Stroller Accessories for Summer

Finding the perfect stroller is the first step in ensuring your baby rides safely in comfort and style. Finding the appropriate stroller accessories comes next, especially if you plan on being outdoors regularly. The four seasons and inclement weather may require different items, and the following stroller accessories for summer will come in handy for most parents.

Stroller Shades

Even though a lot of strollers come with built-in canopies, most of the canopies leave some of your child’s skin exposed. A larger sun-blocking stroller shade is easy to attach. Not only will it block harmful UVA and UVB rays from your baby’s tender skin, many stroller shades even include side pockets that are a perfect spot for storing bottles and sippy cups.

Stroller Umbrellas / Stroller Parasols

Attachable stroller umbrellas are one of the best stroller accessories for summer. A fashionable way to protect your child from harmful UV rays, water-repellent stroller parasols that clamp onto most strollers can be adjusted to block the sun from any direction!

Stroller Fans

Battery-operated clip-on stroller fans are a great way to keep cool breezes blowing around your baby or toddler on a hot summer day. Most stroller fans have soft foam blades that cannot hurt curious fingers should they grab hold of them, and some even come with protective fan covers. Stroller fans are excellent stroller accessories for summer because they can also attach to most play pens and cribs.

Cup Holders

Keeping your child hydrated while taking a stroll in the heat is incredibly important, so attachable cup holders are a must during the summer months on strollers do not include built-in cup holders. Some stroller cup holders work with any stroller while others are brand-specific. Be sure to find one that will work with your stroller!

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Top Baby Stroller Brands At A Glance

When shopping for a new stroller, knowing a little background about the most popular stroller brands is always helpful.  Today I’ll cover four of the top brand strollers for safety, budget, and quality.

Baby Trend Strollers

Baby Trend prides itself on providing the safest, most reliable products available at an incredibly affordable price. For that reason, baby trend strollers are one of the top brands of strollers available today. Baby Trend was the first manufacturer to produce a product that converts an infant car seat into a lightweight stroller (the Baby Trend Snap N Go) as well as the first company to develop a sit-and-stand stroller. Over the years, Baby Trend strollers and car seats have won numerous awards and continually rank in the top percentile in the baby product industry in terms of safety.

Graco Strollers

Graco has set the standard in many baby items over the years, and Graco strollers are among the top brands of strollers thanks to their quality and affordability. The company is credited with developing the first ever wind-up infant swing and the Pack N Play portable playpen as well as the incredibly popular combination stroller and infant carrier car seat now known as the Graco travel system stroller. Most parents love the fact that they can purchase Graco strollers, swings, Pack N Plays, and other baby items in matching prints and fabrics. Graco strollers often beat pricier strollers in comparison tests. They are available for purchase at most baby specialty stores and retail supercenters (eg. Walmart).

Kolcraft Strollers

Kolcraft strollers are another top brand of strollers among parents. Kolcraft, one of the top baby product manufacturers in the U.S., has partnered with many recognizable brand names that are leaders in their industries, including Jeep, Sesame Street and Sealy, to produce a variety of children’s products. Kolcraft manufactures several types of budget-friendly strollers including umbrella strollers, tandem strollers and jogging strollers as well as infant car seat carriers.

Maclaren Strollers

The original Maclaren stroller was designed by a former aerospace engineer, and Maclaren strollers are now considered one of the trendiest international stroller brands. The premier British parenting lifestyle produces strollers that are sleek yet lightweight and easy to maneuver. Made from only the best modern materials and oh-so-fashionable in appearance, Maclaren is quite possibly the most popular brand of luxury strollers.

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Buying Stroller Accessories

New parents love to purchase car seat toys that hang on their baby’s infant carrier, but you might be surprised to learn that stroller accessories exist for purposes other than your child’s entertainment. A great stroller will make things a lot easier on parents, and the following stroller accessories can also come in handy.

Weather Protection

Several different stroller accessories were created to help protect your child from the weather.

