Considerations when choosing a buggy

Considerations when choosing a buggy

When choosing a buggy, consider the following features:

  • Some have either a front or a rear facing seat; others are interchangeable. The one you choose may depend on whether you need or want to see your child (e.g. to monitor their condition more easily), or whether your child wants to see more of their surroundings

  • The height of the push handle is adjustable on some models to cater for different height parents. This may lessen back strain when pushing your child over long distances

  • Front wheels can be fixed or swivel - the choice is usually down to personal preference. Swivel wheels tend to be more manoeuvrable, eliminating the need to lift the front wheels off the ground to turn a corner. Fixed wheels make it easier to push the buggy in a straight line, especially outdoors

  • Large wheels with pneumatic tyres are easier to push over rough ground or grass, but they can be punctured

  • Three wheeled buggies may be more manoeuvrable than four wheeled buggies, but they can be less stable (Government of South Australia, 2013)

  • The method of folding the buggy and its size and weight when folded may be critical for transporting it in a car or on public transport. Supportive buggies can be difficult to fold up. Remember that you will have to hold or support your child whilst doing so, or sit or lay your child down somewhere

  • Think about how easy it is to transfer your child in and out of the buggy? Your child's therapist may be able to advise on manual handling techniques

  • Most models have supportive components which will provide additional support and positioning, e.g. headrests, trunk supports, pommels, harnesses and foot straps

  • Are additional accessories available, for example a rain cover or shopping basket.

  • Adjustment to the seat width and depth allows for growth and changes in your child's condition and posture, and ensure that the buggy will cater for your child as their weight increases

  • Some models have detachable seats which can be used as car seats or fitted onto a free standing base to use as a static seat

  • And remember - it is important that the occupational and physiotherapist working with your child are involved in the choice of buggy so that they can advise on positioning of your child to encourage the development of head control and sitting balance, and minimise the effects of an asymmetrical sitting posture on the hips and spine if your child has abnormal muscle tone

Further reading:

Disability SA (part of the Government of South Australia) have produced a comprehensive factsheet, Buggies - a buyers guide which contains some good and clear advice worth reading.

The charity Whizz-Kidz can provide children under 18 with mobility equipment that's not available from the NHS.

Advice last checked: 26 February 2018 Next check due: 26 February 2021

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
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