There comes a time in the parenting journey that you will need to move your baby from a lie-flat pram to a forward-facing pushchair.
This is normally when your baby is around six months old and starts to sit upright a little more. Your baby may want to start looking around more, taking notice of the world around them.
Unlike car seats, there is no legal requirement as to which way your baby needs to face in a pushcair. You can look for a pushchair that still allows young babies to lay flat for some much-needed baby sleep, and also to sit up in their pushchair seat unit.
How do I know my baby is ready for a pushchair?
Your baby will be ready for a push chair roughly around the age of six months old. They will probably let you know by trying to sit up more when you are out on the go.
There are some key factors to help you decide.
When your baby girl/boy is able to control his/her head movements.
Once your baby has developed enough core strength to move from lying flat to sitting up.
They are tall enough to be strapped into the pushchairs harness safely and securely both when in the lie flat position and sitting up.
Tips for buying a pushchair
When you are looking to buy a pushchair, take into consideration your lifestyle and budget. You can ask friends and family for recommendations and also look at different options in a store.
You may need to check the pram folds down and fits into your car boot, or that you can store the pram somewhere at home.
Consider your lifestyle requirements, for example:
Do you need a double buggy or a pram specially designed for walking long distances?
Do you need a pushchair with fully reclining seats for your little baby? Will you use public transport or will you need a pram that is stored easily?
If you are buying secondhand to stretch your budget, make sure the pushchair is in good condition. In particular do check that there is at least a three-point harness in the seat unit, and ideally a five-part harness.
A five-point harness offers better protection to your baby by securing their shoulders, legs and hips. A three-point harness only secures the baby’s shoulders and legs. Also, check the pram seat and that it can move from fully reclining seats to forward facing sitting position.
Before buying a pushchair, do check that:
the brakes are in good working order.
the handles are at the right height for pushing.
the frame is strong enough and is not damaged.
Different types of pushchairs
There are so many different types of pushchairs on the market it can be confusing. From travel systems with car seats, to strollers, buggys and 3-in-1 travel systems. Some pushchairs have a little tray in the front to hold drinks (for you and your baby), a space for toys to be clipped and a basket underneath for shopping.
A pushchair is ideal for older babies at around 6 months. A good way to judge if a baby is ready for a pushchair is if your little one can sit up on their own.
Normally a pushchair offers the option for your baby to be forward-facing too and in this position. A good pushchair should offer a lie-flat seating option to allow your baby to sleep on the go.
Pushchair or buggy?
Sometimes a pushchair can also be referred to as a buggy. They are pretty much the same thing.
For added protection, your pushchair should have a five-point harness that prevents your babies from slipping out of their pram seat. This supports head control as well as supporting their hips and legs.
When your baby is sitting in a forward-facing pushchair they can discover this world more easily than when they are facing you.
If your baby is sitting in her buggy seat looking at the same things as you, it can help with developing language skills as you can name the things you are seeing.
If you are unsure whether your baby is ready for a pushchair it is always recommended to check the manufacturer’s recommendations on minimum age or weight requirement before moving her on to a seat unit.
What is a stroller?
A stroller is a lightweight version of a pushchair that is generally more compact and is designed for older babies or toddlers.
They are ideal for a short walk with your baby and the design is forward-facing allowing your little one to see what is around them.
Strollers are often referred to as ‘umbrella strollers’ due to their slimline fold, however, they still maintain their length when folded so double check it will fit in your car boot.
Strollers are a great option for holidays as they are lighter and more compact than most pushchairs.
What is a travel system?
A travel system consists of a pushchair frame, upon which other parts can easily be fitted.
Often referred to as a 3-in-1 system. These parts include carrycot, seat unit, and a rear-facing car seat and are purchased together as a package which often makes a travel system good value for money.
Travel systems don’t always have to be bought together as a package, alternatively, you can buy the elements separately.
Most travel systems offer a car seat system that allows you to easily transfer the seat unit to your car safely and easily.
Travel systems often offer durability for off-terrain use, with sturdy puncture-proof wheels so you can enjoy country walks with your baby.
When does my child stop using a pushchair?
There is no definite answer to this question – you need to do what is right for the child. Most children stop using a pushchair gradually, between the ages of two and four years old. It may be a gradual progression starting on short walks.
You may also want to consider the environment; if you are walking your child near busy roads and traffic. Some parents like to use reins offering their children independence and safety.
Ultimately it is your journey, so let you and your child decide, and do what is right for you and your lifestyle.