Tandem Strollers

Double and Triple Bundles of Joy

If you’re the lucky parent of multiples or if you have an infant and toddler in your household, walking them by yourself may sound next to impossible… unless you have a stroller made especially for more than one child. Tandem strollers offer the convenience of walking two (or three) children at the same time as comfortably as if you were walking just one. These strollers are also handy for carrying a child and groceries, once one child has outgrown it. They are available in a wide variety of fabrics and features. Double strollers are appropriate for newborns only when the full-reclining seat feature is available and can be used until your toddler is approximately 4 years old.

There are two types of double strollers:

  • Front-to-Back (Tandem) Style Front-to-back style: infants face forward, one in back of the other. These strollers fold easily and compactly for storage or travel. For maneuverability, this is a good choice; however, there is that “front seat” issue. Some models, however, do give the back seat a “boost” so that both babies can enjoy the view. The front-to-back style is best if you have an older child and a newborn. Features may include: a single canopy hood, separate canopies, individually reclining seats, rear wheel brakes, fully retractable rear seat for a sleeping infant, removable/washable pads, separate footrests, and restraining straps with safety buckle.
  • Side-by-Side Style Infants sit next to each other. These strollers are lightweight and fold quickly and compactly. Most will fit through normal-size doorways, although due to their sheer width it can be difficult to maneuver this “minivan” of sorts through grocery stores, crowded events, or if your children vary greatly in size or weight. The side-by-side style is most commonly used by parents of twins (or two or more children of comparable weight). Features may include: European styling, thick padding, removable/washable pads, individually reclining seats, single shared canopy, storage basket, footrest, and restraining straps with safety buckle.

A great choice to consider is the Baby Jogger City Select or the BOB Revolution SE Duallie Stroller – both have been rated very highly by parents.

Age range: As with the single stroller, if the seats recline fully, the stroller is appropriate for a newborn. You can use it until your children are 3 to 4 years old.

Strollers We Love

Travel Systems

A Convenient Package

One of the most convenient innovations in the stroller industry in recent years has been the travel system–a convenient stroller and infant car seat in one. The infant car seat provides head, back, and neck support for your newborn, while keeping baby in a comfortable, reclined position, just like a carriage. With the stay-in-car base feature, the infant car seat can also be used as an infant carrier. This allows you to take the infant car seat from the car to stroller and vice versa without ever disturbing your baby. Many travel system manufacturers have designed these strollers so that the car seat inserts with baby facing you. However, there are styles that allow you to insert the car seat so that baby can either face toward you or away from you. Either style will offer your baby a comfortable and secure ride. Once baby outgrows the infant car seat, it can be removed, converting the system into a convenience stroller. The stroller’s own seating and restraint system is used until your child is approximately 4 years old. These strollers are designed to fold quickly, easily, and compactly for storage, and offer many features that will make it a comfortable ride… for both of you.

Stroller features may include: Child play tray; parent cup holder; 3-point or 5-point harness system (not overhead); removable, washable pad; all-terrain, swivel wheels; brakes that set with a lever or foot pedal; seat recline; and storage basket.

Infant car seat features may include: Canopy, level indicator, ergonomically designed handle, head cushion, stay-in-car base.

Age range: Newborn (for car seat) to toddler (stroller).

Check out the Britax B-Agile Travel System or the Baby Trend Expedition – two travel systems that have been getting consistently great reviews from parents.

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Lightweight & Umbrella Strollers

A Featherweight Backup

Light as a feather and easy to fold, lightweight strollers generally offer the most basic features and are made to store easily in an overhead bin, trunk, or closet. While these lightweight models are unbeatable for quick jaunts to the store, many parents find that they aren’t as comfortable for children on longer stints as their midsize or full-size counterparts. Still, many parents feel a lightweight stroller is great to have when a buggy, pram, or travel system is too unwieldy (while traveling, for example).

Ultralightweight models, dubbed “umbrella” because of their hooked handles, are best when used as a second stroller. If you are looking for a lightweight, affordable stroller that’s easy to take along for the ride (or toss in the trunk of your car), this would be the perfect choice. Do keep in mind, however, that umbrella strollers are not recommended for use with newborns or infants who require a fully reclining seat and head and neck support. Featuring aluminum frames and weighing as little as 5 pounds, most umbrella models offer a safety device that prevents accidental closing. Umbrella strollers are available in a wide range of prices according to the features offered, and will last you well into the early preschool years (3 to 4).

Features may include: Aluminum frames, semi-reclining seat (some fully recline), canopy, one-step fold, locking swivel wheels, and super lightweight.

Lightweight Umbrella Stroller Age range: If the lightweight stroller reclines fully, it is safe for a newborn; however, most umbrella strollers do not fully recline or have suspension features, so to make sure your baby is in the appropriate age range for these strollers, it is best to wait until baby is at least 4 to 6 months old.

