Like buying your first car, buying your bub’s first ride is a milestone moment. From the head-turners to the pimped-out luxe, it’s hard not get swallowed up in pram choice.
More important than heart-skipping beauty is just how the pram will work for your family. Are you having children close together? How easy is the pram to clean? Does it fit in your car, or through the doorways in your house (yep, some prams are the pushchair equivalent of a Hummer!).
Don’t worry, we’ve got you sorted! Work your way through our key points to consider, to help narrow your focus. And don’t forget to print out our handy Pram Chooser Checklist before you hit the baby stores!
Before you decide what to buy, you need to know what you can buy and why. We’ve answered some basic questions for you to get your head what’s out there and what you might need.
Is it essential: Yes
How much will it cost: $75 to $4500
How long will you use it: 3 to 4 years
Should you purchase before baby arrives: Yes
Can you buy secondhand: Yes. Make sure it comes with a tether strap.
While they’re both used to transport babies and toddlers when out and about, there are some big differences between a pram and stroller.
- Can be used by newborn
- Seat that fully reclines or has a separate bassinet attachment
- Is generally more comfortable
- Is usually larger and wider than a stroller
- Not recommended for newborns
- Seat remains upright or doesn’t fully recline
- Is usually more compact and lightweight
- Is more suited to toddlers
A three-wheel pram has one wheel at the front and two at the back. The front wheel can usually be locked.
A four-wheel pram has two wheels at the front (some maybe smaller) and two wheels at the rear.
Double prams are for toting more than one child at a time, side by side or tandem (one on top of the other). Can be used for twins, a toddler and a baby or two toddlers.
A travel system is a combination of a standard pram that can have a car seat attached. This means bub can easily be transferred from the car to the pram and vice versa.
A three-wheeler with large, air-filled tyres that is built for speed. The front wheel can usually be locked for running or unlocked for everyday walking and manoeuvrability.
A lightweight, compact-fold stroller with hooked handles (like an umbrella). Often used as a second stroller or for travelling. Not recommend for newborns unless the seat lays flat.
Yes, a stroller gets your bub from A to B. But to really enjoy the ride, pick one that’s the best fit for your family by thinking about these considerations.
Let’s start by thinking about who will be pushing the pram and if it’s got the goods to be a winner for everyone in the family. If you live in an inner-city apartment and go everywhere on foot, your needs will be very different to a mum always in the car. Think about how you’ll use it most – running through a park, quick trips to the shop, or travelling to visit friends and relatives.
Things to consider:
Where do you live?
- You can walk to the shops – Lucky you, you’ll be doing this a lot! Look at the pavement you’ll be pushing on. 4-wheel prams are great on smooth footpaths, 3-wheelers have larger wheels and get across grass and uneven surfaces better.
- You have to drive everywhere – If you live away from the shops and friends you’ll be pulling the pram in and out of the car A LOT! You’ll get great arm definition but your back may start to complain if the pram’s too heavy and bulky.
- You use public transport – Most trains in Australia are easy for prams to get on and off, but if you use bus and trams you’ll probably need help lifting them on, and then find somewhere in the aisle for the pram.
What do you like to do?
- You or your partner are joggers – It may be easier to take bub with you on a jog rather than trying to find someone to watch them. Or if your partner’s a jogger, make sure the pram can handle a good run so you can have a shower, cup of tea, power nap, 15 whole minutes in the bathroom by yourself while dad takes bub for some fresh air. All-terrain prams have air-filled wheels and some form of suspension, which is great for active families who like to go off the beaten track.
- You travel overseas a few times a year – Having a pram that you can take right up to the gate makes travelling with babies so much easier.
- You shop. A lot – If you’ll be shopping up a storm with bub in tow, look for a pram that’s narrow enough to get down cafe aisles with a large shopping basket underneath so you don’t have to hang your epic Kmart haul off the handlebars.
- You walk the dog – Never tie a dog to your pram (they could run off after a cat and take the pram too!). So you’ll have a puppy in one hand, steering the pram in the other. And if you drive to the dog park, don’t forget there’ll be a pram in the back, so wet Fido’s sitting up front with you.
When you’re wrangling a wriggly baby, it’s best not to need a degree in physics to be able to open and close your pram.
Things to consider:
What is the folding mechanism?
- Umbrella fold – most umbrella folding strollers are light-weight and can be put up and down with a foot lever and one hand so you can still be holding bub on your hip.