  • Sun Protection. Most strollers come with a canopy for shade, but many stroller manufacturers also sell larger canopies or mesh covers which provide added sun protection.
  • Rain Protection. It’s relatively easy to find a rain cover to fit your stroller. Rain covers either tie into place or fasten with Velcro, and most have a plastic window in front so your child can see out. Be sure to check ventilation features so your child does not get hot inside.
  • Footmuff / Boot. A footmuff, or boot, is used to protect your baby from cold weather. They are made specifically for certain stroller models and can be snapped into place to keep your baby warm and cozy during cold weather.

Seat Liners

Seat liners are a stroller accessory with multiple benefits. They can help support your baby’s head and body, cushion your baby’s bottom and protect the stroller seat.

Strap Covers

Strap covers are used to cushion your baby’s neck and shoulders while sitting in a stroller, car seat or highchair. They easily wrap around the harness and protect your child’s face from the rubbing of rough seat belts. Strap covers make your baby more comfortable, not to mention stylish as most strap covers are decorative.

Stroller Organizers

If your stroller does not have enough storage space, a stroller organizer will come in handy. Many manufacturers sell organizers that hook onto your stroller’s handlebars and give you a place to put water bottles and snacks. Detachable cup holders and trays for strollers that do not have them are also convenient stroller organizers.

Seat Adapters

Seat adapters are used to attach infant car seats to strollers. A seat adapter is only necessary if your stroller does not accommodate your infant carrier car seat. Some strollers can accept car seats, but do not include clips to hold it in place. In those situations, a car seat adaptor can be used instead. Always be sure to install seat adaptors correctly and use your stroller’s recommended car seat brands to protect your baby.

Carry Bags

Many stroller manufacturers make special bags to store and transport your stroller. Not only do carry bags keep your stroller compact, the bag will protect it from any damage. Some companies sell carry bags that you can check in as baggage while flying.

Tire Pumps

If you have a stroller with air-inflated wheels, a tire pump is a necessity. Most strollers that require a tire pump include one with purchase, but many parents want to keep one in each of their vehicles or have a second pump as a spare. Be sure to purchase a tire pump that is compatible with your stroller’s wheels.  Check out this Mountain Buggy brand tire pump for more details.

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Mom Review of the Baby Trend Expedition Jogging Stroller

Traditional strollers are fine for pushing your child down the sidewalk or through the mall while you’re on a shopping trip, but physically active parents will definitely benefit from a jogging stroller. Designed specifically for use while exercising, parents can easily walk, run or even Rollerblade while pushing a jogging stroller. I decided to purchase the Baby Trend Expedition jogging stroller and shed the rest of my pregnancy weight once and for all.

The Baby Trend Expedition has 16″ rear and 12″ front all-terrain tires that make every ride smooth and easy, even over rough paths. The front wheel swivels but can be locked to remain steady while running. Unlike some jogging strollers, the Expedition is compatible with Baby Trend infant car seats. Its multi-position reclining, padded seat keeps my daughter sitting comfortably. The stroller has an adjustable canopy keeps her shaded from the hot sun. Many jogging strollers do not include cup holders or trays, but the Expedition has both parent and child trays and cup holders. The stroller’s trigger fold makes it easy to put the stroller in my trunk.

Baby Trend Stroller Pros

  • All terrain tires make traveling over rocky paths easy
  • Smooth ride, unless problem occurs with front wheel (see Baby Trend stroller cons below)
  • Stroller can accommodate a Baby Trend infant carrier car seat (not included)

Baby Trend Stroller Cons

  • Although the front wheel can be locked, it tends to jiggle while it swivels and it has fallen off during use, a fairly common problem with swivel wheels
  • Stroller seat must be fully reclined every time you fold up the stroller
  • Takes up a lot of trunk room

All-in-all, the Baby Trend Expedition is a decent stroller for the price, but it may not be the stroller for you if you plan on loading and unloading it from your car very often. It is not terribly easy to fold, and it is quite bulky.