We especially liked the the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller, a stroller which has many reviewers raving. If you can afford to spend a bit more on a stroller, the excellent Joovy Caboose Ultralight Stroller should be on the top of your list. This fine stroller is comfortable for both parent and little rider, and is the first choice of many parents we know.

Umbrella Strollers We Love

Mid-Size Strollers

Compact and Portable

Midsize strollers are designed to be portable and fold easily and compactly. You will most likely find the greatest range of prices ($40 to $500) and features in this category. Made of aluminum, the frames are relatively lightweight (typically just over 15 pounds), durable, and easy to maintain. Because of these features, they offer a smooth ride for city dwellers or those who enjoy longer walks. Because they are a bit heavier than a lightweight, they are sometimes not the best choice for travel. Although the convenient midsize strollers will offer your infant a safe and comfortable ride indoors and outdoors, only those models that offer a full-reclining seat feature are appropriate for use with newborns.

Features may include: Easy-to-use folding mechanism, midweight body (typically just over 15 pounds), canopy, and roomy storage basket. Deluxe models may include features like a fully reclining seat, extendable handle, and larger, all-terrain wheels.

Age range: If a midsize stroller fully reclines (and most do), it is safe for your newborn.

Our favorite stroller in this category is the B-Agile 3 Stroller by Britax. A solid, versatile stroller, and a great all-around choice. If you can afford to spend a bit more on your stroller, the UPPABaby Vista Stroller is a favorite among parents and should be on the top of your list.

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Full-Size Strollers

Considered the “limousine” of baby strollers, full-size strollers offer numerous convenience and comfort options. Although heavier than other styles, there are some full-size models designed with aluminum frames for easier maneuvering as well as rust-resistance. Ranging from English-style buggies to feature-rich rugged models, the full-size stroller is a great all-purpose pick. Most are typically convertible–that is, they can be used as a carriage or a stroller, so they grow with your baby. Full-size strollers are appropriate for newborns because they have a full-recline feature, shock-absorbing suspension system, and oversize wheels to keep baby comfortable while strolling over varying terrain, and they remain suitable for use until your child reaches approximately 3 or 4 years of age.

Features may include: Multiple-position seat recline and strong back support, removable weather boot, extra seat padding, removable front tray, large storage basket, European-style canopy, reversible handle for conversion to carriage, dual wheel brakes, and adjustable footrest.

Age range: If the stroller reclines fully, it is appropriate for a newborn. It can be used with children up to 3 to 4 years of age.

Our favorite stroller is without a doubt the Bugaboo Cameleon3 Complete Stroller, a stroller that combines function, style, durability and most importantly safety to keep your baby happy and comfortable.

Strollers We Love

Understanding Toy Safety

How can you be sure a toy is safe for your child?

Keep in mind that the government doesn’t test all toys. Most toys are packaged in ways that make it difficult for the purchaser to identify potential safety hazards in the store. And most consumers just do not know what to look out for when toy shopping.

The following tips for toys safety will help you shop wisely and safely for your child and teach you how to tell the difference between safe toys and dangerous toys.

Be vigilant shoppers. You should examine toys carefully for hidden dangers before making a purchase. Always buy toys from a vendor you know and trust.

If a toy looks unsafe, don’t buy it. If you see small parts or a small ball or a balloon and don’t see a choke hazard warning, call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Keep small parts away from your toddlers, particularly if an older child has toys with small parts.

Toys with small parts, small balls and marbles are banned for sale if intended for children under 3. If intended for older children, these toys, and balloons, must include a choking hazard warning. The 1994 Child Safety Protection Act requires the following warning on toys intended for children 3-5 years old, containing small parts:

Warning! Choking Hazard! Small Parts, not for children under 3 years.

Select toys to suit the age, abilities, skills, and interest level of the intended child. Toys too advanced may pose safety hazards to younger children.

Do not purchase electric toys with heating elements for children under age eight.

Discard of plastic wrappings on toys immediately, which can cause suffocation, before they become deadly playthings.

If you are unsure of the durability of a toy that may break into small parts, don’t buy it! Look for sturdy construction, such as tightly secured eyes, noses, and other potential small parts.

Look for labels that give age recommendations and use that information as a guide.

For all children under age eight, avoid toys that have sharp edges and points.

Balloons were responsible for over 50 deaths since 1990. Always supervise children with balloons, inflated or not. Keep balloons away from children under 8. Buy mylar balloons instead of latex to avoid the choking hazard. And remember, if a balloon bursts while a child is blowing it up, it could be inhaled.

