Are you struggling to get your head around the confusing world of prams and pushchairs? Trust me, you’re not the only one! With the huge range of options out there for new parents, it can feel like any decision you make might turn out to be the wrong one.
Luckily here at Baby & Co, it’s literally our job to know every pushchair and pram inside out so that we can provide you with the very best advice to help you choose the perfect pram that suits your family’s needs.
So what is the difference between a pram, pushchair, buggy and stroller? How long does your baby need to lie-flat for? What features should you be looking out for when picking a pushchair?
In this guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know before buying a pram and give you a few suggestions based on our customers' favourite picks over the years.
But first, let’s tackle the key questions we regularly get asked by parents.
Prams, Pushchairs, Buggies and Strollers - What’s the difference?
To begin with, we’ll start with the easiest and more clear-cut differences that every parent needs to know, and these generally revolve around age suitability.
Prams differ from strollers in that prams are suitable from birth to around 6 months, they allow your child to lie-flat in a carrycot to support your little one’s growing spine as it develops. Strollers by comparison generally support toddlers from 6 months upwards to around 3-4 years meaning that they tend to be more lightweight and compact as a general rule.
So what's the difference between a pushchair, a stroller, and a buggy?
This is where it can get a bit confusing, as these words are often used interchangeably and so you have to be careful about reading the specifics before buying.
Often, a pushchair will come with a carrycot included, meaning it can be used either as a pram or as a pushchair depending on the age of your child. This also allows you to switch from parent-facing to forward-facing as you need, meaning that pushchairs are generally seen as the more versatile option as there’s a lot of different ways you can configure them and they last your child longer than a regular pram would.
Strollers or buggies, on the other hand, tend to be suitable from 6 months upwards, and because of this are usually more lightweight - some frames weighing less than 5kg - making them a bit quicker and easier to push around as a result.
They also tend to be easily collapsible, which can help make transporting and storing them a lot easier than it might be with a conventional pushchair which makes them perfect for day trips with your toddler. Because of these features strollers and buggies are generally a bit cheaper than pushchairs, particularly when they don't have a newborn lie-flat option, but then aren't as likely to be used every day like with a pushchair.
Strollers vs. Buggies
The difference between a buggy and a stroller tends to come down to the individual company’s choice of wording and so they often end up meaning the same thing. That being said, in our experience strollers are generally more geared towards city-life and manoeuvring through busy streets, while buggies often have a more outdoorsy, all-terrain feel to them. It does vary from brand to brand though, so make sure you check the specs before buying!
What type of pushchair do I need for a newborn?
Newborn babies should be carried in a lie-flat position until between 3-6 months old, this encourages a healthy oxygen flow, promoting good respiratory and circulatory health as well as helping to protect their developing spine.
Most prams come with a carrycot to allow your baby to rest in this position, but you can also find many pushchair bundles that will include a carrycot, or even enable 180-degree-lie-flat reclining so there’s no need for a carrycot at all.
It's important to note that while a lie-flat position is ideal for your baby in the newborn stages, once they are able to roll-over, sit up or crawl, it can become dangerous for them to remain in a carrycot or lie-flat position so this can be an indication that they may be ready for the next stage of pushchair.
What features are important when buying a pram or pushchair?
This all depends on how you think you will use it in your day-to-day life. There are so many different features, styles, and accessories to factor into your final decision that the options really are endless when it comes to buying a pushchair.
Don’t let this discourage you though! There are a few key features you can consider to help you navigate through the chaos, so we’ve compiled a convenient checklist of the top 5 features worth thinking about to help you narrow it down.
1. Location, location, location
Do you live in a city or the countryside? Will you mainly be nipping around busy streets or strolling through tranquil country lanes? Location is important when it comes to picking a pram as it can mean the difference between a nice trip out, and one filled with awkward maneuvers and endless frustration.
The main things to consider here are WWS; Weight, Wheels, Suspension. Do I want something lightweight to zip around with or something heavier but more sturdy? How many wheels do I need and what type of wheel should they be? Do I need a 4-wheel suspension or will normal suspension be fine?
Don't worry, while this might seem like a lot to take in, it becomes relatively simple once you start having a look. For example with tires, a good place to start is looking into puncture-proof or foam-filled tyres as these tend to be more reliable than your average, run-of-the-mill tire. Likewise, 3-wheelers are often a good choice for runners as they are generally easier to handle and a bit more streamlined than a regular 4-wheel pushchair.
