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Baby on Board: Jogging Strollers
What to Look For
- Look for a five-point safety harness. Usually made of cordura nylon or canvas straps with plastic buckles, the harness secures your child around the shoulders and waist and between the legs.
- Ask about extras. Sun canopies and carrying baskets, for example, aren't always included. Think about your climate, as well. A rain canopy offers wind and sun protection, too, and it may be worth the extra money to be able to go out in all kinds of weather.
- Check the brakes. A handbrake that works like those on a bicycle is generally standard. You squeeze the handle, and rubber grippers put pressure on the wheels to slow or stop. Because handbrakes are not always effective on inclines, an extra parking brake that stops the front wheel by engaging a sprocket can be nice, especially if you will be stopping along the way. Also, look for a stroller that comes with a run-away leash.
- Test the handlebar height. Look for a bar that meets at or just below your waist, and walk and run with it to make sure the height is comfortable. Consider a stroller with an adjustable handlebar, especially if you will be sharing the stroller with a partner who is taller or shorter.
- Determine wheel size. Most companies give you a choice of wheel sizes: 12, 16, and 20 inches. The bigger the wheel, the smoother baby's ride and the easier the stroller will be to push. If you'll be sticking to smooth pavement, 16-inch wheels are a good choice. Serious runners and trail walkers should opt for the big ones. They soak up bumps and travel well over all kinds of surfaces grass, gravel, sand, bark mulch, even snow. Just remember that bigger wheels add bulk and cost, too.
- Alloy or steel? You can often choose rim material. Alloy is lighter, but also more costly, and probably not necessary unless you are training seriously and going long distances where every ounce counts.
- Put it together. Assembly tools should raise your eyebrows as a sure sign that too much work is involved. The front wheel should have a quick-release mechanism so you don't have to unbolt it, and the back wheels should also come on and off with ease. Before you buy, ask the salesperson to take it apart and put it together for you. Then try it yourself, and remember you'll get quicker with practice.
- Look for added value. If you're into cycling, too, you might want to consider a convertible jogging stroller/bike trailer. Models with three large-size wheels work better for jogging than those that convert with a smaller front wheel.
American College of Sports Medicine http://acsm.org
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org
Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine http://www.casm-acms.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Anders M. Wellness on: new ACE research reveals calorie burn and body benefits of walking with a baby stroller. American Council on Exercise website. Available at: http://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/WellnessOnWheels.pdf. Updated November 2007. Accessed October 17, 2013.
ASTM F833-13a standard consumer safety performance specification for carriages and strollers. ASTM International website. Available at: http://www.astm.org/search/fullsite-search.html?query=jogging+stroller&toplevel=products-and-services&sublevel=sedl-digital-library. Accessed October 17, 2013.
Impact of physical activity during pregnancy and postpartum on chronic disease risk. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/publications/Impact%20of%20Physical%20Activity%20during%20Pregnancy%20and%20Postpartum%20on%20Chronic%20Disease%20Risk.pdf. Accessed October 17, 2013.
Jogging strollers. Pregnant Health website. Available at: http://www.pregnanthealth.com/jogging-strollers. Accessed October 17, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 10/2013
- Update Date: 10/17/2013