When you’re about to become a parent for the first time, it can be very intimidating thinking about buying all the necessary baby gear for your little one on the way. Looking at the list of recommended baby items, it may seem as though you are looking at a foreign language: layette, bassinet, boppy. Baby costs can add up very quickly.
You may question if some of them are actually baby items you don’t need or if there are any ways to save money on baby expenses. Then as you look down the list, you see something you recognize: strollers. Sounds simple enough, right? You need a carriage on wheels to transport your little one. But since there are so many different types of strollers, how do you know which one is the right one for you?
First, every new parent needs a regular stroller. But avid runners or workout fiends might also be interested in adding a running or jogging stroller to their arsenal. I did, and while I’m glad I made the purchase, there are things I wish I had known before I bought one.
Here are the pros and cons of running strollers and the must-have features to look for before you make a purchase.
Pros of Jogging Strollers
1. Lose the Baby Weight
The biggest benefit of a jogging stroller is simply that you can run with it. That is not to say that you can’t run with other types of strollers, but a running stroller is designed to make jogging safe for you and your baby. If running is a hobby of yours, this is a great way to be able to keep up with it since your new little one will now be taking up much of your time. A jogging stroller will help you get back in shape and stay healthy. It’s a great way to sneak a workout into your day.
2. Go Off-Road
If you enjoy going off-road or down bumpy paths, a jogging stroller will make the ride much more comfortable for you and your little one. One of my favorite features with my running stroller is that it is so smooth, even when I am using it on an unpaved surface. It practically feels like we are gliding!
3. They’re Stylish and Sporty
Do you want to take care of a baby, and still seem hip and fresh? If you’re trying to avoid that “mom” look, a running stroller will help you do just that. Running strollers have a “sporty” type of look that will go well with your active lifestyle.
4. You Can Mix It Up
If you want to walk, then walk. If you want to run, then run. Jogging strollers have the capability of providing variety to your outings. If you get bored, or tired, just mix up what you are doing. This may even make it more interesting for your baby or toddler as well. Tip: Not all running strollers are designed for walking so make sure to purchase one with that capability.
5. You Can Still Compete
I love to run in local 5ks. I love the excitement of race day even though it is usually early on Saturday mornings. If you have a baby, your baby is most likely up anyway, so why not bring him with you? I am so inspired when I see parents running with their children in their strollers. It’s fun for the parents, the baby, and the spectators.
Cons of Jogging Strollers
1. They’re Expensive
Cost can be a significant factor when considering a jogging stroller. I have seen them priced anywhere from $100 to $600+. The more features that you want, the more the stroller will cost. For all of the features I will recommend, you can get a brand new stroller for around $400. You could also choose to get a used stroller, but keep in mind that you run the risk that of unknown prior damage to the stroller that could possibly compromise the safety functions.
2. Your Child Might Not Like It
Let’s face it – kids have minds of their own. You cannot make them do what you want them to do all the time. And if your child does not like to be in a jogging stroller, you can’t force them to enjoy it. For example, I can’t take my 1-year old running in my running stroller very often because he does not like to be strapped in. There may be other reasons why a child would not like to go running as well, such as not liking the speed or experiencing motion sickness.
3. You Might Not Use It as Much as You Thought
I honestly thought I would use my jogging stroller more than I actually do. Prior to my son’s birth, I thought I would go running with him everyday. First off, I had to wait many months after his birth before I could use it. The instructions that came with my stroller said to wait until the child is 8 months old. Secondly, it is simply easier to run without a child (and sometimes a necessary break for any parent). Make sure the cost is worth however much you are going to use the stroller.
4. They’re Bulky
Like many different types of strollers, jogging strollers are bulky. It can be a challenge to take them to the mall and maneuver them around the crowds of people and displays. If you do get a running stroller, you may also want to get an umbrella stroller for other outings.
5. They’re an Added Challenge to Your Workout
If you are the average amateur runner, like me, you may find that using a running stroller is quite the challenge. It is unnatural to keep your arms in one position as your legs are moving as fast as they can. On the other hand, perhaps you are wanting a challenge with your running. If so, try pushing a stroller!
If you decide that a jogging stroller is right for you, here are the 5 features you should look for when shopping.
Since it’s a challenge to run with a stroller, and since jogging strollers tend to be bulky, I highly recommend getting one that is lightweight. Look for one that is made out of an aluminum frame instead of steel, such as the BOB Sport Utility stroller.
2. Folds Easily
If you have an SUV, truck, or van, this may not be much of an issue for you. If not however, how do you plan to get your stroller into your sedan? Getting a stroller that easily folds is a must-have feature. There is no point in having a running stroller if you can’t get it in your car to take it to the park for a run.
3. Walk and Run Capabilities
When you jog, it is important that the front wheel of your stroller is fixed so that you are not swerving while you are running which may cause an accident. However, it is really difficult to walk a stroller around a curve if you have a fixed wheel. I recommend getting a stroller that will allow you to change the front wheel between being fixed or being able to swivel. This will enable the stroller to have both walk and run capabilities.
4. Compatible with Extra Features
There may be some special features that you need, such as a drink console or an infant car seat adapter. If you live in a cold climate, you may want a weather shield as well. I really like having a tray for my son to have his snacks. Make sure you get a stroller that will allow you to have the special extra features that meet your lifestyle.
Get a running stroller that has many tested safety features. It can be very dangerous to run with an infant so make sure that your stroller not only has safety features but also that your child is properly strapped in and all the features are working. And ask your doctor before taking your child running – there is usually an age or weight requirement for safety reasons.
I really enjoy having a jogging stroller, but I do not think that I get as much use out of it as I originally thought I would. That being said, I am glad that I chose to get one, and I hope that I’ll be able to get more use out of it in the years to come with future children. A jogging stroller could be a lot of fun for some families, but I would caution anyone from making the investment until they understand the personality of their child.
Do you have a running stroller? If so, what do you like or dislike about it?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)