What makes the best stroller for newborns and toddlers?

A nab reaches for his baby inside a 180 Reversible Stroller

When trying to find the best stroller for a baby or toddler, you should base your judgment on the safety and comfort qualities for your child, as well as the convenience factor for yourself. And for the most part, the features that make the best strollers for newborns are the same features that make the best strollers for toddlers. But there are a few different age-specific qualities you’ll want—all of which I get into below.

Qualities Needed for a Good Stroller for Newborns and Toddlers

Adjustable Handlebar

If multiple people will be pushing the stroller, get one that has a height-adjustable handlebar. More than likely, you all aren’t the same size. But if you can move the handlebar up and down to fit your height, then each of you can comfortably push it around.

Reversible Handlebar

If your stroller doesn’t have a reversible handlebar, a lot could go wrong on a casual walk. With one turn your baby could be in direct sunlight, so then you’d either have to carefully navigate your walk so only you face the sun or you’d have to keep lifting up, turn, and snapping in your baby’s car seat so she stays out of the sun. All that hassle for a casual stroll? Not worth it.

But, when you own a stroller that has a reversible handlebar, like Ergobaby’s 180 Reversible Stroller, you don’t have any of those problems. You get benefits too good to pass up, such as:

  1. Easily change the way your baby is facing—parent facing or forward facing—without having to change the direction you’re traveling.
  2. Not having to try and redock a heavy car seat (which can sometimes be harder than it looks).
  3. Won’t wake your sleeping babe because of several position switches.

Reclining Seat

Newborns don’t have any head or neck control, so a seat that reclines means they can safely lie down and sleep. And toddlers like being able to recline when they sleep as well (don’t we all?), so this feature allows your kid at every age and stage to nap in the preferred sleeping position.

Protective Canopy

Most strollers come with some type of protective canopy—but not all are created equal. Some canopies are so small you wonder why they even have them because it doesn’t keep the sun or wind from hitting your child. You won’t have this problem with a reversible stroller like Ergobaby’s, though. It comes with an extra large sunshade that provides 100% coverage from all weather elements. It also has a peek-a-boo window so you can keep an eye on your baby, as well as a mesh hood that allows for more airflow to keep your baby cool.

Large Storage Basket

Do you want to carry your diaper bag or purse while pushing a stroller? Of course not. You’ll be a sweaty mess five minutes into your walk or shopping trip. Almost all strollers have some sort of storage option, be it a rear pocket or a basket under the seat. Opt for the latter because it’ll have more room and helps with your stroller’s center of gravity.

The 180 Reversible Stroller has a large storage basket under the seat. It’s big enough to hold all the essentials for you and your child, i.e. bag, drinks, phone, keys, etc., so you don’t have to.

One-hand Fold

Whether you’re holding a baby or a baby in a car seat or trying to hold onto a squirming toddler, it’s nice knowing that with one quick hand motion you can fold up your stroller. If you need two hands to fold and carry your stroller, who’s going to carry your baby? You’ll never have to worry about this or have to stay home because you don’t have an extra set of hands with an Ergobaby stroller.

The Best Stroller for Newborns: Newborn-Specific Stroller Qualities 

Car Seat Compatible

With an infant, a stroller that holds your car seat can be a lifesaver. You never want to wake a baby who just fell asleep in the car, but you can’t stay in your car forever either. So if you don’t have to take him out of his car seat to put him in his stroller, you won’t be stuck with a cranky baby or cranky you who’s been sitting in your car for an hour thinking about all the things you could’ve gotten done if you could’ve gotten out of the car.

Currently, with a car seat adapter, Ergobaby’s reversible stroller is compatible with Graco, Chicco, and Britax car seats, and soon they’ll also be compatible with Nuna and Cybex car seats.

Good Suspension System

You want your sleeping baby to stay asleep over every crack in the ground, but more importantly, you want to keep your newborn’s head and neck stable and supported whenever you encounter any rough city or country terrain. A stroller with a good suspension system will absorb all those little bumps to keep your baby from bouncing around too much.

Five-Point Harness

A five-point harness is the safest for smaller and younger babies. The five safety straps include two chest straps, two waist straps, and one crotch strap to keep your little one secure inside the stroller.

A baby sits in a reversible stroller

The Best Stroller for Toddlers: Toddler-Specific Stroller Qualities

Easy, One-hand Navigation

With a walker, she may not want to spend the whole time in her stroller. So in the event that she wants to get out and walk next to you, it’s in your best interest to have a stroller that’s easy to steer with one hand so your other hand can hold onto your daughter’s hand.

Footrest

As a new parent, you may not think of this little feature. But your toddler and his legs will really appreciate having a footrest. It’ll support his calves and feet rather than leave them dangling.

Three-Point or Two-Point Harness

While you can still use a five-point harness, a three-point (two chest or two waist straps and one crotch strap) or two-point harness (two waist straps) really is safe enough for children that are older and can sit up independently.

Kirsten Metcalf

Kirsten Metcalf is a writer, editor and mother to a hilarious but very strong-willed toddler and a beautiful baby girl. She started writing short stories in elementary school and years later became a sports reporter and editor. Now, she mainly writes marketing, religious and parenting-related blog posts. Even before she knew she wanted to be a writer, Kirsten knew she wanted to be a mom. She knows being a mom is one of the most rewarding but hardest jobs out there, which is why she loves being able to share parenting knowledge and support to other moms through her writing. When she actually wins negotiations with her toddler, Kirsten likes to reward herself by watching KU basketball, eating cheesecake, or going on a Target run by herself.

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