6 sanity-saving stroller features to look for

6 sanity-saving stroller features to look for

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Your stroller is basically a baby command center for several years of your parenting life, so picking out the right one matters.

You may already know that you want, say, a lightweight model you can take on a bus, or a rugged model that will stand up to trail runs. But the details are important too. Nothing can make you like a stroller that’s difficult to push or maneuver. But there are small features that can make greatly enhance your ease and comfort over the years. Here are 6 stroller features we love, and where to find them.

Available at Amazon

1. Ridiculously easy one-handed fold

Any stroller that requires two hands, several steps, or weird occult rituals to close will drive you bonkers. What you want is a stroller that folds securely when you only have one hand free (the other one is holding your baby). Even better if it stands by itself. There are a number of ways strollers can fold one-handed; our favorite is a strap or lever that hides in the crack of your baby's stroller seat - pull up once on it and the stroller collapses smartly.

Find it in: Chicco Bravo Primo

Chicco has been making high-quality strollers with the Bravo name for years, and they're parent-beloved because they're just all-around great: not too heavy, very comfy for kids, they take curbs and corners well, the canopy is huge. Folding them up is a breeze, and they stand easily on their own so they won't slide down and clip your calf if you stick it in a closet or garage.

Other options: Any Graco FastAction stroller like the Graco FastAction Fold Jogger, Britax strollers like the Britax B-Lively

Available at Amazon

2. Washable seat fabric

Babies make messes. You'll be happier with a stroller that doesn't insist you clean it with water and a soft cloth. Look for strollers with easy-off and –on fabric parts that can be thrown in the washing machine.

Find it in: The Safety 1st RIVA

This super-cool new stroller is making waves because it offers five-star features at an amazing price. It's made in the U.S.A. of 85 percent recycled material, the seat converts into a flat bassinet for easy-sleeping babies, it has a secure slot to hold your phone while you stroll, and it offers the same easy one-handed seat-strap fold as the Chicco Bravo Primo. Best of all: fabric parts simply zip on and off for machine washing. It's currently only available as a travel system with the onBoard 35 LX car seat, but what a travel system!

Other options: The fabric parts of Baby Jogger's strollers, like the City Mini GT, don't zip on and off but they're easier to get off than most, and they're machine-washable. Some UPPAbaby strollers like the G-Luxe and the G-Lite have machine-washable fabrics. And BOB strollers like the Revolution Flex are famously sturdy enough to withstand being hosed down in the yard.

Available at Amazon

3. Expandable basket

You have stuff. Your arms are full. Choose a stroller with a teeny tiny basket and you're doomed to painfully juggle grocery bags. A stroller with a big basket is terrific; what's even better is the new breed of expandable baskets. They're unobtrusive and out of the way when you don't need the space, open up when you do.

Find it in: OXO Tot Cubby Plus Stroller

OXO, known primarily for its cleverly designed kitchen gear, really nailed their entrance into the baby gear world. This stroller is lightweight and yet feels sturdier than the price would suggest, has clever little nooks and crannies to squirrel away your wallet, keys, and phone, reclines to any position, and has a basket that will hold a whole picnic, blanket included.

Other options: Try the Austlen Entourage for two-weeks-of-groceries hauling capability, Summer Infant 3dTote for a value price, the Britax B-Ready G3 for a stroller that will grow with your family – if you want it to.

Available at Amazon

4. Folds flat for storage

Some people have a garage, backyard, or lobby to keep an unfolded stroller in. Others rely on trunks, cupboards, and closets. A stroller that folds as close to flat as possible is a lot easier for parents who need to tuck it away.

Find it in:

The GB Pockit+ famously folds small enough to fit in a (big) diaper bag and has some advantages over its sister stroller, the slightly older Pockit model. The two strollers have the same tiny fold, but the Pockit+ has some extra features, like the ability to hold a car seat, a big sun canopy, and a reclining seat back if your traveling baby wants to take a nap.

Other options: The GB Pockit is a little less expensive than the Pockit+ with a miniscule footprint, and the Mountain Buggy Nano folds up small too, though not exactly flat.

Available at Amazon

5. Built-in bassinet for infants

Many strollers come with a separate bassinet for infants, but some parents don't want yet one more piece of gear. It can't be denied that stroller time often puts infants to sleep, though, so a stroller with a seat that easily converts to a bassinet is a fine, fine thing.

Find it in: Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Stroller

It looks like it costs more than it does, and it converts easily from a single to a double when and if you need it to – and it's not bulky or heavy! Its seat can rear- or forward-face, and when your infant gets drowsy, folds easily down into a comfy little sleepy spaceship.

Other options: The Safety 1st RIVA, the Graco Uno2Duo

Available at Amazon

6. Sippy cup holder

Kids get thirsty. And the vessels they like to drink from can leak. Save yourself the diaper-bag fumbling and get a stroller that has a handy place to stash a sippy.

Find it in: Summer Infant 3d Pac

For a bargain stroller (it usually goes for under $150), this stroller has a surprising number of features: a nice big canopy, a comfy, multi-position recline, pockets for your phone, wallet, and keys, and a pocket that keeps a sippy at the ready.

Other options: Bumbleride Speed, strollers with snack trays usually have a cup holder

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

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