Children as old as 5 have choked to death on small balls and marbles as large as 1.75 inches. Small balls intended for children under 3 must be larger than 1.75 inches. Be careful of ball-like beads and other round objects.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and toys containing Phthalates have been linked with liver and kidney problems and are probable human carcinogens and have been banned by the European Union for use in teething toys intended for children under 3. Parents should not expose their children to toxic phthalate chemicals in any toy. Unfortunately, no U.S. law requires disclosure – and many toys made of PVC are labeled “non-toxic”. Any soft plastic toy may pose a hazard unless marked as PVC or phthalate-free. Call the manufacturer to find out if the toy contains phthalates or PVC.

The CPSC reports that there were more than 4,000 scooter-related injuries in August of 2000 alone and more than 9,400 emergency room treated injuries reported in the first nine months of 2000. Nearly 90 percent of the injuries are to children under 15 years old. To prevent injuries while using scooters and in-line skates always wear proper safety gear including a helmet that meets CPSC’s standard, and knee and elbow pads, and wrist pads. Scooters and skates should be used on smooth, paved surfaces without any traffic. Avoid streets, or surfaces with water, sand, gravel or dirt. Do not ride the scooter or use the skates at night.

Strings, cords, and necklaces can strangle infants. Infant toys that include cords can present a strangulation hazard if the cord is put around an infant’s neck. The American Society for Testing and Materials (“ASTM”) voluntary standard for pull toys states that in “pull toys intended for children under 36 months, cords and elastics greater than 12 inches long shall not be provided with beads or other attachments that could tangle to form a loop”. Parents should remove beads, knobs, or other attachments from their child’s pull toy cord if the cord is over 12 inches long.

Make sure to only buy crib toys from reputable sources. Examine crib toys for possible strangulation hazards, look at the labeling of the toy and at the length of any cords or strings. Crib gyms (toys that are stretched across the crib) should always be removed from the crib when babies can get up on hands and knees (or at the latest 7 months old). Crib toys should not have cords or strings longer than 6 inches.

Projectile Toys can cut skin, blind or deafen a child who is struck in the eye or ear. Projectile toys now come in many more forms than simple, old fashioned rubber dart guns – including foot-bellows-powered rocket launchers, mechanical windup or string powered hand launchers for flying dolls or more powerful dart guns or slingshot or crossbow-like toys.

We urge parents and toy-givers to be wary of all hard-tipped or powerful projectile toys, which can self-inflict injury on the child playing with the toy or hurt others. Keep projectile toys away from children under 3. Supervise older children and teach older children about the dangers of aiming projectiles at the face or of using substitute projectiles.

Watch out for children’s makeup kits that may contain toxics – such as toluene in nail polish. Toluene is flammable, can irritate the nose, throat eyes, can make consumers feel dizzy and repeated exposure can cause low blood cell counts and damage the liver and kidneys. Parents should read labels carefully and only purchase non-toxic nail makeup kits, craft kits and other products.

Infant bath seats are not recommended for use until 6 months of age, when most infants can sit securely. Once an infant can pull up (generally between 7 and 9 months of age) or attempt to stand while holding onto objects, infant bath seats should be discontinued, since the infant could climb from the seat. Families should not purchase bath seats found on retail shelves or at yard sales and should not use bath seats loaned by friends and family. Parents and caregivers should never leave a baby alone in the water and should always keep the child in arms’ reach.

Great Toys for Babies

Jogger Strollers

Take Baby Jogging, Safely

Want to bring baby along for the workout or for an adventure in the great outdoors? You’ll recognize a jogger stroller by its unique design. Many baby joggers are three-wheeled vehicles, complete with comfortable seating, a parking brake, a storage basket, and all-terrain wheels. Most are made to fold quickly, easily, and compactly and are great for travel. Because jogger strollers don’t offer a fully reclining seat, most pediatricians recommend not using them until your child’s 6-month mark. Most joggers can hold up to 75 pounds, but truth be told, your child will probably outgrow the seat before then. Also keep in mind (with young babies in particular) that while most jogger models are designed for some bumps along the trail, if you are planning on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or are traveling over very rough and rocky terrain, it’s probably best to leave baby safely at home or try a backpack instead.

If you are a serious road runner, look for smooth tires on your jogger–the bigger, the better. If you will be running on fire trails, strolling to a soccer game, and so forth, knobby tires, with better traction, are the way to go. If you live in a wet climate you may want to invest in aluminum rims and an aluminum frame (which prevents rusting and is more lightweight). While aluminum strollers are typically more expensive, you’ll probably find that it is worth it in the long run.

We especially like the BOB Revolution FLEX, and the more rugged BOB Revolution Pro, which is a joy on all terrain types.

Features may include: All-terrain wheels; wrist strap; hand brake; durable, weatherproof fabric; sturdy construction; adjustable handlebar height; better suspension; and a storage pouch.

Age range: Most pediatricians recommend waiting until your baby is approximately 6 months of age. Depending on its size, you can use this type of stroller well into the toddler years.

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