Putting your newborn in a stroller for the first time is an exciting milestone. However, it also raises common safety concerns for many parents. When is the right age to start using a stroller? What precautions should you take? This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about safely transporting your little one in a stroller.
- Most experts recommend waiting until 3 months when babies can hold their head up.
- Consider the stroller type and adjustability before purchasing for a newborn.
- Ensure proper head, neck and body support when placing a young infant in a stroller.
- Transition baby to the stroller seat around 3-6 months in a reclined position.
- Always follow age guidelines and recommendations for safe stroller use.
- Stroller naps are not recommended for babies under 4 months old.
- Convertible strollers allow use from newborn through toddler years.
- Outdoor time in a stroller provides fresh air and sunshine benefits.
Suitable Age for Stroller Use
Most baby experts advise parents to wait until around 3 months of age before placing a newborn in a stroller. By this age, infants have developed enough muscle strength and control to hold their head up while seated.
Premature babies and those with developmental delays may need to wait longer before they can safely ride in a stroller without proper head and neck support. Check with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Placing a young infant in a stroller too soon can be dangerous if their head flops forward or to the side, potentially restricting their airway. Always ensure your newborn has the necessary head, neck and body control before transferring them from a car seat or carrier to the stroller.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Stroller
With so many options on the market, selecting the right stroller for your newborn can be tricky. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Type of stroller – Many parents opt for a travel system that allows you to click a compatible infant car seat into a stroller frame. This allows for a seamless transition from car to stroller without waking your sleeping baby.
- Adjustability – Look for a stroller that reclines completely flat or has a bassinet option to accommodate a newborn. Some also have removable inserts that create a cozy, snug fit.
- Size and weight limits – Check the stroller’s recommended weight and height capacity. Make sure the model you choose accommodates babies from newborn through toddler years.
- Suspension and tires – Air filled rubber tires and suspension provide a smooth ride for little passengers.
- Safety features – Five point harnesses, wrist straps, reflective elements and brakes are must-have safety components.
Research different types of strollers and consider your needs and budget before choosing the perfect model for your newborn.
Stroller Types for Newborns
Travel systems are a top choice for many parents due to their versatility and convenience. These stroller and car seat combos allow you to transport baby from the car to the stroller and back again without disturbing them. Look for an infant car seat that locks securely into the stroller frame and can be removed with a click for car rides.
Bassinet strollers feature a cozy, flat bassinet on a frame so newborns can lie comfortably. Many are designed for babies up to 6 months old and allow them to lie flat, maintaining proper head and neck alignment. Some higher-end models even allow you to remove the bassinet for naps at home.
Reversible Handle Strollers
These innovative strollers have reversible handles so you can push your newborn while facing them for bonding moments. The seat also reclines completely flat so baby can ride safely and comfortably.
Many jogging strollers today have adjustable seats that recline fully for newborn use. However, experts recommend waiting until 6 months before going on actual runs with baby in tow. Look for a convertible jogger with an infant car seat adapter.
Safety Measures When Using a Stroller
When placing your newborn in a stroller, keep the seat fully reclined until they are able to sit up unassisted, around 4-6 months. Never leave babies under 6 months in an upright position.
Ensure their head and neck are properly supported and aligned at all times. You can place a small rolled up blanket or towel on both sides of baby’s head for a snug fit. Avoid using loose inserts or accessories that can slump forward and pose a suffocation risk.
Carefully transfer newborns in and out of the stroller while supporting their head and neck. Never pick up the stroller or hang a diaper bag on the handlebars with baby inside, as this can tip it over.
Always use the restraint system and buckle your child in snugly. Monitor them closely and don’t rely on the straps to prevent falls. Never leave your baby unattended in the stroller.
When to Transition to the Stroller Seat
Around 3-6 months of age, you can transition your baby to using the regular stroller seat. Look for models with an adjustable, reclining seat. Start by keeping it fully reclined and adjusting the incline gradually over time as they gain strength.
Many convertible strollers allow you to insert an infant head support or pad when using the toddler seat with a young baby. There are also stroller inserts available to help position newborns.
By 6-9 months old, most babies have good head and neck control and can sit upright safely in the stroller seat. Just remember to recline it for naps until your child is at least a year old.
Convertible Strollers for Newborn through Toddler
Purchasing a convertible stroller with a bassinet, infant car seat adapter, and toddler seat allows you to use the same stroller from birth through the toddler years. This is a budget-friendly option that prevents you from having to buy another stroller later.
Look for options with a seat that reclines fully flat for newborns and then adjusts upright for older babies. Some affordable convertible strollers include:
- Graco Modes Travel System Stroller
- Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System
- Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System
- Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Travel System
When shopping for a convertible stroller, test the recline options and ensure you can achieve the right positioning for your newborn’s safety and comfort.
