Newborns cannot sit up, so your baby needs a stroller that lets him lie on his back for the first few months.
- Buy a stroller that fully reclines, so your infant can lie flat. When you do have the stroller fully reclined, make sure the leg openings can be closed off. Otherwise, your baby may slip through.
- Look for a model with a five-point harness or a sturdy safety belt and a crotch strap.
- Check that the frame is sturdy. Look for stickers from ASTM International (American Society for
- Testing and Materials) and JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association). Strollers with these stickers meet voluntary safety standards.
- Make sure there is a canopy to protect your baby from sunlight, rain and wind.
- Test several models. How easily does the stroller move and turn? Does the parking brake hold? Can you easily lift and carry it? Open and close it? Adjust the backrest?
- Mail in the registration card. That way, you will be told if the stroller is recalled. You can also check recalls at recalls.gov.
- Follow the directions for setting up and using the stroller. Make sure the frame and the infant seat are locked into place. Listen for the click and then jiggle the frame.
- Always use the safety straps.
- Always use the parking brake when the stroller is stopped.
- Never leave your baby alone in the stroller.
- Keep your baby and any other children away from the stroller when you are folding or unfolding it. Little fingers could get pinched.
More safety tips
- Do not hang heavy bags on the handlebars. The stroller could tip over.
- Do not use pillows, thick or fluffy blankets, quilts, a mattress, or a cushion. Your baby could suffocate.
- Do not run with an infant less than 6 months old in a jogging stroller. Infants do not yet have good head and neck control, so this could be dangerous for them.
For more information, visit Babies & Kids on the Consumer Reports website.
Copyright 2008, Consumers Union of United States, Inc. All rights reserved. No redistribution allowed.
Most common questions
What is the safest crib for my baby?
A full-size crib is best for your baby. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reviewing safety standards on cribs and urging parents to avoid drop-side cribs (cribs with sides that move up and down). Many of these kinds of cribs have been recalled. It's best to have a crib with sides that don't move. Other things to keep in mind:
- Crib mattresses should be firm and tight-fitting. Otherwise, a baby may get trapped in the space between the mattress and the crib.
- You shouldn't be able to put more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib frame.
- Sheets should fit snugly.
- Don’t use bumper guards on cribs because they pose a suffocation risk. Newborns and small infants aren't able to pull themselves free if they become stuck between the bumper pad and the side of the crib.
- If you have a used crib, check the CPCS website to see if it's been recalled.
- Make sure corner posts are less than 1/16 inch. Otherwise, clothing could get caught and your baby might strangle.
- There shouldn't be more than 2 3/8 inches between crib slats so a baby's body cannot fit through.
What kind of car seat is safest for my baby?
If possible, buy a new car seat. That way, you're sure that it's never been in a car crash. If you're using a used car seat, be certain it is not more than 6 years old, has never been in a crash and hasn't been recalled (check the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls).
Look for a model with a five-point harness (two shoulder straps, two leg straps and one crotch strap). It's the safest for baby. You can choose an infant-only seat, which is always used rear-facing. You can also choose a convertible seat. These start out rear-facing but can change to a front-facing seat when your baby gets bigger. Other tips:
- Recline a rear-facing car safety seat at about 45 degrees or as directed by the instructions that came with the seat.
- Get a free inspection to make sure the seat is installed right.
- If you have a baby who is premature or has a low birthweight, look for a car safety seat with the shortest distance between the crotch strap and the seat back. Ideally, pick one with a crotch-to-seat back distance of 5 1/2 inches.
- Pay close attention to the lower weight limit of the car seat. The typical car seat is only suited for newborns that weigh more than 5 pounds. Look for infant seats that can accommodate a baby who weighs 4 pounds or less. Some manufactures sell inserts to attach to a regular infant car seat for preemies or low-birthweight babies.