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Best Tandem Sit and Stand Double Strollers

Sit and stand strollers are a great choice for parents with children that are close in age because they give toddlers the opportunity to stand on the stroller while their younger sibling rides comfortably up front. Tandem sit and stand double strollers feature two front seats in addition to a standing bar or standing platform for a third child in the rear.

You should always remember that buying a new stroller for your children is similar to purchasing a new car for yourself. Most people wouldn’t buy the first car they set eyes on or the cheapest car on the lot without conducting research and a test drive, and you should do the same when it comes to buying a stroller.

If you’re in the market for one of the best tandem sit and stand double strollers available today, you may want to consider the Baby Trend Sit N Stand Plus Double Stroller or the Joovy Big Caboose Stand On Triple Stroller.

Baby Trend Sit N Stand Plus Double Stroller

The Baby Trend Sit N Stand Plus double stroller is a versatile stroller for a growing family. Quite possibly the only stroller you’ll ever need, the Sit N Stand Plus is ideal for kids of all ages because one child can ride in the front while the second can sit in back or stand on the standing bar. The stroller seats fold down to accept up to two Baby Trend infant car seats which snap directly into the child trays without the use of additional adapters, making the Sit N Stand Plus the perfect for parents of twins.

Joovy Big Caboose Stand On Triple Stroller

The Joovy Big Caboose Stand On Triple Stroller is one of the best tandem sit and stand double strollers you’ll ever see. In addition to two comfortable front seats that can be removed to accommodate infant carrier car seats, the Joovy Big Caboose Stand On includes a rear platform and rear bend seat for a third child. Heads will definitely turn when you are seen in public pushing this wonderful stroller.

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Checking for Stroller Recalls

Your child’s safety and well-bring is of utmost importance— when buying products for your child, always remember that safety comes first. Occasionally, items are deemed unsafe and recalled by their manufacturer or the government to prevent injuries or deaths from occurring.  Parents must be aware that strollers, stroller accessories, car seats, cribs, toys and even foods or medications may be recalled for a variety of reasons.

In order to protect their children, it’s critical for parents to be aware of stroller recalls and safety alerts. Most stroller recalls are announced on television or in the newspaper, but there are other ways to learn about stroller recalls, including:

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Recalls and product safety news is easy to find at the the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website. The site provides the latest, up-to-date information about recalls in one place. Parents can easily see the latest recall notices, search for information about specific products and report unsafe products. Be sure to subscribe to email announcements from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to stay current on stroller recall and safety news.

To provide better service in alerting the American people to unsafe, hazardous or defective products, six federal agencies joined together to create, a helpful website considered a “one stop shop” for U.S. government recalls. You can search for stroller recalls, see photos of recalled products and learn what to do with recalled products if you own them.

Product Registration

Registering all products that you buy ensures that you will receive recall and safety notices from the companies that manufactured the products. Products for babies and children such as strollers, toys, car seats and many more come with product registration cards that you can mail in. Many manufacturers even offer online registration, a quick and easy way to register the products you have purchased.

Product Recall Bulletin Boards

Most large chain stores have bulletin boards where safety recalls are posted. Customers can easily look over the bulletin boards when they are in the store and check for information about recent recalls. Some pediatricians’ offices also post product safety information and recalls on bulletin boards.

Remember Stroller Recalls when Purchasing Used Strollers

Money is tight for many new parents. If you are considering buying a used stroller or borrowing one that a friend or family member no longer needs, be sure to check for any recalls before using the stroller for your child.

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Mom Review of the Chicco Capri Stroller

Umbrella strollers are convenient, lightweight strollers that are perfect when you have limited storage space. Luxurious Chicco strollers are among the most popular strollers in the world, and the Chicco Capri stroller is by far one of the nicest umbrella strollers I have tried. I purchased it when my daughter had outgrown the infant carrier car seat that snaps into our travel system stroller. It’s absolutely perfect when we have to run a quick errand.

