Pram Buying

Buying a Pram

We had our first child in November 2004. At that time we were strapped for cash, knew we were going to move overseas in a years time and quite frankly could not be bothered with the whole rigmarole of buying a pram! We took a look at some brand new ones before Isabella was born but my mother (and several others) recommended NOT buying one before she was born as we would not really know what we needed until then. I was quite surprised by this advice but it turned out to be spot on. After Isabella's birth the last thing on our mind was a pram! We ended up taking one secondhand from a friend of a friend and while this took away the pleasure and excitement of buying new it saved us heaps of money and was perfectly decent for our purposes. That said we did end up hugely frustrated with it and as soon as Isabella was old enough to sit up a bit more we got rid of the old one and bought another second hand pram. Having had a bit of experience with a number of different styles of pram I thought I'd just pass on my experience.

Buying the right pram for your needs.

There are so many trends and fashions that an old fogey like me can't keep up! (I'm 30 btw:) Forget about who's pushing a jogger, off-road, three-wheeler or whatever else - buy for your own need. Check how big the pram is both erected and folded - I know it sounds simple but you need to remember that this thing is going to have to fit through your door, through the checkout, into your car boot and probably into Grandma's boot too. This was one of the biggest irritants of our first pram - we couldn't fit any shopping in our boot if the pram was in there and as soon as you start buying those big packs of nappies your shopping gets a whole lot bigger! Also, thinking about the size of your pram, check where the handle sits compared to your body size - if the handle is not height adjustable you need to make sure you're not going to end up with a sore back from leaning over just to push the pram.

When it comes to handles on prams, the ones that spread right across you can push with one hand which is really, really useful. Think about the weight of the pram - is it easy to lift into your car? Bear in mind that you may end up going out somewhere that is not particularly pram friendly and you may end up carrying baby in one arm and the pram in the other (yet another back breaker!). If the pram fells heavy to lift empty it will wear you out pushing it around with baby in it. Check the mobility of the wheels - how easy are they to spin around? How easy is it to push straight? This applies to both 3 and 4 wheel prams, you will want to be able to push the thing in a straight line even with one hand and be able to spin the pram around on a sixpence in shops, pavements and dodging all the crazy people in the world who take absolutely no notice that you are trying to weave a path while pushing a pram containing your most precious thing in the world.

When thinking about buying a pram, try collapsing it then putting it back up - how easy is that? Then try doing it one handed. How easy is it to apply or release the brake? Can you apply the brake, take of the baby capsule and put that safely in your car then collapse the pram and put that in your car while still worrying about your handbag or keys or shopping trolley? Also think about protection from the weather - how easy is it to put on a rain or sun cover? Are they provided with the pram? All these things make a big difference.

If this is for your first baby personally I wouldn't worry too much about thinking about whether you're going to push the pram along country tracks or just in the city - your habits change so much with a first baby and you learn so quickly to either adapt whatever your pram or to make concessions for the sake of your baby. We lived in the countryside in Oxfordshire when Isabella was born and we had worried about pushing our old pram along the paths we used to walk along but we ended up changing our walking habits anyway and I think we would have even if we had had a big cross-country pram. Far more important are all the practical considerations above. You will also want to think about baby capsules for a newborn - you know the ones that fit both on your pram and in the car as a car seat. These are a great idea, very useful and nowadays if you are buying a new pram then you'll almost certainly get one. If you're not buying a new pram then don't worry too much - it is not the be all and end all and you can get by without. We had a second hand pram and a completely separate capsule. While this did have its inconveniences we coped fine. Actually a lot of the time we just carried the capsule by its handle and forgot about the pram altogether (though to be honest that was a real back breaker as well!!). If you have the money then buying a new pram can be very exciting but I will pass on my mothers advice - you will find your expectations before birth are not necessarily the same as your needs after so you may be wise holding off on spending a considerable sum of money on a new pram. There is nothing wrong with buying a second hand pram - most of them have only been used for a year or two and are easy to clean. Choosing the right pram for your needs will really help though!

By Matt Maclay-Ross

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"So called "capsules" are not actually good for young babies. Babies bones are very soft to start with and if you keep them in the small car seat for more than 2hrs at a time they could end up with a "c" shaped back (that's the shape of the car seat). Think if you really need it as there are available large car seats from 0 -4 yrs! "


"Great stuff. Thanks a million!"


"This is fantastic advice!! Thanks :0)"

R Banks