These factors will all be dependent on where you will mainly be using the pushchair, and there are plenty of options to suit all different types of locations. These days you can even get motorised pushchairs to help take the pressure off when travelling uphill!
2. Functionality & Practicality
It’s important to consider what matters the most to you and make a decision based on that. Many brands out there were actually founded around specific interests, for example, Mountain Buggy came into existence as one man's mission to find a stroller that would allow him to roam off into the New Zealand mountains with his new baby!
Other factors you might consider are how you get around when you’re not using the pram. If you generally drive, then will the pram fit into the boot of your car? Likewise, if you often take the bus, then having a pushchair that folds down quickly and compactly will be of more concern to you than whether it is travel system compatible.
Also if you can, try to include all potential pram-pushers in the buying process as something like height difference can mean the difference between comfortable strolling for Mum and a painful back for Dad. Many strollers have telescoping handlebars to accommodate varying heights, but it’s always good to take them on a test drive in-store to ensure you’ve got the right one to suit your family.
When your baby is in the newborn stage, then a well-ventilated carrycot is important in order to maintain a comfortable and safe climate for them to sleep in. There are various options when it comes to carrycots that you might want to consider. Most prams come with a carrycot included but they can vary in style and features such as aerated inlays, antibacterial bamboo fabric lining, vented bases, and many more!
At toddler age, there are even more options to choose from. From multi-
There's plenty of options to choose from and as no two children are the same it's definitely worth shopping around to find the perfect stroller to keep your little one comfy and cozy all day long.
Many brands offer sleek designs that look stylish wherever you are such as Cybex who offer the choice of rose gold, matt black or chrome chassis, and Silver Cross who have been known for their chic designs since 1877. Designer buggies tend to cost a bit more but you're going to be using it every day for the next few years, so it's worth it.
With a host of options to choose from, it's getting easier to find a stroller you love the look of meaning whatever your style, there’s sure to be something out there to suit you.
5. Growing FamiliesIf you’re expecting twins or are planning on growing your family in the future it might be worth considering a twin or tandem stroller. There are plenty of prams and pushchairs to choose from to provide the best travel comfort for your twins from day one all the way through to pre-school.
If a twin stroller seems like a good fit for your family then there's plenty of options out there and many brands like Out 'n' About and Cosatto have whole ranges of double pushchairs designed to suit every lifestyle so you can always find a double to match your needs.
If you love the hustle and bustle of a big city or couldn't imagine living anywhere but your little cottage, then it's possible that a side-by-side double isn't quite your style. Thankfully nowadays, most pushchair manufacturers understand the need for a more space-conscious double stroller and have come up with the very clever tandem pushchair - an in-line stroller, if you will.
Tandem pushchairs are great for space-saving, but being long as opposed to wide can make them a little heavier and mean they're less sturdy off-road, generally better suited to paths and pavements. Also, if you're looking for a tandem for twins, it's worth checking the weight limits of both seats as some companies design their tandem strollers with siblings in mind, meaning one has a lower weight limit than the other.
There’s a range of tandem pushchairs that can allow tons of neat configurations. Graco and Joie offer a variety of choices to suit different needs while other brands like Nuna and Uppababy pride themselves on the versatility and adaptability of their pushchairs. With the right accessories, some tandem strollers can even carry up to three children at a time!
What accessories do I need?
Pushchair maintenance and safety standards
In terms of safety, all prams and pushchairs must meet the European Standard EN 1888:2012 and will carry a label to inform you that they do meet this high standard.
Most pushchairs will also come with a useful maintenance guide in the handbook you receive upon purchase, you can also look this up on the manufacturers' website if you need. When it comes to maintenance, the main things to look out for are lubrication of the chassis to ensure good movement and handling.
Brushing down the tires and giving the harness a wipe down is also a good idea to keep them clean and shiny over the messy years to come and a lot of pushchairs nowadays offer removable seat covers that are machine washable to make cleaning up after spills easier and less hassle.
If you want your stroller to last for several generations, many also feature seat liners and colour packs that can be interchanged, so if your seat is getting a little old and worn out then you can simply buy a new seat without needing to purchase a whole new pushchair.
That's all for everything you might want to consider when looking for the ideal pushchair for your family. We hope that this has helped you navigate the complex world of prams and pushchairs and given you a good idea of what you want from your baby stroller.