Stroller Features That Matter to Me

Two and a half year old child riding in BOB motiong stroller with balloon baseball bat and baseball to swing at

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Get the Right Stroller for Your Needs

Two and a half year old child riding in BOB motiong stroller with balloon baseball bat and baseball to swing at
  • What: Stroller features
  • When: Birth to five years
  • Why: Get the right stroller
  • Where: Amazon

I’ve pushed so many strollers over 25 years of taking care of children. After all that, I have a good idea what matters for me, and our lifestyle. Everyone has different needs and wants, but I like to think everyone hunts for the perfect stroller that can do it all without weighing a ton or breaking the bank. While I haven’t found that stroller perfection yet, I do know what to look for in my kid’s wheels. Here’s my list.

Mom, child walking, and preschooler riding in BOB motion stroller on sidewalk in front of lawn and castle old town towers in Krakow
When you travel with kids, you want one hand free.

One handed push: I have multiple children and travel too much to put two hands on a stroller. (Plus my steps don’t get counted when my hands don’t move!) I like to have one hand free for wrestling other children, crossing the street safely, walking the dog, or pulling a suitcase, sometimes all at the same time. Until I sprout an extra pair of hands, a one handed push remains at the top of the list. And sadly, you can only tell by trying a stroller in person, yet another reason to buy strollers secondhand. You can check reviews for this particular feature, but website don’t usually list it.

Joovy ultralight Groove umbrella stroller in red folded on floor
I only have one hand to fold a stroller.

One handed fold: I will compromise on this feature, though if I use it getting to an airplane or going in a car, it needs to have a one handed fold. I don’t like to put everything down, including my small children, to take care of my finicky folding stroller. I want one hand, preferably one button, and done. 

Suspension wheels: I don’t need a jogging stroller, but I do need a stroller that can handle cobblestones, uneven sidewalks, curbs without ramps cut into them, and various other urban obstacles. Plus the cushier ride for my sleeping child comes in handy, too.

Infant riding in red Joovy Ultralight umbrella stroller parked on the grass
I need a stroller that can handle offroad terrain and stay where I park it.

Brakes: I need to park my stroller with my child in it and be certain it will stay put. I want brakes that work. Once the brakes go, I will not use the stroller anymore, so they need to be sturdy and durable and up to the challenge of being engaged and released countless times per day. I also prefer a little help getting down steep hills with heavy loads, but if the brake only works for parking, that will do.

Child sleeping in Bugaboo Frog stroller with sunshade pulled down
A big sunshade makes naps on the go much simpler.

Big sunshade: No sunshade can be too big, unless it doesn’t retract. I want a shade that can keep the winter sun on the horizon out my of my kids eyes as well as rain blowing in from almost any direction. Bonus points if I can maneuver it where I need it.

Peek a boo window: What’s the point of having a gloriously large sun shade if I can’t see my child? We have a luxury stroller with no window in the shade. Sure, I can switch the handle and take a look, or stop and  bend over, but why bother when you can put a clear window in the shade?

Kid standing next to child in stroller loaded down with bags on train platform
I haul a lot of things, not just kids, and my stroller should, too.

Storage: I haul more than just three kids. I transport groceries and beach toys and bikes and who knows what else we might need when we dare to set foot outside the house with small humans. I need a basket that can handle all my stuff with ease. That means I shouldn’t have to finagle things sideways to get them in there. It also means it shouldn’t drag the ground when I load it up. And it ought to be big enough for at least one diaper bag, preferably more, all without getting in the way of my stride.

Empty stroller with bags handing off back handle with kid passed out on sofa in background
My stroller should carry everything without tipping even if my kid isn’t in it.

Stability: I hang things off the stroller handle. From diaper bags to sand buckets to bike helmets to actual kids, pretty much everything will hang there at some point, with or without my assistance. I need a stroller that doesn’t tip over when I have extra weight on the handle. I’d like one that stays upright even when my kid comes out. But if it tips with my kid inside, I don’t want it. Again, it can be hard to tell about this feature until you try it out in person, but it stays high on the list of requirements for me.

BOB Motion stroller folded into back of Mazda 5 microvan
The lock on my stroller automatically engages, yet I can release it with one finger.

Automatic lock for folding: When I fold the stroller, with hopefully little effort (see one handed fold above), I want it to stay that way, without any extra steps or buttons needed. I hate folding a stroller and picking it up to stow it only to have it pop open again. Then I have to start the process all over. The lock needs to engage without me having to do anything. I have enough to think about making sure my kids don’t run into the road or down the jetway and don’t need to be distracted by rogue stroller movements. I also want it to be easy to unlock (with one hand!) when I want to unfold it, but not before.

Toddler riding in Joovy Groove Ultralight umbrella stroller with preschooler child riding on board the back
My stroller needs to be able to handle multiple children and some bags handing off the back while I push it with one hand.

In case you want more info on the strollers pictured in this post, check out our Bugaboo Frog review, Joovy Groove Ultralight review, and B.O.B. Motion stroller review.

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