Its aluminum frame is lightweight yet sturdy and fits through store aisles easily, unlike bulkier traditional strollers. Impressively, the Chicco Capri features storage pockets that are perfect for keys or snacks and a small storage basket—most umbrella strollers do not include storage space. The fabric is waterproof, which makes cleanups a breeze if my daughter spills snacks or drinks. The Chicco Capri also features a canopy that will help protect your child from sun and rain fairly well.

Chicco Stroller Pros

  • The stroller is lightweight yet sturdy
  • Includes storage space, unlike many umbrella strollers
  • Easy to push with a smooth ride
  • Seat is wide enough that most kids will fit comfortably even while holding a blanket or small toys
  • Stylish! I receive a lot of compliments on our Chicco Capri when we’re out in public

Chicco Stroller Cons

  • Some parents may not like the fact that this stroller has a three-point harness instead of a more-secure five-point harness
  • Fairly easy to kick the wheels while pushing it
  • Handles are not incredibly comfortable when pushing the stroller
  • As with most Chicco strollers, the Capri is more expensive than other umbrella strollers

All-in-all, I would recommend the Chicco Capri stroller to parents that want an umbrella stroller as a supplement their larger traditional stroller.

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Stroller Buying Guide for New Parents: Part 2

By now you have probably realized that all strollers are not created equally! Just as it is with cars, the prettiest, largest or even the most expensive stroller is not necessarily the best choice for your baby. When purchasing a new stroller for your child, you will want to consider the following helpful information about stroller size, usage, and available features.

Stroller Size

From umbrella strollers to double or triple jogging strollers, it’s obvious that some strollers are much bigger than others. When shopping for a stroller, always remember that size does matter! For example, parents that rely on subways, buses, and cabs for transportation will benefit most from a compact stroller that is lightweight yet sturdy and folds quickly. If their vehicle is large enough to accommodate it, parents that often walk or jog long distances may prefer a stroller with large, air-filled tires. These strollers are typically more shock-absorbing and feature cushioned seats that will add to the child’s comfort.

It’s common for parents to buy more than one stroller. Many choose to purchase a large traditional stroller or convenient travel system stroller and also buy a jogging stroller to use while exercising. Most parents also purchase a compact, lightweight umbrella stroller for use in situations where stroller storage space is limited or restricted. Just remember that umbrella strollers cannot be used for infants because they provide no support.

Stroller Usability and Stroller Features

When buying a new stroller, think about your needs and your baby’s needs. Newborns cannot support their own head and neck, and they spend most of their time sleeping. For those reasons, newborns require a stroller that can fully recline. Many parents opt for travel system strollers that include an infant carrier car seat because travel system strollers transition easily from the infant through toddler years. If you have more than one young child, you may benefit from a double stroller or a sit-and-stand stroller, as opposed to using two strollers.

The following features are also important for your consideration:

  • Materials. Higher-end strollers are typically made from high-grade, lighter-weight aluminum, which makes them easier to lift in and out of a car or navigate on and off buses. Also remember that your baby’s hygiene is of utmost importance, which is why the stroller you choose must have washable covers, preferably removable covers that can be taken off completely to clean.
  • Restraint System. A stroller must have a restraint system to keep your child secure and prevent them from falling out and being injured. A five-point harness secures a child firmly at the hips and the shoulders while a three-point harness does not include a shoulder harness. Your child should always be securely buckled and restrained when sitting in their stroller.
  • Wheels. Some stroller wheels are made of plastic while others are air-filled tires. Stroller wheel size also varies. In most cases, the larger the wheels, the easier the stroller is to navigate, but remember that bigger wheels will take up a lot more trunk space. Traditional strollers have four wheels while jogging strollers have three. Some jogging strollers have a fixed front wheel while others have a front wheel that swivels.
  • Brakes. Strollers have safety brakes, or parking brakes, that should be locked before putting your child in the stroller. Jogging strollers typically have a hand brake for quick, smooth stopping during use.
  • Canopy / Sun Shade. A canopy protects your baby from bright sunlight or rainy weather. Canopies range from a simple piece of fabric strung between two wires to pull-down versions that shield nearly the entire front of the stroller. Some canopies include a clear plastic window on top so the parent can see their child while pushing the stroller.
  • Handlebars. On higher-end strollers, handles may be padded or thickly cushioned. Adjustable handlebars can be extended or angled for use by people of different heights while reversible handles can swing over the top of the stroller and lock into a front position so the baby rides facing the parent. A single handlebar allows for one-handed steering and usually makes the stroller more stable. Umbrella strollers and other strollers with two separate handles almost always require both hands to push.
  • Cup holders / Trays. Many strollers have a cup holder and small tray in front for the child and one in the rear for the parent. The child’s tray can be used for snacks, small toys, or as a place to rest their hands while the parent’s tray is a convenient place for keys or a cell phone.

