Your pram is up there as one of the most important things you will buy for your baby. It’s an expensive purchase, so how do you know you’re making the right choice? And believe me, there is a LOT of choice.
1. Do your research
I’m the kind of person who does their research before making a decision, so the first thing we did was hit up Which. Now you do need a subscription to see all the reviews, but it has been a really useful website for us and there are a lot of prams on there.
We soon realised that a pram is not just a pram. Oh no! There are prams, buggies, pushchairs, 3-in-1 travel systems and I think I even came across a 4-in-1 travel system. So it’s a good idea to do your homework on the lingo, but be warned, there are so many variables that it can be a little overwhelming.
You can buy a standalone pram or you can buy a travel system that comes with a car seat that can fix into your pram base as well. You can buy a pram that isn’t part of a travel system but that has adaptors to fit your car seat on. You can buy a pram suitable from birth or you can buy one with a separate bassinet that lasts for 6 months OR you can buy both. Do you see what I mean?
2. Make a list of priorities
We quickly decided what we were looking for. We wanted: a pram that you could attach the car seat to (whether that be with adaptors or as part of a travel system); a decent size basket underneath (I know I like to cart around a lot of crap); one that was easy to put up and take down (I think this is a given?!); one that would fit in the back of our car (don’t forget this one if you drive) and one that has good safety and durability ratings (that’s where Which came in handy). Budget was important too and we worked out the absolute maximum we could afford to spend.
Your priorities might be totally different, and you might not find a pram that meets them all! You might also find that these priorities change as you look around at your different options, but if a pram is going to be something you will use every day (like mine is), then it pays to think about what you really need.
For example, I knew I wouldn’t have access to a car during the weekdays whilst the husbear was at work, so I knew I would mostly be out and about on foot and/or public transport with the pram. Therefore it wasn’t too important to me that I could open and close the thing with one hand to put in the car because I knew I’d very rarely be alone when doing that.
3. Try before you buy
Ok so you’ve made the list, you’ve checked it twice, you’ve found who’s naughty and… oh wait, no that’s Santa.
If you don’t even do any research at all, that is totally cool, but I would definitely say DON’T MISS THIS STEP! There is no substitute for trying out what you’re buying beforehand and shops won’t mind you going in and having a look, even if you eventually decide to buy from somewhere else. We tried the pram that was top of our list from our research in store and it was so heavy and bulky I could barely lift it, so it was immediately written off as an option.
We booked a personal shopping thing at Mothercare and went along to see what was going on. Now, this isn’t a review of Mothercare, but the shopping service left a LOT to be desired… the woman who served us didn’t even work in the pram department (she kept telling us she didn’t know anything about prams but she knew a lot about furniture). She basically walked us around, read the tags out and got the prams out to show us. After about half an hour of this, we sacked her off and just looked ourselves. We spent ages putting prams up and down, picking them up to check for weight, bouncing the suspension, working out the prices and so on.
Top tip: take along a notebook and a tape measure and measure the size of your car boot before you go in. I made notes on all the prams I liked and didn’t like (and why) because I knew I’d forget it all when I got home.
4. Shop around for the best deals
There are lots of options available when it comes to actually buying your pram. Here are a few places it’s worth checking out.
There are the usual baby-specific shops like Mothercare and Mamas and Papas, who have a big range, the benefit of physical stores for that all important try before you buy and often run sales or offers.
There are the department stores like John Lewis and Fenwick, who also have the benefit of physical stores and tend to offer pretty good warranty schemes.
It’s also worth checking out selling sites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. Sometimes you can find a deal! That said, I wouldn’t buy a car seat second hand because you can’t guarantee its safety history.
If you’re looking at second hand, there are also lots of baby resale markets (turn up early for the best stock and bargains) and the occasional good quality preloved toy shop (try Joanna’s Toys in Monkseaton).
So there we have it, that’s how we chose our pram! I’ll be putting up a full review of the one we bought and whether I’d make the same choice if I had my time again.