The perfect pram - does it really exist? The answer is yes, there’s a perfect pram out there for everyone. It just comes down to expectations, what you need and what you want, and finding the compromise between the two.
In more detail, what features of a pram are essential to your family’s needs, and which are ok to compromise on? Are two prams necessary, or is there one out there that will accommodate all of your needs?
When assessing the type and brand of pram you need, you should keep in mind the following.
Budget is an essential aspect before you even get to the ‘trying out’ stage. If you fall in love with a pram that doesn’t fit into your budget, you may end up disappointed.
When deciding on your budget, you should keep in mind that a pram is an investment - it should last you for as long as your child needs to be in the pram. For this reason, spending more to ensure you get a high quality pram that will last the years is important. Yes there are cheap prams available, but if they only hold up for three or four months then over the years you will spend more than you would have to purchase a better quality pram upfront.
Another important aspect to remember is that high quality does not have to mean expensive - there are affordable options for parents who still want the highest quality pram for their child.
The pram is all about the kids, right? Well to some extent, yes. We’ll discuss your needs as parents a bit later, but for now let’s focus on the riders. The question is: how many kids do you have or are likely to have? And will they need to use the pram together?
For some parents, the decision to purchase a single pram works. They’ll deal with the possible need for a double pram later down the track when necessary. For others, the potential of the pram is what matters. What do we mean when we say potential? Well, how many children can it fit? There are plenty of prams out there on the market, such as our JIVE2, that can turn from a single pram to a double with the simple addition of a second seat.
There’s also, of course, the age of the kids to consider. Children have different requirements depending on how old they are. The best kind of prams are ones that grow with your child - this means that as one child becomes too old for the pram, their younger sibling can move into their seat.
Newborns will need to lie flat (or almost flat) when they’re in the pram, so finding one with either a bassinet attachment or one where the seat lies in a flat position is key. When thinking about the pram, you’ll also need to consider whether you’re purchasing a capsule for the car and, if so, whether you want the capsule to be compatible with the pram. Of course, the beauty of this is if your baby falls asleep in the pram or car, you don’t have to wake him or her - simply transfer the capsule. This is known as a ‘travel system’, and you can read more about it here.
As your baby moves out of the newborn phase, they’re likely to want to investigate the world around them. It’s also highly possible that during this time they’re going to grow out of the bassinet feature. So, here’s where you have two choices. Do you find a pram where the seat can face you and outward? Or do you find a pram where the seat only faces out? This is very much a personal decision and there are advantages and disadvantages to both options, however if you would like the option to have your child facing either direction then it is recommended that you choose a pram with a reversible seat.
Many toddlers are usually itching to get out of the seat as soon as they possibly can, which is why an easy harness is a plus for this age group. Easy doesn’t have to mean unsafe - for example, our 5-point safety harness provides a high level of protection to your child without being overly complicated for a parent to use.
If you think you’re going to need the pram until your child goes to pre-school, it’s definitely worth looking at a seat that will serve for a child up to 20kg in weight.
Of course, for some families by the time your older child is three or four, there’s a sibling to consider. In this case, do you purchase one pram that can do everything, or two prams that can suit different situations? The answer is it depends on your needs - if you’re going to be managing the kids alone, then one pram is preferable.
A pram needs to suit the family lifestyle just as much as it needs to suit the baby. If you’re a travelling family, or you’re always on the go, an easy to fold, compact pram is a good option. . If you live in a rural area or go on quite a few hikes with rugged terrain, you’re going to need a pram that can deal with different road surfaces. If you’re a running family,, it’s best to find a pram that can handle the bumps and movement that comes along with your daily jogs.
For all situations, it’s worth looking at how much the pram weighs without the child in it and how easy it is to fold. This isn’t just for use of getting it in and out of the car - even if you prefer to walk with your child there are times it will be necessary to fold up your pram.
When considering the weight of the pram itself, remember that the way the pram manoeuvres will differ according to the weight that’s in it. Opting for a pram that caters to larger weights will give you the most versatility with manoeuvrability, as it will have been designed to accommodate this heavier weight.
The safety factor
The safety of children should always be of the highest priority, and you should ensure that your child is 100% safe in their new set of wheels.The most important thing to do first is check that any pram you’re purchasing complies with Australian safety standards, that it’s independently tested and that all the safety features are present.
Here’s what to look for:
Airflow is crucial. Prams can get stuffy. Look for netting on the side or at the head of the pram. This will ensure proper airflow through the pram or stroller and keep your child cool inside.
- Five-point safety harness
Pretty much as it sounds, there are five straps that all connect at a single central buckle – two shoulder straps, two waist straps and a crotch strap. Importantly, the design should be that when the buckle is released, all five straps should release from one another.
- Tether strap
This goes over your wrist allowing you to secure the stroller to your hand so it doesn’t roll away.
- Head barrier
If your pram fully reclines, the head barrier will prevent children from slipping through the head end of the pram. You should ensure that the head barrier is not able to be removed by children to prevent an accident occurring without your knowledge.
Make sure the rear brakes are a simple action in the event that you must quickly stop the pram. For example, the Redsbaby brake requires a simple foot press.
The style features
The style features of a pram may not sound like the most important element when buying, but they are most definitely a significant choice factor. After all, this pram will be a consistent accessory when going out and so you want something that will suit your style.
When looking at prams, quality fabric is a must. Remember, a child will spend hours upon hours in a pram cumulatively. They’re bound to eat and drink in there and, regardless of how neat and tidy you think your child is, its inevitable that milk, crumbs, or whatever they like to snack on, will appear on the fabric.
Find a pram with material that can be cleaned easily and quickly. And remember, quality material makes a difference when it comes to the comfort of your child too. It can get hot for kids in prams, so the better the fabric, the more comfortable your child will be.
Another crucial style feature is the wheels, and this will most likely come back to what kind of lifestyle you lead and how you plan to use the pram. This is mainly because the type of wheels a pram has reflects how well it manoeuvres. The wider the wheelbase, the steadier the pram is – the broader base at the back helps with the stability. Also, the larger the wheels, the better equipped they are at dealing with rougher terrains.
You should keep in mind that the larger the wheels, the less likely your pram is going to fit into a small car boot. Additionally, pay attention to whether the wheels are rubber or whether they require air, and whether they are swivel wheels or locked into place.
In terms of the rubber vs. air debate, keep in mind that air-filled wheels may puncture and will require ongoing maintenance in the form of pumping the tyres up.
In terms of pram handles, it’s important to remember that a number of different people may be handling the pram (parents, family, caretakers etc.) and there may be a height discrepancy between these people. Always ensure those who are going to be using the pram the most, try the pram at a Redsbaby Demo Day.
Extras and accessories
While the first priority when researching for a pram should be the safety features, and the general style of a pram, the accessories and extras that are available should not be overlooked. For example, adequate weather protection options such as waterproofing covers should be considered, and in Australia protection from the summer sun is an essential aspect - consider a wide hood pram for the best protection.
An additional extra you should consider is if there is adequate storage space available - which goes back to your lifestyle again. While most parents will want to keep some things in the bottom of the pram for easy access (some wipes, a wrap or blanket, sunscreen etc), other parents will use the basket for groceries and shopping. Make sure there is enough storage room in the pram for what you need.
Ultimately only you can decide what pram is right for you. To try out a Redsbaby pram for yourself before buying, book into a Demo Day near you.