Strollers come in a variety of sizes and styles. When you're searching for that perfect stroller that's light and portable, keep safety in mind, too.
What to look for:
- Examine the stroller for reliable restraining belts. The safest design is the "T" buckle: a crotch strap and waist belts that connect together.
- If the stroller has a handrest (grab bar) at the front of the seat, make sure the opening between the grab bar and the seat can be closed when the stroller is used in the reclined position.
- The best brakes lock back wheels by engaging mechanisms in the wheels themselves rather than relying on pressure on the tires.
- A secondary safety latch will keep the stroller open if the primary mechanism fails.
- The stroller should be free from parts that can pinch a child's fingers or pose a choking hazard.
- Check out the stroller for stability. The wheel base should be wide, and the seat should be low in the frame. The stroller should resist tipping backward when you press lightly down on the handles.
- If there is a basket for carrying packages, it should be low on the back of the stroller and in front of the rear wheels.
- The leg openings should be small enough to prevent an infant from slipping through.
- You should be able to steer the stroller in a straight line when pushing with one hand.
- The handlebars should be at your waist level or slightly lower.
- If you want a stroller designed to accommodate more than one child, be aware that tandem models (where the children sit one behind the other) are generally easier to maneuver than the kind where the children sit side by side. In addition, the tandem models are generally more stable and fold more compactly.
- Never leave a child unattended in a stroller, especially when asleep.
- Avoid using a pillow or blanket as a mattress in a stroller.
- Never hang purses or diaper bags on the handles of a stroller. A baby could get tangled in the straps and be strangled.
- To avoid trapping your baby's head, close the opening between the grab bar and the seat when using the stroller in the reclined position.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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