  • Storage. A storage basket located underneath the stroller should at least be large enough to accommodate a diaper bag. Some strollers also have storage pouches with elastic top edges or pockets in the back to give parents additional storage.
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Stroller Buying Guide for New Parents: Part 1

With so many different types and brands of strollers on the market, buying a stroller for the first time can be a confusing experience for new and expectant parents. In addition to price, you must consider your own needs as well as the needs of your baby. For example, some strollers are compact enough to fit in nearly any vehicle’s trunk, while others are too bulky to fit in compact cars. Some strollers can be used at each stage of your baby’s life, from newborn to toddler, while others are more age and size specific.  Let’s start with some common types of strollers.

Five Common Types of Strollers

Purchasing a stroller is a necessity for new parents, but strollers are not one-size-fits all. The information included in this stroller buying guide should help clear up any confusion you may have and help you make an informed decision.

Travel System Strollers

Perhaps the most popular type of stroller among new parents, travel system strollers conveniently combine an infant carrier car seat and stroller. The car seat locks into the stroller for easy transport while a stay-in-car base allows you to move your baby from stroller to car without disturbing his or her sleep.  Once your baby has outgrown the infant carrier you can switch to a traditional car seat yet continue to use the stroller alone as you would with any other traditional stroller. This allows you to use the travel system for a few years. Most travel system strollers fold quickly and easily for compact storage.

Jogging Strollers

Jogging strollers are three-wheeled strollers designed with active parents in mind. Jogging strollers give parents the ability to take their child along while they exercise, but it’s important to keep in mind that they do not fully recline and should not be used with children under the age of 6 months for that reason. In addition to their unique three-wheeled design, jogging strollers include a brake system and all-terrain wheels that are perfect for path or pavement. Most jogging strollers can accommodate children from 6 months up through age 4 or 5.

Double Strollers

If you’re the parent of twins or two children close in age, a double stroller may be your best choice. Double strollers are available as duo strollers in which the two children sit side-by-side, or as tandem strollers in which the children sit one behind the other. Some double strollers will also accommodate infant car seats, essentially making it a travel system stroller for two children. As with jogging strollers, double strollers can only be used for newborns if the seats fully recline.

Sit-and-Stand Strollers

Sit-and-stand strollers are ideal for parents of twins or siblings that are close in age. An alternative to double strollers, one child can sit in the front seat while the second child can stand on a small bar or platform that is located on the back of the stroller. Sit-and-stand strollers are a great option if your older child doesn’t like to ride or is too heavy for a double stroller.

Umbrella Strollers

Umbrella strollers are a basic, no-frills way to transport your child. They are inexpensive, lightweight and very compact. They are easy to fold and easy to take in and out of a vehicle. Most umbrella strollers even fit in overhead luggage compartments on airplanes, making them perfect to use while traveling. Although they are very easy to use, umbrella strollers may not be as comfortable for your child as larger strollers with padded seats. For that reason, most parents purchase an umbrella stroller to use in addition to a full-size stroller. Infants must have adequate head and neck control before using an umbrella stroller.

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