of Strollers to Choose From

There are a variety of strollers available on the market depending on what you need them to do. From simple, traditional strollers to pram carriages and complex travel systems, you have a lot of options to choose from, whether you need a safe way to travel with your infant or you’ve set your mind on getting a larger stroller for your 4 year old.

Traditional Strollers

This category of strollers covers basically all lightweight products, from umbrella strollers to lightweight, high-end brand strollers. They are usually compact and foldable, and some can be converted from providing a baby with bassinet-like comfort to comfortable upright seating. Be cautious when choosing particular models, though, since some of them can’t be used before your little one is at least a few months old.

Travel Systems

A travel system is basically a combination between a car seat and a stroller. It’s great in terms of convenience, since you won’t even have to wake your child when you take him out of the car, and it can usually accommodate an infant of up to 20 pounds. Travel systems can also be folded quite easily, being a great choice if you don’t have too much storage space.

Full Size Strollers

These strollers are the largest of all, being able to support children up to the age of 4 (usually the weight limit is about 40 pounds). Some models can be heavier, while others can be available with aluminum frames and are rust resistant. They usually include some great features to improve your baby’s comfort, including a canopy, a tray and large storage baskets.

Jogging Strollers

A great choice for a more “outdoorsy” lifestyle, the jogging stroller features large tires, sleek frames and suspension systems. These are basically the “SUVs” of strollers, and can handle almost any type of terrain. Your kid will love one of these babies, and if you’re interested in raising an athlete or a racing driver, this is probably the stroller for you.

Prams

Moms usually tend to love buying these, as they are probably the most elegant strollers. Fitted with curved, lightweight frames, larger wheels for better stability and suspension springs for comfort, prams are some of the best “bassinet on wheels” types of strollers. They are usually intended only for infants.

How to Choose the Right Type

When trying to decide which particular stroller you need for your precious offspring, you also have to keep in mind that safety is the main priority, and that there are many factors which should influence your decision. Here are some of the most important ones:

Your Baby’s Age

Infants that are 6 months old or younger will need a stroller that is able to support a perfectly flat reclining position.

Weight

The overall weight of the stroller should allow you to carry the baby and the stroller on stairs without much difficulty.

Height

The stroller’s height has to be at a comfortable level so you don’t end up kicking its rear wheels by accident.

Terrain

Also, consider the terrain and the amount of walking you will be doing with your stroller.

As an additional note, you should always measure the space you will need and make sure the stroller will fit in perfectly in your car if needed.

Pricing Ranges

Although your first priority should be to get a comfortable and safe stroller that’s appropriate for your baby’s weight, height and age, price tags are still not to be ignored, especially in these times of economic instability.

If you’re interested in a lightweight, traditional stroller, you’re in luck, as these products can come in prices as low as $20. The more expensive ones can reach prices of over $500, of course; however, you have a lot of freedom in choosing between various brands and designs, so you will likely be able to find a less expensive traditional stroller that will meet all your needs.

Travel systems are a great choice, as well, in terms of pricing. The amounts that retailers ask for in this case tend to fluctuate between $150 and $500. Prams are probably the most expensive strollers, with prices between $800 and $1,200.

Of course, it also depends where you buy them from. If you do an online search on the type of stroller you want, you will probably be able to find it at price that won’t empty your wallet, and some online retailers may even offer some generous discounts.

Conclusion

As you can see, choosing a stroller can be just as hard as figuring out what type of car you want to buy – except you don’t have to worry about whether or not you will lose control of it at 100 mph.

The prices are pretty close regardless of whether you need a simple umbrella stroller or something with a little more kick – say a full size stroller equipped with just about anything you can possibly want for your baby.

So, the bottom line is that, once you have a budget allocated for your purchase and you have an idea about the type of baby stroller you want, you should have no difficulty in finding a safe, comfortable and fun little stroller that your baby can feel comfortable in and that can let you breathe more easily when your chores make you feel like all you want to do is sleep for a week.