Recommendations for Stroller Safety
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides these guidelines for safe stroller use:
- Always buckle your child into the restraint system. Do not rely solely on the straps.
- Only use the stroller basket for lightweight objects. Avoid hanging heavy bags from the handlebar.
- Never put an infant in a stroller on an elevated surface, even with the brakes on.
- Do not place car seats on top of a stroller. This can cause a hazardous tip-over risk.
- Avoid strings or straps that can become wrapped around your baby’s neck.
- Do not use a stroller on escalators.
Following these expert recommendations reduces injury risks and ensures proper stroller safety. Check your stroller’s manual for additional age guidelines and weight limits.
Stroller Naps for Newborns
You may be tempted to let your baby nap in their stroller, but use caution. The AAP recommends babies sleep on a firm, flat surface and advises against sleeping in sitting devices like car seats, strollers, and bouncers.
Stroller naps could be dangerous for infants under 4 months old. Avoid lengthy stroller sleep sessions and monitor your newborn closely. When you reach your destination, move them to a safe sleep surface like a crib, bassinet or Pack ‘n Play.
As babies grow, short term stroller naps are typically fine. Just ensure you recline the seat fully flat and keep a close eye on your child. Never leave your baby alone sleeping in a stroller.
Outdoor Time Benefits for Babies
Getting some fresh air in the stroller is great for both baby and parents’ wellbeing. Contrary to outdated advice about keeping newborns indoors, the AAP now encourages outside time from birth. Studies show exposure to sunlight helps regulate circadian rhythms and vitamin D levels.
Just be mindful of temperature. Use stroller covers or layers to keep your newborn warm in chilly weather. In hot, sunny conditions, recline the canopy for shade and dress them in lightweight fabrics. Avoid direct sun exposure on delicate skin regardless of temperature.
With the pediatrician’s okay, stroller walks and rides give babies beneficial sensory stimulation and bonding time with parents. As always, follow safe sleep practices and avoid excessive sun when taking your little one out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to put a newborn in a stroller?
It can be safe if you follow important guidelines. Wait until about 3 months when baby has head and neck control. Use a fully reclined seat and proper head/body support. Never leave newborns unattended or improperly buckled in the stroller.
When can a newborn go in a stroller?
Around 3 months old is the minimum age recommended by most experts. Preemies and babies with special needs may need to wait longer before riding in a stroller safely.
What kind of stroller is suitable for a newborn?
Look for a stroller with a fully reclining seat or a bassinet/pram design. Travel systems allow you to use an infant car seat. Some convertible strollers work from newborn through toddler years.
Can you put a 3-month-old in a stroller?
Yes, most 3-month-olds can ride safely in a fully reclined stroller with adequate head and neck support. Ensure the seat lays nearly flat and use padding or inserts if needed. Never leave them unattended.
When is it safe to use a stroller without a car seat?
Once your baby is around 6 months old and can sit upright with good head and neck control, they can safely use the regular stroller seat. Still recline it partially and use head support as needed.
What are the recommendations for stroller safety?
The AAP recommends always buckling your child, avoiding dangling items, preventing tip-overs, and following age/weight limits. Don’t use on stairs or escalators. Ensure your baby is properly secured and supervised.
Can you use the same stroller for a newborn and a toddler?
Yes, many convertible strollers adjust from newborn to toddler use. Or a travel system with an infant car seat allows newborn use then converts to the stroller seat for older babies and toddlers.
When can a baby sit in a stroller without a car seat?
Around 6 months old when most babies can sit upright unsupported. Use the reclined stroller seat with a head support pillow. Wait until 9-12 months to use the upright seat. Always supervise your child.
Should you put a newborn to sleep in a stroller?
No, the AAP recommends against sleeping in sitting devices like strollers for infants under 4 months. Allow short naps only while closely supervising. Move newborns to a firm crib/bassinet as soon as you reach your destination.
Is fresh air beneficial for newborns in strollers?
Yes! Contrary to outdated advice, the AAP now encourages outside time for babies from birth. Fresh air and sunlight provide health benefits. Just protect them from getting too hot/cold and avoid direct sun exposure.
While most experts suggest waiting until 3 months when your baby has good head and neck control, you can safely use a stroller at any age with proper precautions. Select an adjustable reclining model that allows your newborn to lie completely flat. Always ensure adequate head, body and neck support. Follow safety guidelines and supervise your baby closely. With the pediatrician’s approval, stroller rides provide enriching sensory experiences and fresh air for you and your little one to enjoy.