01.Pram buying guide
Planning for baby can be pretty stressful. So let our guide take the work out of choosing a stroller or pram that will keep your precious cargo safe.
What to look for
- wider, longer and heavier than four-wheelers.
- usually easier to push around, due to larger wheels (which are often on bearings so they pivot easily) and inflatable tyres that help absorb the bumps.
- easier to manoeuvre, but also more likely to roll away if left unattended.
- prone to tipping, particularly when turning corners or mounting a kerb.
Swivelling front wheels
- more compact (especially umbrella types) and generally fold into a smaller package, so they can be a better option for public transport.
- Some have two small wheels at the front and two large wheels at the rear, which provide the stability of a four-wheeler with the manoeuvrability of a three-wheeler.
- easier to manoeuvre, but it's useful if they can be locked for travelling at higher speeds or over rough terrain.
- Large wheels tend to be better on kerbs and stairs; inflatable wheels can puncture but generally give a comfier ride.
- Check instructions for recommended tyre pressure, and use a manual pump – service station pumps are too powerful for small stroller tyres.
- Measure the stroller to make sure it fits into your car boot without needing the wheels removed.
Try folding and unfolding it in the shop to see if you can carry it comfortably.
Strollers and prams must have:
- Wrist tether straps – with a label warning the adult carer to use it – to help reduce the chance of a pram rolling away.
- The brake pedals/levers must be red so they’re easily seen and more likely to be used.
- A permanently attached harness that includes waist and crotch straps.
- Strollers with a backrest that reclines to an angle greater than 150° to the horizontal when fully laid back must have a head barrier.
- Always look for certification to the full Australian standard.
Note: The mandatory standard for prams and strollers came into effect in July 2008. Since then there have been revisions of the standard that aim to address recently identified hazards and improve on safety. While the mandatory requirements are still based on AS/NZS 2008:2000, we test strollers to the most current revision, AS/NZS 2088:2013.
Brakes Look for linked, foot-operated brakes on both rear wheels so that the left and right brakes can be activated by a single action rather than applied individually. Get an idea of how well they work by applying the brakes and then trying to push the handle. Check they actively lock into position. Foot-operated brakes save you bending down, but make sure your feet fit under them easily – some need to be flipped up from below, plus low-lying pedals may interfere with walking.
Five-point harness consisting of two shoulder straps (attached to the backrest at shoulder level), a waist strap and a crotch strap is best. The waist straps in particular should be securely linked to the stroller’s frame so the child can’t lean out and tilt it. Give the harness a tug to check the seat doesn't pull away from the frame. The straps should be adjustable to allow for growth and the buckles easy to use (for you, not your child). The mandatory standard allows harnesses without shoulder straps, but CHOICE believes a five-point harness is the best option.
And check for:
Protruding parts that can hit your child’s head, or small parts that can detach easily and pose a choking risk.
Gaps that could trap fingers – yours or your child’s.
Sharp edges or points.
- A child-resistant mechanism for locks.
Stability Is the stroller stable enough not to tip easily?
Other features worth considering
The following features may not be provided as standard, but may be available as optional extras. Check the instructions or ask your retailer.
Tyre pump A hand-operated pump for inflating tyres.
Leg cover An attachment you can pull over the child's legs in cold weather.
Rain cover A clear plastic sheet to drape over the stroller.
Insect cover A mesh cover to protect the child from nasties.
Removable liner This provides additional comfort and can also help support smaller babies.