- All-in-one fold – allows the pram to fold into itself. Some you have to remove the seat first.
- Automatic fold – some prams have automatic folding and closing at the touch of a button – with the seat attached. It’s like having that third arm we all wish we had.
Can you switch seat position?
- Rearward/parent-facing – some prams only need the handlebar moved to change bub from being outward-facing to parent-facing. Others need the entire seat taken off and repositioned.
- Reclining positions – babies need to lie flat until they can sit up on their own unaided. Some strollers recline flat so you won’t need an additional carrycot. As baby grows, having a pram that reclines several degrees gives you options if bub wants to sleep.
Does it need to be dissembled to fit in the boot?
- All-in-one fold: some prams need to have the seat removed before they can be folded, which can help when trying to fit it into a boot.
- Wheel removal: you can remove the wheels of some prams for a more compact fold.
- Extra boot space: pram in, check. Shopping in. argh. Check that you can still put the shopping in the boot at the same time. If you or your partner play sport, can the cricket or tennis gear fit around the pram.
This is one thing often overlooked when deciding which pram is right for you – where are you going to park the pram between trips?
Things to consider:
Where will you keep the pram when you’re not using it?
- In the car – if you’re one of those families that has to drive everywhere, leaving it in the boot makes since.
- In the garage – there might be enough room so you can leave it assembled and fully loaded with nappy bags, toys and everything you end up carting around.
- On the porch – If you don’t have access to the back of your house from the front you’ll either have to take the pram inside or leave it on the porch.
- In the house – if the pram is going to live inside when you’re not using it, where are you going to leave it, the hallway, under the stairs, laundry, backyard. Keep an eye on the wheels, they get pretty dirty and you’re rolling that stuff inside.
Let’s put your pram purchase into perspective. If this is your first baby, and you planning three kids, two years apart, you’ll be pushing a pram for the next eight years. So you’ll want to make sure the pram you choose stands the test of time.
Things to consider:
Will you be having more children?
- Children close together: if you’re planning on having babies quite close together consider a double pram that can take a carrycot and a seat at the same time.
- A few years apart: if the gap between kids will be a little longer, you might be able to get away with putting bub number two in the pram and the toddler on a skateboard attachment. The only drawback is they both can’t sleep in the pram at the same time.
- Twins: If you’re expecting a couple of bouncing babes consider a pram that has the ability for both seats to lay flat. Make sure you check the storage capabilities and if each bub is able to see unobstructed.
Can you get spare parts?
- Prams are like cars, each year there’s a new model. By getting a well-known brand you’ll increase your chances of being able to source parts eight years later if the handle falls off. Well maybe not the handle but if the shade hood gets a tear it can be replaced.
In Australia, there is a mandatory safety standard (AS/NZS 2088:2000) for all prams and strollers. Always ensure your pram or stroller meets these requirements, especially if buying second hand.
- Parking device – at least one parking brake to limit the movement of the pram and the activation part must be red and located away from where baby can reach it.
- Tether strap – to hold onto while in use
- Safety harness, straps and head barrier – strollers must have permanently attached waist and crutch harness and a head barrier if the seat angle reclines greater than 150°
- Safety warnings – must be present to ensure correct use
Short on time? We’ve put together a collection of our favourites to suit every style and budget.
We do love a little sugar coating on a delicious pram – and these days you can have just about any nifty gadget your little heart desires.
- Pram liner: a cheap and cheerful way to personalise any pram, and make it a little comfier
- Rain cover: because a little wet weather doesn’t stop us getting out and about with bub
- Parasol: a fancy way to say umbrella that attaches to the side of the pram
- Insect cover: we live in Australia. Enough said
- Toddler board: A bit like a skateboard for toddlers to stand on
- Cup holder: both for mum and bub – you need both hands for pushing after all
- Phone charger: yes, there is a pram that actually has generators in the wheels to charge your phone while you’re pushing it
- Shopping basket: most prams should have some sort of basket underneath, but you can source larger ones
- Limited edition fabrics: not just an indulgence, these can become highly collectable down the track, adding to resale value
- Automatic pram rockers: a hands-free device that attaches to your pram and rocks it for you with the press of a button
In the market for a pram or stroller?
Join the closed Mum’s Grapevine due date and baby groups on Facebook and ask other mums what they love about their pram.