I spent one whole Sunday afternoon Googling for tips on what to buy - a Pram or a stroller for LG, who was then six months old. Disappointed at not finding anything useful and with a headache 4 hours later I gave up; to try one last time that night, but the exercise was futile. This is when I turned to a friend for advice. But I wish there was some good information available on the net on - what purpose each of these serve, what one should consider while buying and what kinds suit the different lifestyles of the parents. Believe me, the market is inundated with zillions of options, mainly from eBay for India and use terms such as 6-position, two-way and what not that sent my head spinning. What makes it worse is these are used interchangeably, so I had no idea in the end what to look for and what price range would serve my purpose. This is the paradox of choice. Too many of them, no good for the customer. There were prams that I found for Rs. 29,000 too.

Phew..so here are some of the points that might help you if you ever find yourself in my situation. These are collated from my personal visits to shops and advice from friends..

The difference between a pram and a stroller

Simply put, a stroller is one in which the baby can just sit. So it is ideal of babies who are atleast 5 months old. Many babies start sitting after 5 months.

On the other hand, in a pram you can make the baby sit upright, in a relaxed position or make him/her lie down on her back. So you can ideally from birth onwards until later.

A pram is convenient if you are outing for a longer time such as visits to the malls where as a stroller is easy for your walks. Generally, these fold flat.

Buggies fold like an umbrella.

Some points to keep in mind while buying a pram:

  1. As always, comfort of the baby comes first. If possible, seat the baby in the pram or stroller before buying one. A lot of things you might have overlooked suddenly become apparent. It is quite natural for the baby not to feel comfortable the first time as it is a new thing but then it is upto you to judge if it is causing discomfort.

  2. A lot of strollers/prams in the market in the range of Rs.1100 look fine but they are not. Check for the seating area. If it is just a fabric, then sooner than later it will sag from the weight of the baby. There should be a hard base which is fitted with a cushion. This will not out any stress on the baby and he/she can sit comfortably.

  3. Hood - The hood offers a protection against the heat if it is summer and similarly from slight drizzle during the monsoon.

  4. Some prams can be used in reversible face to face direction with baby. I have one such pram and it is fun to walk face to face with the baby atleast when they are young. It comforts them that you are still visible while they enjoy the view outside. Double bonanza.

  5. A shopping basket was not very high on my list of priorities but usually prams that have the above features offer a small basket at the bottom that comes in handy to keep small essentials such as an umbrella.

  6. Weight of the pram - this is the most important one. You don't want to buy one that is heavy weight. If you live in an apartment that doesn't have a lift, then it can be painful to run downstairs to keep the pram once and then dart all the way upstairs to get the baby. So keep this in mind and do a trial if you can fold it in one hand and carry it while carrying the baby.

  7. Wheels - Check if there are wheel brakes (the wheels can be locked) and they are made of aluminium. Some come with moulded wheels that aren't very easy to use.
    If you live in a neighborhood that doesn't have good roads, then you might want a heavy pram that can to be used in the rough roads. In this case, you will have to trade off with point 6.

  8. Positions - number of positions is immaterial for an older child (above an year) as they prefer tos it. But for kids from birth until 7 months or so, 3 position is handy - they can either lie flat or relaxed position or sit upright.

  9. Check if there is footrest and if your baby is tall if he can fit in comfortably. It is generally said that a child should not be placed in a pram if he/she exceeds 96 cms.

  10. Lastly, depending upon your lifestyle as to if you party a lot or travel a lot, then you might want to consider an umbrella stroller that folds like an umbrella and is easy to carry.

If any of your friends's kids have outgrown them and you are comfortable using the same, then you could borrow it if you don't want to invest in a new one.