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Most parents find having a stroller helpful. Like many baby products, the range of features on strollers has expanded significantly in recent years. And you can spend anywhere from $25 for a basic umbrella stroller to over $1,000 for the poshest ride. There are strollers that let a toddler sit or stand, and a baby ride, and tandem strollers for twins or siblings close in age. Some allow you to attach a same-brand infant car seat as a "travel system."
Companies reported to Washington state the presence of solvents like ethylene glycol, ethylbenzene, nonylphenol, phenol, and toluene, formaldehyde, phthalates, and styrene in strollers and their accessories. Clear plastic windows on stroller shades can be made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
The American Academy of Pediatrics and Healthychildren.org recommend the following:
- If you use bumpers in your stroller, or if you string toys across it, fasten them securely so they can’t fall on top of the baby. Remove such toys as soon as the baby can sit or get on all fours.
- Strollers should have brakes that are easy to operate. Use the brake whenever you are stopped, and be sure your child can’t reach the release lever. A brake that locks two wheels provides an extra measure of safety.
- Select a stroller with a wide base, so it won’t tip over.
- Children’s fingers can become caught in the hinges that fold the stroller, so keep your child at a safe distance when you open and close it. Make sure the stroller is securely locked open before putting your child in it. Check that your baby’s fingers cannot reach the stroller wheels.
- Don’t hang bags or other items from the handles of your stroller—they can make it tip backward. If the stroller has a basket for carrying things, be sure it is placed low and near the rear wheels.
- The stroller should have a seat belt and harness, and it should be used whenever your child goes for a ride. For infants, use rolled-up baby blankets as bumpers on either side of the seat.
- Never leave your child unattended.
- If you purchase a side-by-side twin stroller, be sure the footrest extends all the way across both sitting areas. A child’s foot can become trapped between separate footrests.
- There are also strollers that allow an older child to sit or stand in the rear. Be mindful of weight guidelines and especially careful that the child in the back doesn’t become overly active and tip the stroller.
With the information available today, it is difficult to offer specific guidance for avoiding the hazards listed above. Avoid strollers that have a strong odor in the store. Second-hand strollers can help get a full-feature stroller for a lower price; make sure you check for Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls before you buy.
References & Resources
For more information about strollers that are safe from physical hazards, see this Healthy Children Project guide.
Find out if a stroller has a recall.