For families on a budget, quality and affordability are incredibly important when shopping for baby gear. Strollers tend to have a wide range of prices, ranging from less than $20 to nearly $1,000. The many choices available, coupled with the huge range of prices, make for a confusing shopping experience for lots of moms and dads. Sometimes it’s more important to know what strollers to avoid, rather than what features to look for.
To me, the worst strollers have cheaply made parts that are impossible to replace. They don’t unfold with ease, and they are typically less safe and sturdy than the great buys. Parents expect the strollers they purchase to include basic features:
- Ease of use
Stay away from the Bear River Pro Jogging Stroller
One major flop of a stroller was the now-discontinued Bear River Pro Jogging Stroller (27/100), which basically fell apart when parents attempted jogging with their babies. Reviewers reported that spokes from the tires actually came loose and caused flats. The wheels were randomly coming off and the entire thing was cheaply made.
But when the great jogging strollers like the BOB SE Revolution (97/100) run about $450, some parents just can’t afford that option. Jogging or running with kids creates a good amount of momentum, and many people exercise near traffic and other hazards. A stroller that runs the risk of losing a wheel mid-run is a danger to the baby riding along.
For a jogging stroller to be safe, keep in mind that you shouldn’t run with an infant under six months of age unless your particular model of jogger comes with an infant car seat adapter—and many do. You’ll also want to check out the front wheel of your jogger: does it lock in place or swivel? This is important! A locked wheel can keep you and your baby on a safe trajectory, without running the risk of accidentally misstepping and pushing the stroller into traffic. And speaking of traffic, avoid running near moving cars whenever possible to minimize risk to you and your child. Finally, be sure to use the harness that comes with your jogging stroller to strap your child in as safely as possible. Even a well-made stroller can be a risk if not used properly.
Avoid flimsy strollers
Another stroller to avoid is the Cosco Umbria Convenience Stroller (54/100). One reviewer mentions that this stroller would be appropriate for a doll, but not a child. It’s not designed well, and seems to be on a smaller scale than most convenience strollers.
“When you go to remove the child from the seat of the stroller, their thighs get stuck on the snack tray and I feel like I have to scrape his legs to get him out of the stroller. Whoever designed this stroller, obviously didn’t do any practice runs with it before they put it on the market” —this2shallpass19, Reviewer since 2008
One widely available stroller that is on the ‘worst strollers’ list is the Kolcraft Umbrella Stroller (69/100). The idea of a stroller that’s available in almost every Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R Us for less than $20 is not a bad idea, but in practice, this is a major money waster. It’s flimsy, difficult to fold and unreliable (the wheels are notorious for dragging on the ground instead of turning!).
“This stroller, the Kolcraft Happy Giraffe Stroller, is terrible! The wheels get stuck way too much! I love how lightweight it is, but the steering is horrible!” —sherrijorge, Reviewer since 2008
Strollers are sometimes hit or miss. The worst strollers have missed the boat in design, function and safety. Don’t waste your money on a stroller that’s just going to give you a headache while out and about with your child.